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Killer muscle cramps post ACDF

ktrombkktromb Posts: 18
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi again,

I'm now 10 days out from 2-level ACDF and haven't had the will to post until now. Most of my discomfort has been manageable with percocet. But the muscle cramps across my upper back are horrible. Anybody else have this? Has anyone found something that helps (other than 24/7 vicodin which keeps me zonked out)?

For the most part, I'm pleased with the results of the surgery. I'm beginning to have more mobility in my neck and more energy in general. I'm still glad I had the surgery but, geez, how long does this phase last?




  • Hi! My upper back cramps/spasms have significantly gone down, I am 7 weeks post op now (Time really goes by fast!). Aside from the percocet are you prescribed a muscle relaxer? I was prescribed valium but I am still debating if it actually helped or not. Maybe you could tell your doctor about the spasms and he/she will prescribe something.

    Aside from meds I also have a bean bag sack corn heat bag that I heat up in the microwave and drape that across my shoulders/neck and upper back. That seems to help a lot. Some people like ice but I always found that to make my muscle spasms worse.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • Yes, it's normal to have spasms so soon after an ACDF, as well as weeks down the road. Like Donna said, they will lessen with time, but until then try muscle relaxants as she recommended, as well as heat. Don't be surprised if you also develop pain at the base of the back of your neck. These are all common as you recover.

    If you had your ACDF at the C6/7 level, it may take longer as that area is the last to fuse, generally, due to the fact that it moves the most every time you move your head. It took mine one year to fuse, while the others fused quicker.

    Try to measure your recovery in weeks, not days, as it really does take time to recover from such an invasive and serious surgery.

    Hang in there and I hope you start feeling better soon.

  • Call the surgeon and tell them about the muscle spasms that is not uncommon with neck surgery. It has a lot to do with the position you are in, during surgery. They can call out a muscle relaxer and you will get some relief. It is important for you to keep the pain and spasms down so your body can rest and heal. The percocet won't help with those issues, so call today.
  • HI,
    I had a posterior and anterior cervical fusion, C5-C7 due to non fusion from the ACDF last spring, and am now 12 weeks post op. I didn't really have much discomfort from the ACDF, but the posterior is another matter!
    Muscle relaxers do help...call your dr and ask for some! You'll be feeling better soon..hang in there!
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