I had my ACDF C5/C6 on 4/10/14 (just over a year ago--yah!) Still dealing with flare-ups of muscle pain and spasms as my nerve regeneration continues and I return to normal activities and rebuild my strength. My surgeon's office referred me to their rehab guy who has encouraged me to use heat. I'm having a big flare-up this weekend, so I laid down this afternoon with a heating pad across my pecs and up over my collar bone (so just under my incision area by a couple inches). I had a tank top on and the heating pad on medium (NOT high), but after 20 to 30 minutes, the area was quite hot and a bit red and splotchy. I had never thought of it before, but is it safe to have a heating pad that close to the hardware? Does it get hot? If so, could it damage the nerves or nerve roots? I was fully fused nine months ago, so that's not an issue.
Obviously, I can't reach the rehab guy on a Sunday night, but have any of you had experience with this issue? Have you used a heating pad near or directly on your surgical area? Has a doctor or PT person ever advised you whether this is safe or not?
Kind of worried here and would really appreciate some insights.