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Returning to an active lifestyle after ACDF surgery

ShadowsurfsSShadowsurfs Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in New Member Introductions

I can't tell you how glad I was to find this forum. I am now 2 weeks post-op for a C5-C6 ACDF. I realize that there are many different methodologies and devices used for ACDF surgeries and I am thankful that the device used in mine was not the typical titanium plate that causes so much distress to the esophagus. Within two days after surgery I was eating pizza! :)

What I'm most interested in now is finding out the chances of returning to my active lifestyle. For me, this is the most depressing part of this. Most perturbing is that I can't seem to find anyone out there who is a surfer and also has gone through this surgery. Of course, surfing isn't the only activity that I'm passionate about; however, it is the one activity that I am MOST passionate about (LOL). Along with surfing (over 25 years) I also enjoy the following: Skateboarding (which I now realize will probably not be in my repertoire anymore), scuba diving, soccer, swimming (at least 4 times a week, long distance), cycling, rowing at the local club here in Tampa (I've also been rowing since I was 13) and, last but not least, martial arts (jiu-jitsu and Tai-kwon-do).

So, are there any other surfers out there that have successfully returned to the water following recovery after an ACDF? As well, can you please share some helpful PT tips that I can follow and timelines, too? Any advice and help is greatly appreciated. As of now, I feel very much alone in dealing with this and quite frankly am more than just a little scared.

John in Tampa -


  • Hi there John,I used to surf But let it go a few years ago,so cant help you too much.But just to say,that everyone is different & heals differently.All going well you will have 100 % success & will return to your lifestyle.Many do.
    But not all!Just give it time,don't rush back to it before your ready & have had time to heal completely.Some people make thier situation worse by doing too much too soon.
    Sometimes ,even when you do everything right,it can still go wrong,& take longer than we had hoped,or we need further work done.
    So,stay positive,but keep an open mind that these are major operations & sometimes adjustments to life styles do need to be made.
    I wish you all the best to a speedy complete return to the normal you know.Keep us all posted,we are here to help & encourage & support in any way we can.Often thats just to let you know there are people here that do know what you are going through.
    Again,best of luck.
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i am no surfer myself so i just want to say hello and good luck to you!! you are early in your recovery and you should have every hope of a complete recovery.. you could be pain free!!!! this may mean an adjustment in your active lifestyle but i am sure you will be doing many of the things you love to do.. swimming is one of the best things we can do for ourselves..soon, you will be in the pool!! and once you start walking, well, the sky can be your limit!!! all the best to you!! please be sure and follow the doctor's orders!! that means no lifting!! stop by the forum anytime! there is always a spiney around! Jenny :)
  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    You're so early in recovery, it's difficult to know how much you'll be able to do later, but keep in mind that those on this board that have had a successful surgery generally tend to move on with their life and no longer post because they don't need the support offered here any more.

    So there are many, many success stories and many who have moved back to their old lifestyle. You may need to adjust the way you do things in the future, but only time will tell.

    Take care and be patient - again, you're very early in recovery and need to take time. Oh, and by the way, even with my titanium plate with eight screws, I was eating a pork chop the night I came home from the hospital. :-)

  • I am 12 weeks post ACDF C6 C7 and like you I was very active prior to surgery. I have been cleared to swim so I went immediately and swam 50 lengths- but my surgeon was a bit horrified and told me wait till your 6 months post op for that. He said do a quarter of what I normally do. HAving said that I am having no pain issues with swimming... I am cycling- small lengths as I have a very upright Dutch bike. He said I could run at 6 months. Let pain be your guide. I did find a website for mountain bikers last night and they had a thread about acdf- and all the post acdf's are mountain biking again- some (CRAZILY I THOUGHT) 2 WEEKS AFTER SURGERY. Everyone is different but I take inspiration from my physio who has 4 rods in her back (for scoliosis) and now she runs half marathons. She says you will be absolutely fine but it will take a year. And also- concentrate on the things you can do- tick off all the things you find you can do again- draw strength from your small achievements. I think you have to have hope and think anything is possible. I used to swim long distances in the sea and so I understand its lure...I think you'll be back in the surf one day...
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