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four months since 3 level acdf

Hello everyone, I have not been on the board for awhile since going back to work. I guess it is true that many of us only come here when things are bad. Well tomorrow will make four months since I had my surgery, acdf c4-c7 with hardware. I can only say that my experience has probably been as good as it could be. I was so nervous prior to surgery but when it was over I was really surprised at how little pain I was actually in. I did not have much pain prior to surgery. My cord was compressed in several places and I had a lot of tingling in the arms, hands and fingers which has all gone away since surgery. I was released the next morning. I took the pain pills for a few days but really didnt need them. I wore a hard brace for two weeks. That was the hardest thing to do. I tried sleeping in a recliner but after two nights vowed I was going to sleep in my bed. I did, it was not the best experience but I did it. After taking the brace off I really felt normal. I took it easy until my six week visit. The dr. said everything was going great and that I could return to my job as a law enforcement officer in two more weeks. I have been back at it for two months. I am a narcotics officer and SWAT team member. I have been able to do my job at 100% level. I have been in several physical altercations with no negative results. From reading some other posts I realize that I may be very fortunate in my recovery and I thank God for that. My ROM feels really good, I am sure I have lost some but I honestly dont notice it. I remarked to someone the other day that if I didnt know I had the surgery I wouldnt think it had been done. I know more things may arise down the road from it but right now I am very pleased with the results. I had a wonderfu doctor who spoke to me in plain terms and honestly seemed to care for my situation. My hospital stay was nothing short of pleasant also. I just wanted to to let some of you know that this surgery can be successful for you. I am going through a separation with my wife of 23 years and maybe God is having pity on me because I can assure you the pain I am enduring from that is so intense that nothing else can compare to it. So maybe he just didnt want me to have more that I could stand. I care for you all and I know it is a really stressful time in your lives but I wanted to post this for you so maybe it could provide you with some hope and a sense that things will be positive for you after surgery.


  • Wow, what a story. I am curious how old you are, and what caused your compressions. It is AMAZING to me that you are working a physical job and not just doing desk work at only 2 months post op.
    My desk job causes stiffness in my neck and upper back every day, I am 34, M, 6 months post op, c3-c5 ACDF. I have tried to be conservative, but I live alone, and I have to cook, clean, etc mostly on my own. My neuro said i had a bulge, but no compression at c5-c6, but choose not to fuse a third vertibrae, as a triple fuision is difficult to recover from/ have successful fusion. Lately, I have been in pain in my neck and back, and felt a bit of tingling in my hands, and I am afriad something happened to compress my c5-c6 disc. I will probably try to get a second opinion soon.

    It is great to hear a success story like yours! Congrats !
  • gmht1989ggmht1989 Posts: 13
    edited 11/05/2012 - 10:23 AM
    I am 44. I am fairly active. I dont know what really happened. I got dizzy at work about a week after my seperation, i though I was having a stroke. I went to the er and after ct and mri the doctor said I may have had a mini stroke but he was very concerned about my spine. This was a real shock to me. I had not had any pain. I went to the NS and he came in and said I would be able to last awhile as long as I didnt get into a car accident or a fight. When I told him what I did he said I needed to have the surgery and that one punch could possibly paralyze me. So it wasnt a hard decision. My disks were ruptured and/or bulging on all three levels. He told me after surgery that the one he was least concerned about was actually really bad and that it was almost bone on bone. I dont know why I didnt hurt but I am thankful I didnt. When he let me go back to work he told me that the area was strong. It was held tight with the hardware and that I couldnt really hurt it. It hasnt given me any problems. Of course, some nights I will feel some stiffness. I find that as I push myself more and more things seem to losen up. I had to run after someone a few weeks ago and after it I felt like my neck had actually loosened up more from the activity. I am not stupied or careless, if I dont need to do something I wont, I am just not afraid of things and I know if I have to I can do it. Luckily I am the supervisor so I can pretty much decide how much I do or dont do physically which helps alot.
  • This is a very informative post, I am sorry about your seperation. I also had a 3 level c4-c7 I had Horrible nerve pain in my left arm, and very bad pain in my neck prior to surgery. I leterally had to lay down from the exhaustion of the pain. At the time of my surgery I was also going thru some very stressful situations. I have a different type of pain post surgery. I wake up in sever pain Every morning, never felt this much pain my whole life.

    I do try stretching as to loosen up my neck. I am in very good shape ( good jeans ) but I have DDD in my neck and my lower back. I have just been put on Opana ER 10mg every 12 hrs it has helped me so much, have been on this med
    since 10/1/2012.

    I am glad you r a supervisor so you can have some control of your physical activity. I believe staying active is very important.

    Keep us updated.

    ACDF C4-C7 5/13/2010. Synthetic Bone Graft Failed Fusion.
    PCF C4-C7 8/13/13. Rods and Screws Fused in 3 Months with Autograft.
    C6-C7 Spineous process Surgically Shaved Off 3/11/14.
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