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5 days post op c5/c6 ACDF

Hi-new to this and could use some advice. 5 days post op with a c5/6 ACDF and swear I can feel the hardware when I swallow. I'm terrified of sleeping because of neck positions, even though I am wearing a soft collar. Was completely blindsided by the pain and had to stay longer in the hospital because of it. Any help would be appreciated!


  • Hi Mick74,
    I can sympathise with your worries, although I only have a cage, not screws (If that's what you mean by hardware). I too have to wear a soft collar 24/7 for 6 weeks and find sleeping a real problem. However I seem to lie, it feels as though it's pulling on my neck! I'm worried that, as I don't have screws to hold the cage in place, then even the slightest wrong movement will destabilise it! I am still waking in the night needing pain relief, although have not really had problems swallowing or talking.
    Hope you get some advice soon - how soon before you see your doctor?
    Thinking of you, are you US or UK based? I'm in UK (Nottingham- hence the NOTTS Countyfan) :)
  • US based. See the dr again in a week. I feel
    like every time I wake up, the collar has shifted/become loose and my neck is doing exactly what he said not to let it do! Truth or paranoia, I'm not entirely sure. All I know is I am a wreck and am getting very little sleep even with medication. If the hardware moves-I don't think I can go thru another surgery, if that's what will need to happen, I don't even know. Thank you for your comment, so appreciated!
  • Mick74,
    As regards pain, straight after the op I was put on the HDU and had a self-activated morphine drip. I can honestly say, after giving birth to 3 kids and breaking my femur skiing, that this op was the worst pain I'd ever experienced. I still wake at least once a night and need to take tramadol to get back to sleep but obviously not as bad as at first.. I understand your reluctance to go through another op. I have problems with my lumbar spine too but will not be rushing into surgery for that any time soon.... :(
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