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Migraines after ACDF surgery

siltyssilty Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Just wondering if anyone else has experienced this. I had ACDF surgery in October 2010. So I am almost 7 mths post op. In November, December I had terrible migraines. Then again in mid April and another May 2nd. They start with Auro's and end with a crippling headache that last for hours. I have never had them before.
I have been under a great deal of stress lately. Also along with the migraine's since having one mid april then again in May I have noticed not during the migraine but just since having 2 close together I have been reversing my words when speaking...i.e. Instead of saying "Its time for supper" I will say supper its time for...just an example. Maybe only 5 x a week, not all day long just once in awhile out of the blue. My husband says its just because my mind is always going, under a lot of stress, thinking to fast before speaking. I have 5 children under 12 one with autism/adhd which does take alot out of me.

Wondering if migraine's are common after ACDF surgery or could it just be stress? I have an appt to see my nerologist June 13th. But a little worried about what has been going on.

I would be thankful for anyones thoughts !!!


  • I don't know how common it is...but I've noticed migrains that have increased since my C4-C6 fusion.
  • I had to have ACDF C5/C6 5 weeks ago & like yourself I've noticed that I've had more headaches more often than before the surgery , Haven't said anything to the NS yet though.
  • I've had two cervical fusions so far - a big one (revision included) coming. For my first one, only a few migraines - I feel those where due to my spine and body adjusting to the new permanent change in the loading and dynamics of my spine.

    On my second one, same thing. Too, you will get spasms that will cause tension sometimes in your muscles inducing really, really bad head aches.

    I am almost 2 years post op on my last fusion, and yet again, getting them. But for me this time, it is due to issues at my C2/3 getting worse. I've had issues there since at least 2002, but in the last 2 years, more concerning as my surgeon puts it. I would get with your surgeon and let him know about this.

    I was given Imitrex for mine - 50/50 crap shoot as to whether it works since my headaches where/are not "true" migraines, but nerve/stress induced. Give your surgeon a call - headaches can be big time debilitating - stress so young in your recovery, you don't need.

    Please let us know how it goes.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi,

    Thank you both for your replys. I did see my surgeon last month. My local nero ordered a follow up MRI and found I have an issue at c3/c4 now. One level up from where my acdf was done. He said it happens alot that another level gets effected from surgery. It is protusion now not herniated. He said it can stay like that forever or become herniated at anytime.

    I asked what can I do to prevent it from becoming herniated he said nothing :( I do not want another surgery. I was told have trauma by the surgery Migraines where common. Luckily I have not had one since April.

    I am hoping and praying this disk doesn't become herniated, I feel like I am a walking time bomb. I asked what I should look for he said the numbess and all the other symptoms I had before like being unable to walk.....I pray everyday this will not be another surgery in my future !!!

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply...:)
  • I also have had migraines and I am not a headache person after the acdf in March. I've had two really bad ones. The second one has lasted me about 5 days now. I am still going through it now. I rather have the burning shoulders than these headaches any day.
  • Jewel2005, I had the same surgery in February and migraines are the worst. Are you on any muscle relaxants? I take one at night so I can sleep.

    For me, I know that it's from muscle spasms still in my upper back and neck. Have you tried stretching throughout the day? If you don't try to stretch the muscles, the muscles will develop a memory to stay tight. I have read posts from other members about needing to do stretches and exercises in the morning when they first wake up, so to avoid any pain or discomfort.

    The recovery has not been easy for both of us, but stay positive! You have to believe the surgery is going to help you in the long run. Staying positive will reduce stress and in return reduce pain. ;)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
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