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1 Week post op Posterior Cervical Fusion

Kevin SpringerKKevin Springer Posts: 5
edited 09/30/2014 - 8:20 PM in Recovering from Surgery
Back in July of last year I had an ACDF C-5 thu C-7. After trying everything including the famous bone growth stimulator, my fusion never took which the Neuro Doc used cadaver bone. Last Monday I chose to do the Posterior approach with rods and screws with an Ortho Doc. The first 2 days were extremely difficult compared to the anterior approach. My pain levels were extremely high as well as a burning sensation. When I tried to just get out of bed those first few days, I felt like my neck was going to explode. That has gradually gotten better, but the muscle pain isn't playing vey friendly. Is this muscle pain normal? will walking help with this or is it something that just gets better with time?
Im a 48 yr old male healthy and ready to get some normal back in my life!!
Here's to a good fusion :)


  • My mom is having surgery later this month. They are doing both the anterior and posterior fusion because of some issues. I have been reading about this and saw that the recovery is so much harder because of the muscles being disturbed. I hope it gets better for you
    Tracie C
  • Thank you Tracie! Your mom will have a challenge on her hands but with the correct support, she will get through it. My wife has been with me during the first week, which by far the toughest. When getting out of bed and lifting my head up, was THE MOST DIFFICULT part. I want to encourage you to tell whoever is her caregiver, to coach her through this part. Im pretty tough, but didn't expect this to be so difficult. Im glad to say those days are behind me:) I don't want to scare you or her but there is light at the end of that tunnel. Please feel free to PM me or email if needed. Ive read so much on this site that has helped me tremendously.
    Here's to a good fusion :)
  • rtconant1rrtconant1 Posts: 348
    edited 10/01/2014 - 6:23 PM
    Since I was recovering from my own surgery, I didn't get to sit in on her appointment with the neurosurgeon. She had helped me with taking notes for mine. Someone else had taken notes for her and it sounded like they kind of glazed over during the posterior explanation. I have also been reading up on all of her stuff as much as possible to try to understand what she will be going through. I don't know exactly what they will be doing though. I do know about some of the differences from anterior vs. posterior and I cringe at the thought of what she is going to go thru with 2 surgeries back to back within 24 hrs of each other. I want to help her as much as I can also but I will be limited on what I can do. Is there a major reduction of range of motion after a posterior fusion as well as the ACDF. I will pass along to her about lifting her head afterwards. I believe she will be in the hospital for 4-5 days for this so hopefully the worst will be while the nurses can help us get her through it.
    Tracie C
  • Do you know the discs she is having done? Both my surgeons said minimal loss of ROM. I believe with all I've read that everyone is different as far as pain levels and healing. Im one who never would take an aspirin if i had a headache- id just push through the pain. During my ACDF, I took pain meds for 2 days then on to Tylenol. Posterior is a different story- I've chosen to use pain medication without regrets as I'm still in what I would rate as severe pain. Now thats not a constant as walking helps but there are times its reached the ceiling.
    Here's to a good fusion :)
  • kinpainkkinpain Posts: 958
    edited 10/02/2014 - 12:47 PM
    It is interesting what I have been reading here. Now I had fusions with posterior approach six years ago and again seven weeks ago. Both times I prepared myself for a horrible painful experience. I was really surprised, that both times I woke up experiencing some discomfort but no pain. Since I Can't tolerate pain meds very well, I stopped taking it after two days. When I asked my OS how come I had no post-op pain. He explained that when the back muscles are cut, that is causing the pain, but his method is to make an incision to expose the muscles, then he gently peels them off the spinal column. He also told me, that due to my age (I was 72 the first time, and 77 the second) my muscles are not as firm as those of a younger person's. Thus in this case, it helps to be older. So your Mom may be in a better position having a posterior approach. Providing her surgeon uses a more gentle method rather than cutting through the muscles.
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 554
    I had neck surgery back in June of 2013. They went in through the front of my neck. I came out of surgery with no real pain from the surgery or incision site. Unfortunately, my neck didn't fuse, so in March of this year, they went back in through the back of the neck this time. I can't even describe the pain I was in after surgery! I agree with how you say your neck feels like it's exploding. When I told my doctor that at my follow up visit, he said he's never heard it explained that way? The muscles in my neck hurt so bad that I couldn't even touch my neck. My therapist suggested that I wear my soft collar again because my head was just too heavy to hold up. I'd have to say that those muscles hurt like that for over a month. They did say my neck is fused now, but now I'm having severe nerve pain & numbness in my left arm & fingers & in my left leg & foot. I am now in a pain clinic & am taking Elavil & Tramadol. I've only been on these for about 2 wks so I can't really say if they're helping yet. So far, I don't think they are, but doctor said to give them at least a month? I hope you are starting to feel better!
  • I don't know which levels that are being fused. All I know is that she has 2 separate areas that have narrowing issues. Mom is pretty healthy and I don't believe she handles pain meds well either. She is 60 yrs old but has the health and looks like she is in her 40s. She honestly looks like she could be my sister. I think she should do well with the surgery and recovery.
    Tracie C
  • I'm hoping to connect with others,having difficulty with bowel movement sleep and pain management thanks deezy
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    To make things easier ask for a prescription for a hospital bed. I had to end up with onel The pain from getting up was too much for me to take. It made things alot easier getting up after rising the bed to allow for less stress put on the muscles needed to get up
  • Well, im having some sleep issues due to the "no comfort zone". I purchased the mechanical bed months ago in helps to find relief from first fusion. It works off and on, but finding the "sweet spot" is tough. Thank you all for follow ups as it is uplifting to know people really care.
    Here's to a good fusion :)
  • HannamayeHHannamaye AlabamaPosts: 1
    edited 08/26/2016 - 10:14 AM
    Hello Everyone,

    I have been reading this site for a few weeks now trying to prepare for what was to come. I have the fusion from the front back in Dec 2015 but the bottom two didn't heal. So my doctor said we could do a Posterior Cervical Fusion on C6 - C7 and T1. He warned me I would not like him afterwards because of the pain.  Well I was in constant pain anyway so why not take the chance and fix this right.

    I did some studying and borrowed my daughters hospital bed, very smart move. They teach you to do the log roll, lower your legs than push up with your shoulder, if you have a hospital bed it makes it even easier. My other daughter is an RN and she stayed with me 24/7 for the few days I was in the hospital.  Pain was minimum, had to be reminded to push button. Not that it didn't hurt of course it did, but I never had the horrible cramping the doctor warned me about. Neck muscles get tired but it's only been a week and a half.

    I went back into my regular bed the other night and am very happy with that. I take pain meds in morning as I am stiff from lying all night. I do not wake up for meds during the night anymore. And I take meds again in evening as neck muscles are getting stiff and tired. Ware soft collar off and on during the day but do not want to become dependent on it so I refuse to ware it all the time, I need to keep muscles as strong as possible. 

    I still can not cook, clean or do much of anything which is very hard on me. I have two senior dogs(14 and 17 Yorkie and Shih Tzu) with health problems and my husband has taken over their care. And of course nobody does anything right when it comes to my babies. My Yorkie also has dementia so this part is a challenge for me.

    I don't want everyone to think this is the most horrible operation or the most painful. Yes I hurt some, yes I am now full of nuts, bolts, screws and rods but I have suffered worse. I am 68 years old and maybe that makes a difference, but I really believe the doctor (I love my doctor) and being prepared and a positive mind frame will help.

    I have degenerative disc disease so I will never be perfect, but I thank God for my family, my doctor and all the help I have received on this site. You have done so much to help me get ready. Folks its not all bad, trust me.

    Please click on the link for useful information

  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    This is an old discussion the member who created it is no longer on the forum so i am closing it

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
This discussion has been closed.
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