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Pain 6 weeks after Cervical fusion - normal?

Needhelp123NNeedhelp123 Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am a 63 yr. old femaile with DDD. 4th surgery was a cervical fusion (C3-C7) just 6 weeks ago. In Aspen collar, soft collar at night and bone growth stimulator for 4 months. I really did not have any neck pain after surgery, just LOTS of problems swallowing. Swallowing is slowly improving. Front of neck is still numb.

My concern is that now I am having neck pain after NOT having any pain for about a month. Why now??? I wondered if it was because the nerves were healing. Just seems odd to have pain at this time after being so lucky to be pain free for weeks. Anyone else have this? Do you know why?


  • It could be that the nerves are healing, but I recommend that you call your surgeon if you're concerned. I've been told that nerves become "angry" from the surgery and they can let you know as you recover. I had various pains during the recovery and only time will tell what progress I will make (I'm 52). I had the Aspen collar for 6 weeks (24-7), and my neck is still numb.

    I had a lot of trouble swallowing as you have. It continued to get better. I had some partial paralysis of one of my vocal chords which has mostly improved. With the swallowing, as I'm sure you've already discovered, means trying things, small bites.

    PM me if you want.

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Karen, thanks for your response. I'm think that I was just doing too much too soon during the holidays. I also wonder if the weight and awkwardness of the bone stimulator (4 hrs. day) could have added to the stress on my neck. I called the dr. office and asked for pain meds since I was having trouble sleeping. I am some better, taking pain meds only at bedtime. Just glad the holidays are over and I can take better care of myself.

    Thanks again.
  • I agree with Karen on these pains, my 4 level acdf was Dec 1, I still have them, a neck is still swollen and numb. Thank goodness my doc said I can wear my soft coller as long as I am either in the bed or just sitting around the house. Wearing that thing 24/7 would drive me crazy. I wear it when we go out, or have to much company, or my grandson is over :) Good luck and hang in there.
  • Hi...
    I had a 2 level ACDF on December 14 and was feeling pretty good until I started wearing the bone growth stimulator. I felt like it put so much pressure/weight on my shoulders, where all my tenderness was. And the area near my incision/fusion didn't hurt at all until I started wearing the BGS. According to some, that is normal.

    I have been successfully wearing the BGS (without crying!) by using a neck travel pillow backward - so the electronics and straps are actually on the pillow and not sitting on my shoulders and chest. This has helped a lot. I also have to wear it 4 hours a day for 6 months...and am not very happy about it! But, supposedly it makes a big difference with making the fusion successful.

    Take care and best wishes for a full recovery.
  • Hey Jan

    I mentioned that when I was at my NS yesterday - asking him would I be requiring one. He basically said he didn't normally recommend BGS - especially for the cervical area.

    Which I found interesting.

    Just wanted to share that tidbit of info. I'm sure I will discover more as I go along, both pre-op and post op :-)

  • It's so crazy...how many differences there are, even for the same procedure! I am 49 years old, in pretty good health (not overweight, don't smoke, exercise regularly - before this started). I had a bone density scan done 5 years ago, and it was 'good'. I'm not sure why my NS recommends this...but my friend just met another of his patient's and she was wearing it too (and not happy about it!). It is so strange.

    I was thinking about a couple of more things I wanted to share with you...
    Gatorade (which would possibly have helped me avoid the dehyrdration/fainting episode)
    and stool softeners! I have had a real issue with constipation. :)

    Have a happy day!

  • Hi,
    Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is performed for patients with a symptomatic, painful herniated disc in the neck. Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is the most common neck surgery performed by spine surgeons. It is performed to remove a portion of the intervertebral disc, the herniated or protruding portion that is compressing the spinal cord and nerve root. However, in order to do so generally involves removing nearly the entire disc, which must be replaced with a piece of bone graft and mended (fused) together to maintain stability.

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