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Post ACDF - pain returning

Vinda-louVVinda-lou Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:00 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Last Thursday, ten days ago, I had an ACDF (c5-c6) for consistently worsening arm pain and numbness increasing daily. Before surgery I had a cervical cortizone shot, steroids, meds and heat therapy - but my arm pain only got worse and came more often.

The Thursday evening after surgery my arm pain was gone - only occasional tingling. My only complaint was sleeping - I'm a mover and a flipper at night, but I couldn't fall asleep due to being uncomfortable.

So now, ten days later, my arm pain has been on the rise again over the last day or two, and my tingling-numbness is pretty often. I have pretty much followed the doctor's orders about taking it easy with lifting, twisting, etc - but I haven't been comatose. I am not lifting heavy things, but I am helping out around the house within reason.

Tomorrow is my follow up with the neurosurgeon. Before I go in, I want to know if my above explanation is typical. I know numbness stays a while after surgery, but my arm pain worries me.

Also, any questions I should ask or things I should be aware of for the visit, or recovery in general?




  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    When a nerve is compressed it takes awhile to heal. I can remember waking up from a surgery and had the worst pain going down my leg, I thought to myself "omg what have I done, I knew I shouldnt of had surgery". The nurse explained to me that it was the nerve waking up. she was right, the pain went away after a few weeks. Talk to your surgeon during your post-op visit and if he has concerns he will order test. I know myself I had alot of swelling which was also causing the symptoms. You are very early in the recovery process and your doctor will address your concerns during your visit. Keep us posted on your progress
  • It's now about two weeks after my post-op appointment. I had surgery back on Feb 16th.

    At the post op, he seemed a bit surprised at the pain and pins & needles, so he put me on steroids for a few days (the pack that starts with 6 pills and works down to 1 pill over the course of a few days.

    I also started PT - getting massage and easy exercises each time ( 3 sessions so far).

    Then to my surprise, I was told to start wearing a Bone Growth Stimulator - two electrodes on my neck 24 hours a day! This was never mentioned at all until the company, Biomet, called me.

    Anyway, my pain in my has not budged from the steroids or PT. I know these things take time, but the pain was gone after surgery and has gradually returned. The pins & needles is actually a bit painful and intense when it happens! The pain outside of pins & needles can be just as bad as it was before surgery, maybe not quite as often or ongoing as before surgery. Sometimes the pain is similar to a very bad muscle spasm - charley horse type feeling but stronger, and sometimes different but no less painful.

    I have not been on prescription painkillers since before surgery. I do take tylenol occasionally, but it does nothing.

    My PT will call the surgeon if there is no improvement in the next few sessions, but should I call sooner? Give this all more time?
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