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srich1969ssrich1969 Posts: 3
edited 09/09/2014 - 5:01 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi everyone!

I am a new member, but have been watching posts and researching on this site since I found out I was going to have my surgery. It helped me understand a lot of what I was going to be going through before I had my surgery. Thanks for all the pre op info.

On 8/11/2014 I had my 4 level anterior cervical fusion ACDF with Instrumentation, C3 through C7.Rather than harvesting bone from my hip, the DR used a PEEK Cage. with plated to straighten and strengthen my posture because I had a large curvature in my spine.

I am four weeks post op today and am doing pretty good I think. I had a one night stay in the hospital and was up and walking a little the first night. by the time I went home, I was walking by myself. Slowly of course, but I was doing it. After getting home, I have listened to my release orders by the book. After my third day home, I started feeling this horrible pain in my shoulders and arms like my arms were on fire and being pulled out of their sockets! The pain meds didn't touch it. I was taking muscle relaxers and pain meds on a routine, just to try and keep the pain from getting any worse. A call to my Dr. indicated it was nerve pain. Normal right after surgery. They prescribed a patch to help with the breakthrough pain and boy was is a life saver! Two weeks post op I was able to wean myself off so many pain meds, and am only taking them as needed now. I am still wearing the patch, but will be stopping it within the week.

I started out wearing my hard collar, only to realize, it was part of the reason I was having pain on my collar bone. Switched over to my soft collar while I was at home, and only wear the hard collar when I am riding in the car. Still not driving, but can ride. I wear my soft collar all day except when I am sleeping, or can lay my head back and rest. My DR. said I would be wearing it for two months, so I am doing what I am told. I had steri strips on my incision, and they came off about three weeks after surgery. I think they would have come off sooner if I had messed with them, but I didn't want to risk opening the incision. By the time it was coming off on its own, the incision was totally closed and was almost healed. Looked great

I am now 4 weeks post op, and in the last few days have started having the numbness return to my fingers on my right side. I am thinking this may be from all the repair they had to do while they were in there. I am hopeful that this will go away when I start Physical Therapy. I am starting to do a little more, but I can tell when I am pushing it too much. I am trying very hard to do what is best for my long term healing process. From what I understand, it is a long time. My first post op appointment isn't until Sept 30th, so I am anxious to see what my progress is. Thanks so much for reading my experience, and if anyone has any input they can give, I would love to hear from you. I do have one question.....is the numbness returning normal?

Happy Healing Everyone!!


  • SLD1029SSLD1029 Posts: 10
    edited 09/08/2014 - 2:31 PM
    It sound like you are doing well. I too had ACDF (C4 and C5). I've had reoccurring symptoms off and on for the last 4 months. One of the symptoms is numbness. My doctor said it was normal to experience this. Recovery can be daunting, I pray that you have a full recovery.
  • Did you clear it with your surgeon before switching to the soft collar? You could pad the bottom of the collar to make it more comfortable, but it isn't a good idea to switch collars or do more than you are supposed to until you see the surgeon for your post op follow ups.
  • Sandi - When I was released, my Dr. told me he wanted me walking everyday, and wanted to me increase to the point I was doing a mile a day before my appointment. He also told me I could lift, but no more than a gallon of milk once I felt able to, and could do light things, VERY light things around the house. I am heading his warning about doing too much to fast. The numbness just returned, not sure why. But, he did tell me they had to do ALOT of nerve repair.So, I am sure it is going to take a long time for it to heal And as for the collar, when I called about the nerve pain in my arms, I confirmed the usage of the collars. I used the hard collar constantly until that day. And I have only been riding in the car a couple times a week because it is still so hard on me.

    SLD1029 - So you are 4 months post op? or longer? how long after surgery did you start feeling the numbness? I could tell right after surgery that there was a definite change for the better in my symptoms, but the numbness returning has me concerned. I am hoping it goes away after time.

    Have a Blessed Day!
  • Jonny ZeroJonny Zero Posts: 69
    edited 09/09/2014 - 10:36 AM
    I had a posterior instrumented fusion a bit further down from you (C5 - T2)..... It will be a bit of a roller coaster ride for you as the months progress (I'm 8 months post-op). Hang in there and deal with it moment to moment. I had numbness, burning and shooting/stabbing pain off and on for at least a couple of months... Follow Doctor's orders and try to keep focused. Again, there will be ups and downs along the way.... It does get better.

    Welcome to the Forum!


    4 Level (C5-T2) Posterior Instrumented Fusion w/ Decompression (Car Accident in January 2014)
    And I can't forget that I'm not ashamed, to be the person that I am today.
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