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8 weeks post 3 level ACDF flare up of symptoms

I am still early in my recovery---8 weeks post with 3 level ACDF C4-5-6-7 to fix compression against my spinal cord.

I felt sort of a flare up in my shoulder blade and a reduction in fine motor skills in my hands the day after driving over some very bumpy roads in which my neck moved back and forth a lot.

The symptoms are similar to the symptoms I had prior to surgery. I went to the Dr and they gave me an x-ray and indicated everything looked really good, gave me a 6 day dose of steroids and felt good for a while, then symptoms came back again.

This may be a common result of overdoing it due to swelling but wanted to hear any feedback anyone has regarding symptoms returning from time to time after surgery....


  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    edited 01/01/2015 - 4:13 AM
    Yes, it is common to have these setbacks in your recovery. I had a 360 fusion of C4 thru C7 back in 2007 and now I am 9 months post-op of an 8 level posterior fusion of C2 down to T3. I still have some short bouts of discomfort mostly when I over do it. It used to make me nervous when I'd experience these symptoms but now I know what to expect.
    Best wishes,
  • I had and ACDF of C3/4, with corpectomy of C5 on Dec 8th, for severe spinal cord compression. The last few days leading up to surgery I could walk, but not well, and stumbled frequently.
    Immediately after surgery, my walking improved immediately, and the leg/arm weakness as well. Twelve days post-op, I started going downhill again, to the point I was almost worse than before surgery. My doc put me on the steroid course as well, which I am almost done with. I have improved mildly - only stumble when I do too much, but the weakness is still pretty prominent.
    I guess it is fairly "common". Now, it's just a wait and see how long it takes to regain it, again (assuming it does). I'm just a wee bit impatient, and it is quite discouraging to take 2 steps forward, and one step back.

    ACDF w/Corpectomy C3-6 12/8/14 ; Laminectomy C3-6  5/19/2016

  • Thanks for the responses. Glad, I guess...to hear that these flare ups may be somewhat common. Agreed, that it really is discouraging and gets really frustrating from time to time. It's really hard to just do nothing, from an activity standpoint when I was so active prior to the surgery -->mountain biking, weight lifting and motorcycle riding. I just have to deal with it....aghhh
  • I'm 10 wks post from a C45 - 56 ACDF and I too experience pain daily - no meds other than OTC. At least the numbness/weakness went away from right side of neck to shoulder down the arm to my hand. My flare up is directly in the back of neck and between the shoulder blades (stiffness & burning sensation). I also share the frustration for lack of activity other than walking especially when I enjoy surfing / snowboarding and boot camp work outs. i'm not that young (49) but not that old to still want to enjoy recreation activities I've done my whole life. Thanks everyone for sharing and wish all a healthy recovery:-)
  • My c3-c6 ACDF was in September 2014. Six months after surgery, I pretty much have most of the same symptoms to a lesser degree. I’m starting to get my sense of touch back, which makes some places, like the outside of my hands, actually hurt more. My walking gait improved for a couple months but seems to be regressing right now. I still sleep about 14 hours a day due to a combination of neck tightening (pain!) and my body continuing to use most of my energy for healing itself.

    It doesn't appear that anyone really understands much about nerve damage or recovery, not compared to a lot of other physical problems. It's not just hard to find a consensus on-line, it's hard to find anyone with the exact same story! Still, 8 weeks is pretty early, so if you're doing okay, that's good!
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