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Posterior Foraminotomy recovery time

I had a C6/C7 PF done about 2 weeks ago due to a bulging disc and possibly some arthritic stenosis causing the nerve root on my left side to be compressed, so I've been living with neck and radiant arm pain for 9 months.The first few days post-surgery were rough because the neck muscles the surgeon disturbed just to get to the vertabrae were stiff and sore. It was hard to lift my head and get out of bed.

But it slowly got better and after a week or so I started to get up and go out a little, nothing strenuos but just had to move around and get out of the house. I still have some numbness in my left upper back and a burning pain when I bend over or twist my neck in a certain position, and it's hard for me to hold my head up without support for more than an hour or two, but I am off hydrocodone now.

But I'm still not ready to sit at my computer at work for 8 hours holding up my neck. Fortunately in my job I have the ability to work remotely from home, which I am starting on Monday half-time, which will be 18 days after my surgery. Gonna try that for a few weeks and see if I'm ready to go back full time. I have a rather large-sized head on a small to medium upper body frame, so maybe my recovery is going more slowly.

I still don't know if this is going to completely solve my neck issues, but I can tell already that the radiant pain in my arm is a little less than it was pre-surgery. I've been hearing different estimates about when it finally feels normal and it scares me a little that many I read about on this board have had to go back for anterior fusions or other surgeries.Just wanted to hear others' experiences with this type of surgery and what kind of recovery time I'm facing. Thank you for any experiences you can share.


  • I had an ACDF 2 level in mid-April for c5-c6 left arm and hand pain, followed by PCF 2 level in July because the nerve pain persisted. The surgical pain from both surgeries subsided in a matter of a few days, but the back spasms from the PCF are persistent. I am dealing with a very slowly healing arm/hand nerve pain as well. The surgeon said that the PCF spasms and nerve pain will likely take 9-12 months to settle down. A good thing is that after sleeping there are minimal spasms until the day wears on, some days better than others. Gives me hope that things will gradually get better. The spasms respond fairly well to Tiger Balm rubs, ice packs and Flexeril. If you have had posture issues, then I suggest looking at ways to correct the posture, otherwise posture problems will aggravate the inflammation. So after hearing my story I'd appreciate any feedback or suggestions to recovery.
  • It has been 8 months since my PCL surgery. The back spasms from the surgery took about 5 months to fully go away. I still have radiant nerve pain in my left hand consistent with c6, however, I now believe it to be the result of basil (thumb) arthritis. I saw my family practitioner earlier this month, who believes because of the location of the pain, that it is thumb arthritis. So I see a hand surgeon in about 10 days. So looking back I'm not clear about how much of the pain was due to spinal issues versus thumb arthritis. It's been an odd journey.
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