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Pain and weakness after ACDF

First, I want to say, I happy there are forums like these out there, although I have to be honest it did frighten me prior to surgery. :0)
I recently had ACDF Level 2 surgery with a titanium plate installed in mid-December 2013. I was diagnosed Cervical Stenosis with Myelopathy, with severe spinal compression to C5 - C7 and I am in my mid-40s.
My surgery results, the prior pain I experienced, the numbness and tingling in my arms and hands have disappeared, my severe shoulder and neck pain are not as severe (really mostly pain from recovery), and so far I have not had any migraines (crossing my fingers - suffered with them three times a month).
I am still recovering, there are some days I am okay. I have some ROM, less on the right and definitely tilting my head back. I find I tire very easily even doing the most minuscule tasks, (such as laundry, washing dishes, small walks, or going to the store with my spouse, to just get out of the house} and then requiring naps to go about the rest of the day. I do not sleep very well at night, but if on a rare occasion I do, I wake in the morning with my upper arms feeling as someone has been sitting on them. My legs, from the knees down feel heavy at times and I walk as if I am shuffling when they feel this way. Is this uncommon or normal to feel this way? At this time, I have not been offered any PT and I already did inquire at first the follow-up appointment and was advised it was to soon.
I am due to go back to my Neurosurgeon and PA for a second follow up in a couple days to discuss my progress and potentially returning to work. I am uncertain and not comfortable about returning back the way I feel (exhausted, stressed, and problems described above) and do not know how to approach this without sounding as if I am trying to avoid working, which is not my intentions. I work at a desk on a computer all day and do have opportunities to work from home. But I do not feel I can perform my duties 100% at this time. I really feel I would benefit if I had a couple more weeks to recuperate and then have work restrictions to slowly bring myself back to my prior schedule. I am offered a total of 12-weeks of leave a year, but at my last follow up the doctor mentioned he can only offer 6 weeks. Is this accurate/true? Does anyone have suggestions if a patient can request additional time from the Dr and how to address this issue?


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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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
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