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ACDF reoccurring symptoms......help !!

I am about 4.5 months out of surgery for a herniated disc at the c5/c6 level. It was herniated into my spinal column and was classified as a "severe" compression. I have been dong well, had the usual recovery routine most people have: collar for about 6 weeks, had a stiff neck, limited activity for 8-10 weeks, then resume normal activity as usual. So i have been doing fine, and all of a sudden within the week i started to get burning sensations in my upper back, neck, between shoulder blades, and shoulder. There was also a red pigmentation along those areas as well, resembled a rash maybe. So i have been taking Advil for three days and it had gotten 90% better. I am also starting to get muscle twitches in my triceps, bicep, and lower lat. Not very frequent, just get them laying down time to time.

I spoke to my doctor and he said that i probably over did it and needed to take it easy and i should be fine, so he thinks thats its muscular based. So my question is, could my nerves still be healing and "waking up" at this point or could it actually be from overstraining myself? im not sure if 4.5 months is long or not in this process. It seems plausible i tweaked or inflamed a nerve, just not sure, and wanted to hear other stories. I dont have any neck pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion, or shooting pains. Any advice would be great. Dr said i should not have any burning pain or muscle twitches after two months, which seemed pre-mature from what i have been reading to be honest. Any advice would be great, i would really appreciate it. Trying to calm my mind a bit

P.S-i have two metal plates and crews holding in the cage and at my post sx appointment, the DR said everything looked really well .
Blake baxter


  • Below my post are my spine surgeries that I've had, and in my opinion 4.5 months isn't healed or it wasn't for me. Any new activities can cause healing pains. Everyone heals at different paces. Age is a factor, type of physical activity etc. I wouldn't rush it, spine healing takes time :)
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • Sounds pretty normal to me, from what I've seen and read. I know at 10 weeks, I'm more painful than I was since...surgery, probably because I'm working now. My neck and shoulders were absolutely burning a few days ago. I had this before surgery as well, and they've always said it was to stop the compression, not alleviate the pain.
    I was told not to take anything but Tylenol for 6 months - did your doc okay you to use advil now?

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

  • uwhuskies1984uuwhuskies1984 Posts: 9
    edited 02/19/2015 - 3:02 PM
    yes i called them and told them what was happening and they told me to take advil for a week or so. Gotten lots better, but i still get muscle twitches, much like the ones i was getting earlier on during the healing process. I thought i heard it can take up to 18 months, but my PA said at 2 months i shouldn't be getting these symptoms, kinda got me worried.......but i thought for major surgery that sounded really really soon as well
    Blake baxter
  • Advil is a anti inflammatory? With fusion that is a No No until the fusion is fused. Did you have xrays at 3 months ??
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • UW,

    I have a similar story on my end. I had C5/C6 ACDF (artificial disc) done about 5 months ago. I started with the usual after surgery pain and stiffness but followed all the doctors orders as it related to neck brace, physical therapy, lifting, etc. Then I started having new pains a few months after surgery. It was in my arms, shoulders, and one leg. Then twitching started, especially in one arm. I have had several xrays and they say all looks good and I am just experiencing what sometimes happens when the spine is trying to "re-fire" again. They put me on gabapentin which seems to help some. I go back to the surgeon again this afternoon for a follow-up so we will see what they say. Hopefully this is all 'normal".
  • It can throw you for a loop because one day you feel great and go on as normal like nothing ever happened and then all the sudden pain starts popping out of no where. I had some of those days early in the recovery from surgery. Then I started going on towards normal activities and I start going down hill.
    I also had a disc herniation at C5/C6 also with spinal cord compression and myelopathy. The doctor pretty much only gave enough time to get insurance to cover and then it was to be done. I needed the surgery before things got worse. I went for 3 yrs. with the pain in my neck and shoulders. The surgery went well but did not get rid of my muscle twitches and all the other pains. The doctor said that at worst, I would be just like I was before surgery and best case would be most of the pain would be gone. I had the addition of migraine like headaches, cervicogenic headaches, and a boat load of nerve pains that don't really go away. I still am getting flare ups but not as frequent or as severe as before the surgery. I had surgery in September. Now I am on muscle relaxers, meds for nerve pain and migraine preventive meds and meds for when I get a migraine despite the other meds. I also see a physical therapist and neurologist.
    These things are so individual. I don't think that the doctors can really say that the surgery will make everything go away and if they do, they are lying through their teeth. I hope that your issues are not long term and anti inflamitories help. I was also told that I was not to take ibprofren for the first 3 months for sure but I don't remember how long it was.
    I feel for you. I understand where you are coming from. It sounds like you are doing pretty good for the most part. I hope with in time you will be able to get rid of the pain.
    Tracie C
  • Tracie,

    Did you have your surgery for ACDF in Sept of 2014? I had mine in Sept of last year and still all that you describe but the headaches. Mine was labeled spondylitis with myelopathy.

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