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Post ACDF 6 months

I'm a 40 yr old male who had ACDF at the levels of C5/6 and C6/7 in Jan 2013. I've gone thru 12 sessions of PT,weekly massages with a chiropractor and taking 10 mg of Flexeril as needed. I'm still dealing with chronic muscle spasms (or so I think) in the back of my head at the base of my skull (on the left side). I'm wondering if someone can tell me if the spasms eventually go away, or will it be something I have to deal with for the rest of my life. It gets pretty depressing as I thought the surgery would solve my chronic neck pain. I'm curious how other people's symptoms have been between the 6 month-1 year mark.



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 07/24/2013 - 12:14 AM

    First I would say that I have heard many people complaining of neck spasms after an ACDF surgery.
    I had an ACDF of C3/4/5 and beforehand my surgeon warned me that I would have a very stiff and sore neck and shoulders afterwards. He didn't say how long it would last, so I can't advise you there.

    I have weekly physio and my therapist works on trigger points that I have in my neck and mid back. Each week they are back again. He thinks it could be that my back has got into the habbit of tightening these muscles. My surgery was last November, so even longer ago than yours.

    Is your surgeon aware of these spasms you are still suffering with? If not, perhaps you should contact him and ask for his advice.
    I was also wondering if you have been prescribed muscle relaxers?
    I haven't, but on difficult days I find applying heat is helpful.

    I hope that you will find a way to relieve these spasms and they they will fade away before long.
    I think you will find the support from other spine pain sufferers here very helpful.
    I hope that you will get some more replies from others who have dealt with this problem that will encourage you.

    Stay hopeful, there is still time to continue recovery. My surgeon told me that at 12 months out, we would know how much help I had got from the surgery, but until then things could still improve. :-)

  • Thanks for the feedback. I haven't seen my neurosurgeon since 8 weeks past surgery. He seemed to check out once the incision healed. I last saw my ortho doctor at 4 months post surgery. The ortho doctor did prescribe 10mg of Flexeril to take as needed. I usually take them at night as it makes me drowsy for my desk job during the day. I will probably set up an appointment. I have found heat works better than ice post surgery. I also apply Bio-Freeze 3-4 x a day. I seem to get appropriate sleep, the spasms never keep me awake, so that is good. It's just troublesome that the spasms seem to last all day. They are especially occuring in the back left side of the neck on the base of the skull. It's like getting a charleyhorse in your calf that doesn't go away ever. I feel like it's groundhog day....get up and experience the same thing over and over. I also wonder if the fact that the discs above the levels fixed are causing the pain....I hope not.
  • I'm 15 month post op ACDF. I had just one level. I did have some mild spasms. They stopped around 9 months. Every now and then I will get a twitch, but honestly, I can't say that it's not something that is normal and wasn't there before and I'm just super aware of it now... hang in there.
    Candy in Austin, TX
    Single cervical fusion April 2012 through ER
    L4-L5-S1 lumbar fusion 7/31/2013
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 07/28/2013 - 12:12 PM
    I notice that you are a new member. Welcome to Spine Health! :-)
    I see that you are about to have a lumbar fusion.

    Do you have degenerative problems with your spine? Or were you in an accident?
    I had my lumbar fusion first and then two levels of my neck fused.

    Are you all set and prepared for your lumbar fusion?

    Do ask any questions that you have about it. :-)
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