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ACDF Recovery

Froggy GirlFFroggy Girl Posts: 7
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone,
I'm new on here but have been reading a lot of posts & was just looking for some advice. I had a 1 level ACDF done 9 days ago @ c3/c4 and when the doctor got in there it was much worse than originally thought. I stayed pretty drugged up the first few days after the surgery & by day 5 & 6 I started to feel pretty good. Thought I still took it easy but started doing more around the house. By day 7 I was back in tremendous amount of pain in my shoulders, neck & suffering from a headache. I had obviously overdone it by doing simple little things with my 4yr old or doing the dishes, etc.. I am happy to report the pain, tingling & numbness in my arms has completely gone away since the surgery. However, I'm 30 years old, a single mother & a full-time manager for a loan company that expects me back to work in 2-3 weeks. Any advice to help me relieve the pain, and I am aware that everyone heals differently, but does anyone think I have a chance of somewhat recovering in that short amount of time?
Any advice or personal experience would be much appreciated!
Thanks! :-)


  • One thing that surgeons fail to tell you is that recovery takes a while. 2-3 weeks is way too short. Can't you take your family medical leave? I went back to work at 9 weeks as a restaurant manager and it was horrible, I wish I would have waited the full 12 weeks but they really needed me back. I don't think it would have made much of a difference anyway.

    Everyone recovers different... I believe I am still recovering. It seems like every month I get a little better.
    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
  • Well my doctor told me I'd be recovered in 3 weeks, but as I'm feeling I'm getting the idea that's not right. I can't take off longer than that, the company I work for told me because there is not enough people within 75 miles we're not covered under FMLA, all they can offer me is temporary leave / disability which is only $200/week. I support a family along with me & my daughter so there's 4 people depending on my income. I have no choice but to return to work. I'm surprised to hear it took 9 weeks before you returned to work. Wish you luck & thanks for your input!
  • Hi Froggy. I had a one level ACDF (C4/C5) in mid January and went back to work 2 weeks postop. I also felt I had no choice due to responsibilities. It was definitely too soon, but I limited my hours (slightly) and did what I could to take it a bit easier on myself. I was still on pain meds the first week I went back. Then a big improvement in neck/shoulder pain after week 3. I took lots of Tylenol for a while (still take some every now and then) and PT was the game changer.

    You are fortunate your symptoms improved with the surgery. The rest just takes time. I found patience was my biggest challenge. I too am still recovering and each month makes a difference. But now I can say I feel good.

    Take it slow and easy, and patience!

  • Thanks so much for the encouragement, and for sharing your success in returning to work against the challenges. makes me feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel you know. :)
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