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Hello -

I had a 2 level ACDF in early March. I have had a slow recovery with left sided weakness in upper and lower extremities post op (a little better than pre-op). I started PT 2 weeks ago and have been progressing greatly - leg extension 30 lbs with left leg. leg press 60 pounds - 10x each. This Tuesday I had some burning in my underarm and called the surgeon who said this was normal, gave pain meds, and ordered an appt in 2 weeks.

2 days ago I tried to fix a light bulb above the bathroom sink, i just looked up for 30-45 seconds with my head back and right hand above my head and then i felt some pain so i stopped as the day went on weakness came on and gradually got worse: bilaterally could not lift arms, shocks in both feet, left foot drop, muscle pain in upper back and neck and could barely keep my head up. I did not call the doctor, maybe I should of, but they have always said wait till your next visit. I never had symptoms on the right until this happened, even pre-op.

I put on the collar, iced, TENS, and took pain meds and muscle relaxers. The next day the symptoms gradually got better to the point now were my strength is back 70% of where i was before this happened. i still have a limp, get shocks on the left. Is this part of normal recovery or a sign that something is not right?
Thank You


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    I would agree with you , that day of changing light bulb and symptoms, of same day notified doctor of change in situation and the pain and esp since you were having new symptoms not experienced even pre op.

    It doesn't matter how doctor has responded in the past...as that may have been appropriate response in past.
    But doctor should be given the opportunity to assess care you may need with each new incident and painful symptoms.
    That's what doctor is for.

    So that was two days ago and you are feeling somewhat better.
    Personally, I would notify my doctor today of what did occur two days ago....and the treatment you gave yourself...collar, TENS, etc.....
    The fact that you are even questioning if this is to be expected......that needs to be directed to doctor, along with full info of light bulb change and subsequent symptoms.

    Only doctor can give you guidance and or reassurance as to what is going on.

    You may also want to double check on your post op activities...and limitation?...having head look up 30-45 secs?....
    and for how long restrictions may be in place?

    I wish you the best that all is well!
    Please keep us posted
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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