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Purpose of lifting/bending restriction after ACDF? And how long?

I am one-week post-ACDF surgery and I have felt great since around Day 4. Really so good that it's easy for me to forget I'm in recovery at all. I was told not to bend or to lift anything more than 10 pounds, but I really feel like I could. My instinct is just to do stuff -- pick up things I've dropped, move heavy things, etc. It might be easier for me to comply if I understood WHY I can't do this stuff. I understand it has to do with giving the bones a chance to fuse, but if my doc lets me move my neck as much as I want, wouldn't that hurt chances of fusion more than bending down to pick something up? Trying very hard to comply. (And I am for the most part.) I just want to understand why. Help? Thanks.
C5/6 herniation, type 2 diabetes, generalized anxiety disorder


  • I am now 12 days out and am going stir crazy. I'm even weighing the laundry to keep the basket between 5-7 pounds! I don't have any other restrictions other than the 10 pound weight limit which is to avoid stress on the spine. Without a collar, I too have to remind myself to stop what I am about to do sometimes. That being said, without the muscle relaxers and pain meds I would not be having this conversation. My daughter threatened to hide them yesterday to get me to stop clearing the table after dinner. Her rationale was that if I was hurting more I would be resting. Are you still having problems swallowing? I have to take all my meds with yogurt to get them down or I choke. It's getting better, but still there. How about you?
  • Tomorrow, I get to have a 2-level ACDF. I already went through a decompression laminectomy on my lower back (L2-L5). I understand the weight restriction. It takes 6 months or more for the bones to fuse. If you put stress on them during the healing process, it can break the fusion. So even though you could easily lift more than 10 pounds, do not do it. You don't want to break the fusion and put your procedure into the failure column. The bottom line is if your doctor gives you a weight lifting restriction, obey it. If you don't, you only hurt yourself.
  • Pamela9PPamela9 WashingtonPosts: 42
    I had a 4 level ACDF last Tuesday. The surgery was scheduled for 3 hours and took 4, due to bone spur/fragment cleanup. NS PA was very lax about restrictions, but this forum and PT at hospital made it very clear about the BLT. I am wearing a rigid Aspen collar 24/7 and am grateful to have it as BIG reminder not to turn my head. The NS warned my husband I could "snap" the bolts/plate! They were amazed at the degeneration/compression at 60 years old.

    Friday the fitter comes for the Bone Growth thingy? Anyone using it right now? My Blue Cross denied as experimental, but they have some sort of financial aid? Sounds fishy?
  • I am 2 weeks post op from a ACDFI also. After the first week of feeling horrid, I started going stir crazy. I have been doing little things like maybe fold a couple clothes or switching laundry around, a little bit of dishes here and there. Nothing strenuous but none the less not what I should be doing. I cant help it sometimes because I don't like having to wait to get things done. I am going to be weaned from the collar soon and Im sure I will be putting it to a halt for a bit. I don't know if anyone else feels it but even when taking the collar off to change the pads, the pain is back. I know the muscles are weak from not being used but its only been 2 weeks since surgery so I don't really think that's all of it. I am really concerned because the PA is talking about sending me back to work in the next month. I told him that my job does not permit to go back to work if not 100%. Physically I will have more of an idea once I am not wearing the brace but I was told it was normally a 12 week thing unless its an office job.
    Tracie C
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