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ACDF Surgery STILL in pain :(

ShellyDSShellyD Posts: 1
edited 01/12/2015 - 7:36 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi, I had my ACDF surgery June/2014 (also spinal stenosis with bone spurs into the spine.) I am currently still having pain on the left side of my neck that radiates down to my upper trap, scapula, tricep, lower arm with pins and needles/numbness to my thumb and index finger. Arm is very weak and fatigued. The only thing that seems to help is laying down with a heating pad...This is crazy...I'm only 49!!!

Anyone else still not feeling right after surgery? I mean, my neck feels stable now, but everything else that was present before surgery has gotten worse.

Any input appreciated :)



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 01/12/2015 - 8:28 PM

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 552
    I had 2 neck surgeries last year. I can relate to what you are saying. Have you had an X-ray to see if your neck fused? I also have burning, stinging pain in the back of neck & shoulder blades. My left arm is also numb & very painful. I can't lift it up too high without sharp pains shooting down my arm. I've tried therapy several times, but didn't have much success. I am now seeing a pain management doctor. He has been trying different meds to help with the nerve pain. I am now on Gabapentin along with Tramadol & hydrocodon. He told me when I go back in February, he will increase my Gabapentin. I am a little older than you (53) & I'm finding that I certainly don't bounce back as quickly as I did when I was younger. I was told that nerves can take a year to heal. I'm coming up on a year from my surgery. I'm not feeling too hopeful that things will improve anymore.
  • I had surgery back in September. I know its not quite as long as you but I understand still having pain daily. I am now seeing a neurologist for my headaches and my continuing pain in my neck, shoulders and arms. I had acdf with instrumentation. I was also diagnosed with myelopathy. This and the radiculopathy is still bad. Unfortunately my doctor said that the surgery was not to get rid of the pain but to stop the progression of the myelopathy issues. I still get zingers down my legs and weakness and heaviness in my legs and arms. Tomorrow I am having a CT scan to see if there is anything still going on in there or if there is a problem since my MRI in June/July. I have been on gabapentin (2 in morning, 1 in afternoon, 2 at bedtime) and cyclobenzaprine (3x day) for a few months. Now they added nortriptyline to my meds that will be increasing in dosage every week up to 50 mg. So far, I am not liking this medicine.
    I am 36 yrs. old. I work full time 12 hrs a day, sometimes more when I cant finish up my work in the day. I'm sure this doesn't help any. I hope you get answers to your pain.
    Tracie C
  • Radicular pain and muscle spasms in both arms. C6 fusion in May of 2014. 8 months now. Was told it can take a year and maybe 18 months. I was in horrid pain for 1.5 years before my surgery. Two doctors said it was not my neck!!! Well, it was. Angry at times. PTherapy insists that this hypersensitivity that I get in my arms and shoulders will go away if I keep moving and doing the John Travolta "staying alive" move a few times a day. I hope they are right---if they are not, then I will only flare up worse for nothing!!! it's hard to trust anyone. Maybe we will all still get some relief with more time?
  • I had my surgery Dec 5 2013. Up until seven months I would have horribly bad pain days and really good days when I didn't over do it. I walked every day, and slept every day. Some time goes days and nights with no sleep at all from the pain. As I know now from reading everyone else's posts, this is YOUR journey and we all are different, but it helps to know I'm not alone in this.
    Still fight different pain, but as it was mentioned it could take longer than a year. I was mad when the discharge papers say 3 months. But imagine my gratitude finding this site. Listen to our body, it's usually right.
    46 F Avg Hgt/Weight non-smkr/drkr, ex-runner
    Chronic back/neck pain/urticaria (pic)
    ADCF C6-7, 11/13
    C3-4-5 , L3-4-5-S1 DDD bulge annular tear

  • My c3-c6 ACDF was in September 2014. Before surgery I had both pain and loss of sensation (different sensory circuits, you know) in my arms and everywhere below my sternum, plus difficulty walking.

    Six months after surgery, I pretty much have most of the same symptoms. 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.

    I have the same upper left side pain ShellyD describes, but mostly when sitting in certain positions. Usually when something starts hurting, I take the time to gently stretch and relax everything that hurts.

    My doctors never told me how long it might possibly take to heal, so I was very interested to see what estimates some of you were given.

    I’m 61, and spend a lot of time wavering between being pleased that I am not paralyzed and being very impatient to go back to something resembling normal. This seems to be a very individual process, with countless variations on spinal and nerve damage and countless variations on recovery time and success. I wish you all well on your various healing journeys!
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