It's been one year this month since my ACDF C5/C6. My surgeon's nurse told me flare-ups would be completely normal for 18 months or more post-op. The rehab doctor also told me it would be normal to have sore muscles as I begin to return to activities I haven't done in a while. Chances are I still have some nerve regeneration going on, as the "one-inch-a-month" rule would not have it reaching my forearms yet. I've had two great EMGs and MRIs since my surgery.
In recent weeks, I've developed a clumsy streak and managed to slightly injure myself or "overdo it" pretty much every day. (In other words, I have new flare-ups happen before the last flare-up(s) can fully resolve.) This leaves me wondering if the frequency of such incidents puts my recovery in jeopardy or if it's merely causing me more discomfort, longer flare-ups, etc. Many times, it's something simple, like tripping on a throw rug or dog crate and flailing my upper body as a result. Other times, it's something more traumatic or physically taxing, like day after day of grueling rehearsal time on my classical guitar (in preparation for a big performance) or directing my handbell ensemble (which involves a huge amount of upper body movement). I try to be careful, but something always seems to happen.
Is this a normal part of the recovery process and harmless (perhaps even beneficial as I am rebuilding strength) in the long run? I'm not even sure if "flare-ups" is the right word to use, as many of these may not even qualify as flare-ups. They may be just the result of exercising muscles that haven't been used much for a while.