I had my ACDF 17 weeks ago, spent the first 10 weeks in a hard neck brace, Had very little pain after the surgery and everything seemed to go well. At 10 weeks, X-Ray showed very good fusion and the brace came off. I was give no instructions other than not to lift anything more than 30 lbs and no overhead work.
Since the brace came off I have developed more and more neck/shoulder pain each week. There is alot of grinding and popping going on and very difficult to look up without alot of pain. The pain down my arm is better, not gone, and I have alot more strength in my left arm so I feel the nerve is decompressed.
Last week at 16 weeks, X-Ray showed 100% fusion, I was released with no restrictions at all, when I asked about the pain he said some may resolve with time but some may be permanent.
I feel like I am going down the wrong road getting worse each week instead of better, I know 10 weeks in a hard neck brace did alot to the strength of my neck muscles, could all of these just be due to weak neck muscles? If so, when would you expect them to be back to pre-surgery strength.