Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Recurring pain and symptoms at 8 weeks post-op

charlie6017charlie6017 Posts: 412
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hey Everyone,

I had an ACDF performed on July 25th to fuse C3-4 and 4-5. Four years previous, I had 5-6 and 6-7 done. I am not sure what is going on, but last week I noticed a lot of spasming of the muscles at my upper back/lower neck area and it's not easy to turn my neck from side to side. Also, more difficulty looking up and down as well. Also, I am noticing headaches above the eyes and at the top of my head as well as some arm pain at upper arms.

After surgery, everything felt pretty well. I did my walking, which is all my surgeon wants his patients to do, physically (no PT). I wore my collar and did not drive until told to do so. I had a decent range of motion, but made sure not to overdo "trying things."

My job is as a school bus driver, and school started for us here Wednesday of last week (Sept 7th). It really isn't physically demanding, so I am confused as to why this is happening and if any of you have experienced anything like I am going through now? This didn't happen last time I had an ACDF and I have had the same surgeon (NS) for all 5 surgeries (lumbar and cervical).

I just find this very upsetting because I certainly tried to do everything the right way. Any thoughts, experiences, whatever is welcome.




  • Hi Charlie,

    Even though driving bus is not "physical" I am sure it is more than you have been use to doing over the last 8 weeks. Does the pain stay for a while or go away soon? I still get some pre surgery symptoms but they go away quickly and sometimes they are on my right side! (All pre surgery symptoms were on left). I am sure you can call your surgeon and ask. Just be patient... You have 4 levels fused, it will take time to heal.
    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
  • Hi Donna!

    Thanks for your reply. Since the issues have came back, it doesn't go away--it's constant. True, it is still early at only eight weeks but after the previous 2 level fusion, this didn't happen.....everything went well. Something just doesn't feel right this time around.

  • Sorry to hear about your new constant pain. Although you said that driving a bus is not physically demanding, I am sure as with all driving, there is alot of turning of your neck for traffic checks etc even with a mirror.

    Do you take anything med wise to help with the spasms, even if only in the evening when you are not working? Maybe put a call in to your surgeon. Are you scheduled to see them anytime soon?

    Hope that it is just the change in activity level of going back to work and that it will soon settle down for you.

    Wishing you all the best.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Hi Karen,

    I do have flexeril, which I use in the evening after work when I get home in the afternoon. I do have an appointment next Friday for x-rays and then I see my surgeon's PA 30 minutes later to go over them.

    I also hope that it's something that will settle down in some time. It's four years after my last ACDF, and it's the next 2 levels up, it's just that this didn't happen after the last one, so that's why it's concerning me. At times, the pain even wakes me up in the night.

    Thanks all for listening.......I really appreciate the support!

  • Anyone else have anything? Experiences or thoughts?

  • Hi Charlie,

    You're more active now than before you returned to work. Although your work may not be that physically demanding, I would think there would be some stress involved. That tension can cause inflammation, which will decrease your flexibility. Use they flexeril and pain killers as able. Hang in there.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Charlie,

    What you're describing seems "normal" to me. Your nerves can take up to a year to fully recover, and too your spine has to once again adjust to another fusion. I had spasms for over 6 months on my last one.

    Working, sitting erect while driving, moving around etc....lots of changes going on there not that far out of surgery. Hopefully it will lesson as time goes on. Of course if it gets you concerned, please let your surgeon know what you're feeling and issues. Please let us know how it goes.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks Karen and Brenda,

    All of you are awesome, couldn't ask for better support!

    X-rays friday........then we'll talk! :-)

    Lotsa HUGZ!!

  • Good Evening All!

    Had x-rays, and follow-up afterward. You gals were right on the money! Fusion is healing well, and is beginning to grow. The PA said my nerves were really crushed and are now starting to respond, thus the pain.

    I guess I just must be patient. I just didn't remember it being like this after the first ACDF, but then again, that one wasn't as bad as this one.

    I also got my TENS/EMPI unit! I'm like a kid at Christmas with this......I will let you know how much it helps once I get it set-up.

    Thanks again for your support......you are really super people!


  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    That's great news Charlie! I'm glad you're healing well. Hopefully those nerves will settle down soon. Eight weeks really isn't that long and it can take a long time.

    I don't know how you can drive a bus that soon after a two level fusion. I only had one level and driving was tough for a long time especially since I don't use my mirrors--gotta turn my head lol.

    I'll tell you to be patient because that is good advice. I just don't follow that advice very well myself since I'm as impatient and stubborn as they come!

    I hope you're feeling much better soon. Take care and try to take it easy...those muscles get angry real easy you know.

  • I agree, have no idea how you can go back and drive a school bus! I'm just 4 weeks post op - ACDF 3 levels C4-C7. I still can barely turn my head in either direction. My husband got me the 17" rear view mirror on amazon - it is amazing, but I'm still scared to drive!

    At 4 weeks i'm having crazy muscle spasms and my arms take turns being numb or pins and needles. My neuro said my surgery was major and I can't expect everything to fall into place in just a month. So I'm back on the muscle spams meds that make me dizzy and sleepy and hoping to give it more time to heal. I don't know how back your nerves were compressed. I had completely compression on 3 levels with bone spurs on left side and right side very bad too. Have to have patience and let our bodies do what it can to get us back to normal. Just be careful driving!

  • Charlie I just wanted to add that you might want to try the Lidoderm patches on your neck while you are driving/working. I know you can't take meds during the day with your job. If you keep you neck shaved then these may be a good option for you. The main ingredient is lidocane and they work very well at numbing the area (they go pretty deep). My husband works a very physical job and has borrowed mine once or twice and couldn't believe how well they work.

    Hang in there :)

  • Just hang in there charlie, Hope everything will turn out ok, might just take longer, Good luck,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
Sign In or Register to comment.