I had a single level ACDF Feb 10th, 2012 (2 days ago). I'm a 47 year old male in pretty good health. They used a Stalif C implant with hip bone marrow. I went into surgery about 8am and by 11am I felt well enough to go home. I was required to stay overnight in case of complications, which was fine by me. I had a morphine pump available but never used it. Honestly, pulling the tape off my IV hurt worse than anything else.
I do have a hydrocodone prescription, which I am taking at night to make sure I get a good nights sleep. Im not required to wear a collar so I'm sleeping in a recliner to help me stay on my back. I typically flip from side to side in bed so I don't want to risk that!
My problems started 6 years ago. I woke up with a "crick" in my neck that got progressively worse through the day. It wound up feeling like someone was trying to saw my shoulder off with a piece of twine. Probably the worst pain I have ever felt! Then suddenly it stopped hurting completely and my arm went numb. I could hardly lift it at all. I went to the ER (worried about a heart attack!) and also made an appt to see an orthopedist, which was 3 weeks later. By then my arm was working fairly well but was still weak. He diagnosed it as a sprain and sent me on my way. Since it didn't hurt I just got used to it being weak. At the time I thought I had torn a muscle.
A few months ago I woke up in the middle of the night and had the same "sawing" pain in my shoulder. Not quite as bad as the first time, but still very bad. The shoulder pain went away but I had constant neck pain after that so I decided to get it checked out.
I got a shoulder and c-spine mri. My shoulder was perfect. My c-spine was not! I had a severe left side C5/C6 herniation. I had fusion surgery about 10 days later.
Surgery was a little over 48 hours ago. My neck pain is completely gone. I have slight pain swallowing at the incision area. It's too early to tell if I'll get my arm strength back but I feel really optomistic about it.