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Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion Recovery

txgirlttxgirl Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I had ACDF surgery 3 months ago on my C5/C6. I was orginally in a bad car accident 12 years ago, and my disc finally ruptured and was sitting on my nerve and spinal cord. I had a very active lifestyle prior to surgery. After surgery, my neurosurgeon did NOT put me in a neck brace. He had only given me enough pain killers for 2 weeks post-op, and no muscle relaxers at all. He had also refused to give me any physical therapy. I have been coping with the pain myself. My surgery went very well and seemed to be healing fairly well until the past few weeks. I am finally able to do a few normal things such as take a shower, do dishes, a load of laundry, and drive just a few miles from the house. I have had to quit my job, due to not being able to ride in the car without substantial pain, even wearing a soft collar. It seems as though the pain is getting worse the more I try to do...my muscles in the front and back of my neck, upper and lower back tense up, my throat swells making it harder to swallow and my hands start going numb again. My doctor says this is all normal. I having a really hard time coping with all this pain, sleepless nights even with taking Ambien, and the overall depression of losing my active lifestyle, not being able to drive and lift much, not working, and frankly being bored to tears. It's been a total of 5 months now...2 months of being bedriden prior to surgery.

Is anyone this far along post-op that is experiencing some same syptoms? I feel so helpless, none of my family nor friends can comprehend the mental and physical strain this is having on me even though they have tried so very hard.


  • I had the C6-C7 done on the 11th and am still experiencing pain, especially at night. I think what you're experiencing is NOT normal based on my recovery and what my doctor has indicated. For myself, I am doing chores around the house, some computer work and cooking dinners for my family. I am still not driving, as I'm just not comfortable with the thought of opertaing a vehicle without full mobility. My most painful time is at night, while trying to sleep. I find that I can go all day without pain pills but take two at night. Sometimes it feels as though I just had the surgery all over again! I actually have difficulty lifting my head after a couple hours of sleep. My doctor did give me a hard brace, which has helped. He told me to use it when I feel the need to rest my neck and head. He also gave me muscle relaxers to help with the soreness from using my neck muscles again. I found it strange that your doctor did not put you in a brace, especially since it was printed in the brochure I was given prior to surgery.
    As far as my throat, I completely understand what you mean - I can't eat the way I used to. I literally have to puree my food in my mouth before swallowing (sorry if that sounds gross to some). I would imagine that will go away over time, though.
    I would recommend getting a second opinion if your symptoms continue. I just wanted to share my experience so that you could compare to what you're experiencing. I hope you feel better soon!
  • I am about 12 weeks out from surgery. I did have a hard brace but my Dr only wanted me to wear it in the car, up and down stairs and out in public. After the first few days being at home, I felt great! I was back to cooking, doing laundry, shopping..etc. I didnt have much pain. I didnt drive long distances for about 6 weeks. After 3 weeks, I did drive a couple times a week to the local corner store, which is only about 6 blocks from my house.
    I have actually starting feeling worse the last month or so. More pain and stiffness in my neck, especially in the mornings when I wake up. (I think that started when I stopped sleeping in the recliner and went back to the bed) numbness in my legs and feet off and on, my hands are numb sometimes when wake up in the morning..and just a general feeling of not being well. I have tried going back to the recliner, but it is uncomfortable now. I have started getting headaches again, they were gone for the first month. I really had a lot of hope for that first month after surgery, I was feeling so well! Now thats mostly gone..lol! I am hoping its just part of recovery as things heal and "wake up" but I dont know. It seems like by now I should be doing better than I am. Both xrays (4 weeks and 8 weeks) were fine and I do not have to go back to the surgeon again until July. Although if I dont start feeling a little better soon, I might make an appointment before then.
    Good luck on your recovery and if you feel like something isnt right, keep searching until you get an answer.
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