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4 weeks post ACDF c6 c7 recovery

I was wondering if someone else has had this surgery in June and how they are progressing. I am concerned because I am still on pain meds and the pain in my left scapula area is not subsiding. Looking for some guidance!


  • Don't be concerned to be taking pain meds at 4 weeks. It was a major surgery. You might ask your surgeon what you could do about your scapula. I had an issue with inflammation in the nerves around the scapula, so I think I got a round of steroids for that. Your doctor could say apply heat or take muscle relaxants or go get a massage!

    Your doctors or their office staff should be able to provide advice.

    Take care and good luck.

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Thanks for the info Karen. I am very concerned because I am still in a lot of pain and don't feel that I have made very much progress after a month. Still have same pain down my left arm with scapula and shoulder pain. Getting very concerned and depressed.

  • Have you told your surgeon about this?
    You are still under his care and he should be made aware of it. Also tell him that you are getting concerned and depressed.

    I see that you are a fairlly new member here. (Welcome! :-) )
    I hope that you will find that coming and talking to others who have similar experiences will help you.

    There is a June surgery thread. Perhaps you could post there and get to know the rest of them.
    You may find some that have had the same surgery as you. It is a very common surgery.

    4 weeks after surgery is really very early on and there is plenty of time for healing and recovery. I found that after about a week from my C3/4/5 ACDF my left arm became very painful and I could hardly do anything with it. It only lasted a week or two and then improved again. I did tell my surgeon and he didn't seem surprised.
    Nerves are touchy things and don't like being messed around with.

    I really hope that you will get some reassurance from your surgeon and that things will improve for you very soon.
    Do make sure that you don't over do it because that can certainly flare up the nerves.

  • Thanks for your support. I did talk to my surgeon and he feels that I may have some permanent nerve damage. He has started me back on Lyrica to try and give me some relief. I really thought that the surgery would work. I don't seem to find where the tread for June surgery is. I must be doing something wrong.


  • Coll89CColl89 Posts: 15
    edited 07/16/2013 - 10:43 AM

    Should I view this as a failed surgery? Could you give me some advice on helping with pain management so that I can have some sort of a normal life?

  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 07/16/2013 - 11:39 AM
    I understand that you are concerned because you are still in so much pain, especially as you were hoping for the surgery to help you there.

    Please know that none of us here are medically trained and so are not qualified to give medical advice. We can only share our experiences and things we have learnt along our way.

    4 weeks out after spinal surgery is very early in your recovery and there is still plenty of time to get improvement. My surgeon told me that I could continue to improve until about 12 months after my surgery but that at that stage it was unlikely that I will get any further improvement.

    I do still have nerve pain and am now 8 months after surgery. I am back on nerve pain meds which is disappointing so I can understand how you may be feeling. I am glad that your surgeon is aware of the pain you are in. However, 4 weeks is far too early to even think that your surgery has failed. Any spinal surgery is very complex and nerves don't like to be messed around with and they can protest loudly for a while.

    No-one here can advise you on pain management. Either your surgeon or a pain management doctor needs to do this.
    Many people find that icing helps to calm down things and can reduce inflamation. Make sure that you cover the ice pack with a cloth and only ice for 10-15 minutes at a time. If your pain is due to tight and spasming muscles then heat may help.

    I will post a link to the June surgeries thread.


    Try to stay positive and take time to rest and get over this major surgery.

  • Thanks Jellyhall for your encouragement. Everyone keeps telling me to be more patient but it is hard when you are in still so much pain with no improvement. I also do not have my voice back either and this only adds to my frustration. My life has been turned upside down and I can't seem to cope.
  • I do understand how low you can feel after such a large surgery, particularly when you are still in pain.
    Do you have someone living with you? If you are alone a lot and overdoing it because you are trying to look after yourself, then things will be much more difficult.

    I hope that you are not trying to lift things that are too heavy, bending or reaching up with your arms. Are you in a collar? If you are doing too much then the chance of your nerves screaming at you will be much higher. Try to give your body more time to get over this massive assault on it. As for your voice, I am assuming that your surgeon does know about this. Again, 4 weeks out is early to worry about this yet. However do make sure that your surgeon knows about it.

    At your stage my voice was ok but I was still having problems with swallowing and would make strange noises when I did swallow. I have found out that I do actually have a problem with my vocal cord. It was at my 6 month check up that I asked my surgeon if there was anything I could do to help to get my singing voice back. He referred me to an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon who found that my right Superior Laryngeal Nerve had been paralysed and was atrophied and not working properly. I am starting voice therapy next week for this.

    Nerves are notoriously slow to heal. Have you got things that you can do at home to pass the time? Do you like reading? Watching DVDs? Listening to music? If you can find things that you enjoy doing to pass the time you may feel less down.

    Do keep talking here about how you are coping and ask any other questions that you have.
    Things will get better, but it may take a while.

  • Thanks Jellyhall for your encouragement. Everyone keeps telling me to be more patient but it is hard when you are in still so much pain with no improvement. I also do not have my voice back either and this only adds to my frustration. My life has been turned upside down and I can't seem to cope.

  • I just thought I would mention that it is not unusual for people to feel very down or depressed and even tearful (even men who never cry) after spinal surgery. It is a big surgery and will affect us emotionally as well as physically. At 4 weeks out, this would probably be normal. Do tell your doctor how you are feeling though.

    You are not alone. There are many others here who have gone, or are going through the same feelings and experiences. We understand and that makes this a great place to talk about how things are going.

    Take care,
  • Coll89CColl89 Posts: 15
    edited 07/16/2013 - 12:20 PM
    I was just wondering if you know of others who have gotten relief from this drug?

    I have never heard of that drug. What is it?

  • Yes!
    I have spoken to many who have found that this medication helps them with their nerve pain.

    I was taking Gabapentin which is a sister (older sister) drug and that helped me. It did make me put on weight though so I have now changed to Nortriptyline which is a similar drug to Amitriptyline and that is helping me too.

  • Coll89CColl89 Posts: 15
    edited 07/16/2013 - 12:30 PM
    I have never heard of that drug. What is it?

    The drug that you are taking
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 07/16/2013 - 12:25 PM

    Which drug haven't you heard of?

    Pregabalin is another name for Lyrica
  • Coll89CColl89 Posts: 15
    edited 07/16/2013 - 12:39 PM
    The drug that you are taking
  • Jellyhall,

    I was referring to the drug that you are taking. Did you have many side effects with Lyrica other than weight gain
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 07/17/2013 - 6:56 AM
    My pain consultant explained that it was an improved version of Amitriptyline with less side effects. He takes it himself. :-)

    Like Amitriptyline, it is an anti-depressent that they have found helps nerve pain too.

    I was taking Gabapentin which helped but it made me put on weight. Pregabalin/Lyrica is an improved version of Gabapentin I believe. That is an epilepsy drug that they found helped will nerve pain too.

    I wasn't taking Lyrica/Pregabalin. The Gabapentin did make me sleepy, especially when I had worked up to 2700mg a day.

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