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2 weeks ACDF post op and tripped.

Well I am two weeks post ACDF at C4/5. Yesterday I was piddling around my backyard. Decided to water my tomato plants, and as I was putting the hose back I tripped on the hose and jostled myself. I immediately felt some neck pain and as the day progressed the pain got worse, started radiating to my shoulder blade. Took a couple Percocet which didn't help and at bedtime took a Flexeril. This morning the pain is mainly on my neck, no longer radiating into my shoulder blade. I am so upset with myself. I was feeling great, was down to just one Percocet in the morning, having mild surgical pain and now the pain is bad again.

Even though my NS prefer I not wear a collar, I think I will wear it to baby my neck for a couple of days. I also have been icing it. I'm sure I didn't do any major damage as I have a titanium plate and screws, but I'm still pretty bummed.

My advice to everyone, if you're feeling pretty good post op, continue to do nothing. Any little jostle can really set you back in recovery. Let my mistake be a lesson for all of of us.


  • I am still surprise your NS prefer no collar! I have mine on for 5 weeks now, I am kinda nervous to take it off next week!! (hopefully)

    Now go back to do nothing and rest! I think I am getting good at this!! :)

  • My NS's theory is the longer you wear the collar the weaker your neck muscles get. And he is really against that. He likes the neck muscles to get strong and not rely on collar for support. Since I have a plate with screws he says there is no need to immobilize the neck after surgery. I am just not allowed to look or bend upwards. Everything else is ok, and of course no lifting above 8 lbs. my range of motion left and right is better now than before surgery.
  • it's still amaze me that after reading all the stories, there are so many different opinions among all the surgeons out there, the ways to do the surgery, materials they use! By the way, how long no lifting above 8 lbs. limitation are you on?

  • LamMan said:
    it's still amaze me that after reading all the stories, there are so many different opinions among all the surgeons out there, the ways to do the surgery, materials they use! By the way, how long no lifting above 8 lbs. limitation are you on?

    I cannot lift for 6 weeks. I also am driving now too. I got the green light to drive at my one week post op check up, but I gave myself two weeks. I didn't feel confident driving at one week. But I agree with you. There is such difference in opinion and practice amongs surgeons. My NS used a synthetic PEEK cage instead of cadaver bone or my own bone. Over all I am happy with the post op experience. With all the research I did, I was horrified that I would be in a hard collar and not allowed to drive for 6 weeks like I had read on line. Another note, my NS performs 7-10 of these ACDF surgeries a week. He's done over 600 of these surgeries, so I trust his recommendations.
  • Nice, my NS used a PEEK Cage too, I was a little concern because I cannot find a lot of information (Pros and Cons). I am on the 6 weeks hard collar and no driving. but my neck has a reversed curve and he tried to straighten it out with some thicker PEEK cage (I guess), also 2 level so may be that's why he wants me to be on the 6 weeks collar and no driving thing.. (It's killing me) , I am glad your recovery is going well!
  • ivymiivym Posts: 278
    edited 05/14/2015 - 3:52 AM
    And you look great Adela. Kenny I have a reverse curve, too and am getting a cage. Idk if it is PEEK. NS says only soft collar but for 6 weeks.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    without first talking it over with your doctor.

    They may have had an excellent reason why they don't want you to wear a collar.

    I had my ACDFs' in 1996 and 2000. I had to wear a hard collar 24/7 for about 7 weeks.
    I've talked with that surgeon recently and he says with today's method of cervical surgery, the collar is really not needed and could slow down recovery.

    Your other message is valid. Even though you are feeling ok, do NOT go and try to do normal type things. You need to wait until your doctor clears you for certain activities. 2 weeks post surgery is a dangerous period. As you stated, you tripped, it could have been much worse. Remember your restrictions and limitations and keep to them.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • First of all, I'm so glad you're (mostly) OK and the damage wasn't more severe. I'm taking your advice loud and clear but to be honest, my Toddler scares me so much :-( You know how babies are....he's bulky and rough and what if he's in a dangerous situation (falling, running away, etc.), I have to respond physically. I am so terrified of injuring myself, but my baby comes first. I wish I could have held out until he was older.
    ACDF C6/C7 on 05/20/15
    ...and it was the best decision of my life :-)
  • Please be very careful with your toddler. Little tikes are so unpredictable. Just be careful when walking with him. Maybe always hold hands so you can control that he doesn't get ahead of you. This tripping incident set me back about a week in recovery. I was almost completely off my pain meds and now I am back to needing s couple in the morning. Just a little jostle and whamo! Pain! We have to treat ourselves like fragile china or crystal. Hopefully you can schedule friends and family to come be with you during the day to help out with him. It's just 6 weeks you need to be extremely careful. I'm sure it will be fine, but extra hands never hurt.
  • I go back to work 2 weeks in in which I have to get the boys out of the house in the AM, picked up and brought in, dinner, etc. by myself. We have no one to help us in the day to day things and my Husband works 12 hour shifts. I wish I could hold off on this and sometimes I think I should but will there ever be a good time to do it? I can't be in this pain for another minute never mind a year or two but what's the trade off? I honestly do not know which is worse since I can't predict the future (it might be OK, it might not), I have no way of knowing for sure and it *klills* me.
    ACDF C6/C7 on 05/20/15
    ...and it was the best decision of my life :-)
  • It's amazing how things just work out fine. I had a lot of worries too about "who's going to pick up the kids from school", and other make dinner, etc.... It all somehow fell into place just fine. When people find out about your upcoming surgery they will hopefully offer to help and that is when you graciously accept the help. You'll be more capable than you realize too. It's really only a week that you feel crappy and can't do much. Come week two I was doing laundry, someone else had to bring it down the stairs for me. I could've cooked dinner but my hubby wouldn't let me.
    Just don't pick up your kids. Explain to them that mommy' neck is broken and needs to heal. Keep it simple.
    Don't worry so much. It will all turn out fine. I suffered for 19 months and I don't wish that on anyone. It turned me into a miserable exhausted woman. Get the surgery asap so you can mend and get back to a full life.
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