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Just had c5-c6/ c6-c7 fusion on Wednesday

CmagyarCCmagyar Posts: 8
edited 03/22/2015 - 7:50 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone. I'm So new to all this this pain stuff. I've always been a healthy person up until November when my symptoms started. neck pain and arm pain at first and a month later numbness in fingers .After months of pt and an injection treatment I finally saw a Neurosurgen who told me that my disc were so bad that I needed surgery. They told me they do see this in a person my age, I'm 38. Especially since I don't have any reason for the degenerative disc. No accidents or didn't fall, ect. I'm four days post-op and doing ok. My right arm is still hurting, but I'm hoping this is normal as the nerve has been pinched for a while. Sleeping is a struggle because of the neckbrace, but I make do. I try not to do too much,but kind of difficult when you a 7 and 5 year old to take of. Luckily I do have some help with that.

My questions

- what made you comfortable (sitting, lying down)
- did you just rest a lot for a couple weeks (I do get tired after walking around the house for a few hours)
- when did you start feeling a difference

I guess I would just like to hear everyones experience with this surgery.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Doug Hell

    Also working with us very closely is Allison Walsh from the Spine-Health company


    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Congrats on doing well in surgery! I had a bit more extensive surgery, with a lot more extensive problems, but some is similar -
    --recliner. I sat in my recliner A LOT. I slept in it til about 5 or 6 weeks. I would get up and move around, sit in another chair for a while, etc. But my neck would get sore in other chairs because of lack of neck support. Sleeping - I would make sure drugs were on board, lay pillows all around, and sleep on the recliner. I'm a side sleeper, so it was about 2 months until I could sleep comfortably in bed.
    --I did almost nothing the first 2 weeks but what I just stated above. I was blessed with people bringing meals (not that I ate a lot), and my family took care of everything else.
    -- Hmmmm...I think I got arm strength back at 6-8 weeks, but I could be wrong. I'm working still on getting other stuff back, but I have a different history than you.

    I'm sure others will chime in! There's a few really good success stories on here, you should browse around while you're resting.

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

  • You have done most of the hard part. Now it's about taking care and allowing your body to heal.
    I have two fusions on my lower spine 10 years ago and an scheduled next monday for c5-c6 , c6-c7.
    I just hit 40 so I have you by a few years but this forum definitely helped me back then .witg my lower back.
    You can find good reminders and others coping with the same stuff.

    What I've been told for the cervical is stay in the recliner and don't rush to the bed. Don't overdo anything in the beginning , even if it seems simple. One of The most important items is to allow the bones to fuse.
    Best of luck! Keep us updated
  • The past few days have been hard. Emotionally and physically, but mostly emotionally. Just taking things one day at a time. My right arm still bothers me. It so difficult to get comfortable. We don't have a recliner so I have to make due with our bed and lots of pillows. I'm so glad there is a support system here.
  • It's going to be quite a ride while you're healing. Watch the drugs - my surgeon sent me home on lorazepam, which works fantastic as a muscle relaxant, but messes with your head. Once someone told me at work my personality change, I made myself stop taking it (I would have it at bedtime to sleep), because it affected me up to 24 hours later.
    I sent you a PM too.

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

  • JamminjulesJJamminjules Posts: 1
    edited 03/28/2015 - 1:22 PM
    Hello, I'm 5 days post op an anterior cervical c5-c7 fusion. My Neuro told my husband that he scraped all of the bony Spurs around my spinal cord during surgery. So, with that and the fact that he replaced 2 discs with cadaver bone, and placement of the metal plate, why am I still having the feeling that my nerves are being compressed and pinched? My arm pain is just as bad as it was before surgery. The only difference I see is that my fingers aren't tingling as much as they were before. But the radiating pain and feeling that I have a tight blood pressure cuff on is still there. Please let me know if this a normal experience and when I might start seeing some relief. TIA!
  • I told my docs that my right arm still felt the same after surgery. I was very worried, but now the pain is different and it comes and goes. They said because the nerves were pinched for so long it could take a while to feel better. I know if I'm walking or standing or lying down in a certain position the pain is essentially gone. I think that's a good sign.
  • Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum. I've bee reading for the past 2 months and now that my surgery is less than a week away, I'm making my first post. I am having three-level fusion at c4-5, c5-6 and 6-7. The discs are worn out and I've had radicular pain for two months-plus. PT and epidural injections did not work. I recently met with a spine surgeon from a very reputable Philadelphia practice who impressed me (he's a younger guy, but he says he's done 1,000 ACDFs). Of course I'm a little scared, but I'm 53 years old and I know that this must be done. There is spinal cord impingement so there's no debate. I've been active my whole life (running since I was 18, still at it 35 years later, out 4X per week until late January of this year when symptoms came on in a big way); don't smoke; am 5'10" and weigh 170; and am not on BP medication or any other medications, save for the Oxy and other anti-inflammatories, etc. So, presuming the surgery goes well, what will be the biggest challenge for me in the first 2 weeks? I will be wearing a hard collar for 2 weeks. The bone graft will be donated bone, so no incision at the hip to worry about. I'm ready for the swallowing difficulty and hoarseness in voice. Will I be able to lift my arms? I'm trying to gauge how limited I will be? I'll be home alone in the house between 8 and 4, when my wife is at work and the kids (I've got a 5 and a 9 yr old) are at school. I've read enough to know it's not going to be a picnic, but I'm looking for some input. Hopefully, in the positive vein, but . . . Thanks, Kevin C
  • TWynnBTTWynnB Posts: 265
    edited 04/04/2015 - 11:51 PM
    You're not allowed to lift anything heavier than a few pounds for the first couple of weeks. I got home on a Tuesday, my hubbie went back to work that Thursday, because there wasn't much for him to do and he was bored. It really wasn't that bad, just have your drug list so you don't forget, laxatives (!!!!), and nearby stuff to do. You won't be doing *anything* the first couple of weeks!

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

  • TWynnB,

    I appreciate your comments. How many weeks out from surgery are you? Are you back to driving? Work? Off pain meds?
  • Doug HellDoug Hell Posts: 335
    edited 04/05/2015 - 5:06 AM
    There are variables for every single situation......

    1. Comfort came in the form of a La-Z-Boy Recliner for me. This helped with comfort significantly. Everyone is different though. Sometimes laying flat works better.
    2. Walking is essential. Walk, walk, walk and do more walking IF your Surgeon + PCP has already cleared you to do so. You will seize up if you do nothing.
    3. The acute pain phase can last up to 3 months. Again, everyone is different and there are a long list of variables for every unique situation/circumstance. You will see changes gradually every week, but don't forget that you are riding a rollercoaster to recovery, so expect the unexpected. It can change in an instant. Hang on tight.


    FUSION SURGERY RECOVERY (3-6 days after discharge):



    Healing vibes sent.

    Doug Hell
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
  • I have been told I will need four level fusion on my neck. Rear end MVA last March. Surgery isn't scheduled yet as I am going to get one more opinion. So difficult to choose a doctor. Last Neuro said I would be back to work in two weeks. From everything I read on here that isn't realistic. I live alone and am scared about all this.

    Would like to find someone that has had a four level. Mine is C-3-4 C4-5 C5-6 C-6-7.
  • Hard to believe it's three weeks. Sleeping is still a struggle for me. I did take some Tylenol pm and that helped. I'm so happy that my husband bought a recliner for me. My right arm is still sore and the stiffness in my neck and shoulders makes things uncomfortable, but Ido have a massager and that helps. Walking and not sitting too much definitely helps. I still have to wear the hard collar for two more weeks until I see the doctor. Incision looks good. Steri strips are still on, but almost ready to come off. I did try pulling them off, but didn't want to pull too hard. Do any of you do any arm excercises with light weights to regain arm strength again. I was thinking of doing that.
  • Wow. I am completely in awe..... The incision itself is barely healed within a 2 week time frame! I would recommend getting 2-3 opinions, but make sure you visit a BOARD CERTIFIED NS. This is important. Research reviews online as well. Remember, this is your life.

    I had a 4 level fusion due to a serious car accident 15 months ago (C5-T2). I am still not back to work, but note that I had broken vertebrae and nerve damage (and my job was physical), so my situation differs from yours. There are unique variables/circumstances for everyone when it comes to the healing process. The posterior approach is the more painful one of the two, but the Anterior approach comes with its own set of complications and cons as well....Knowledge is power; arm yourself with it.

    You wouldn't be human if you weren't scared, but you need to face this and follow through. Read my signature at the ened of this post. Do you have family support at all? If so, please ask for some help. You can certainly get through it alone, but it will only be that much more difficult for you.

    I have attached some links here to help you on your way:






    Healing vibes sent.

    Doug Hell
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
  • Hi
    I had my c5 c6 c7 infusion done with a bar as well march 23, and healing is going great, i feel quite the difference, before my surgery i would have neck pain, shoulder pain and both arms would go numb and tingling,, now i don't feel any of that.
    This neck brace is a tough thing to get used to, there is no give and take with it. sleep with lots of pillows. I find sleeping on my side is much easier than sleeping on my back.
    Still can't do a lot, although i do more than i should at times, and my neck tells me.. so when you are told something by your Dr or surgeon please listen. Go back to see my Dr second week in may still cannot drive cause can't shoulder check.

    Since surgery i have now got acid reflux, Dr told me i have to use over the counter stuff guess its cause they moved things around in throat, some food aggravate throat so careful what i am now eating.
    My skin is really drive and raw from neck brace am putting lotion on it when i take brace off looking at creating a cover for pad as it rubs skin, if anyone has a suggestion or made something please let me know.

  • Although I believe I had a good surgeon and was told all went well after three-level fusion at 4-7, I'm concerned that
    my symptoms are unchanged. I still have some arm pain and, worst of all, a left index finger that is useless because of the needles and pins and numbness feeling. The inside of the palm sand of the hand is impacted as well. Anyone have any insight from personal experience as to when the radicular symptoms will begin to subside? The doctor, of course, is non-committal. It could take up to a year for the nerve to recover. Nothing more definitive. Thoughts anyone?
  • I still have issues with my left arm 16 months later. It can take up to 2 years for nerves to regenerate.... Patience is key here. It will definitely take some time to heal. Hang in there.
    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
  • of c/4 (corepectomy?) next month . My pre op symptoms are pain in neck, numbness in arms and fingers. I do not take any meds including pain meds. Looking forward to being on the other side.
  • Ivy you are my hero for going through all of this without pain meds. You go girl. :)
  • Believe me it works against me sometimes. Happy to see you back Lisa!
  • that a good "rule of thumb" is 1 inch recovery per month for nerves (is this crap or real???) - so I'm looking at a couple of years for full regeneration if that rule of thumb is correct.

    Lucky I'm not a Neanderthal with my knuckles dragging along the ground - could you imagine the recovery time you'd need!!!

    Rich :)
    C6/7 ACDF 18th April 2015 after 8 years of mucking around pretending it was something else...
  • After surgery my doc told me that it may be 8 months until I get feeling back in my thumb and 1st 2 fingers. I would imagine that your nerve recovery definitely depends on how long that nerve has had pressure on it . You crack me up Rich. I am totally picturing you walkin g around with your knuckles dragging on the floor now. :)
  • ivymiivym Posts: 278
    edited 05/06/2015 - 12:17 PM
    to put a smile on my face...: ) Good thing I'm little about 5'2". I want my fingers back ASAP.
  • I know Ivy. Trying to put an earring in can't feel if it is in the right hole. Thankfully not my dominant hand. Tiny buttons a bit hard too. Have to realize that things could be a lot worse for me. I try to be thankful for what I do have.
  • Unless your arms are only 8 inches long Lisa! Maybe you are petite. :)

    My left index finger became annoying and somewhat painful to hit a laptop keyboard with, so started using my middle finger instead. Now I am back to index again thank goodness. Still feel the pins and needles but not painful.

    My dad used to always say "laughter is the best medicine; and laughing at yourself is the best medicine of all"....so true. Too easy to get down with surgery and recovery, and even though its a rollercoaster at times, I just stare it in the face whilst I realise how lucky I am in so many aspects of my life....besides I wear gloves so the knuckles don't get scraped too bad usually.

    Love Rich :)
    C6/7 ACDF 18th April 2015 after 8 years of mucking around pretending it was something else...
  • Counting down the days . Next Wednesday likely in am discectomy and c6-7 fusion. Feeling very positive. I am actually asking my anesthesiologist and my Doc ti read a couple of mantra like statements during my surgery. I figure what the heck it can;t hurt anything. Suppose to keep energy positive and decrease healing time. Will let you know how that all goes.
  • being referred to orthopedic surgeon on thursday, may need ACDF:
    Question: anyone have headaches with the normal arm pain and numbness? I have had constant headache that will not budge. My neurologist beleives it is related to herniated discs pressing on spinal column. Hoping fusion will provide relief. Any advice?
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