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Myelopathy post ACDF

AcconAAccon Posts: 2
edited 09/15/2015 - 4:47 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi, my husband was diagnosed with cervical stenosis/myelopathy in July after about 3-4 months of steadily increasing weakness in both his arms and legs. MRI showed a herniated disc at C5-C6. He had NO pain, just weakness, abnormal gait and loss of balance which caused several falls. To add insult to injury, when he would fall, his arms were so weak that he would have difficulty getting up. He had ACDF surgery in late July and initially all weakness was worse but now with physical therapy it as at least back to what it was immediately before surgery. However, this still isn't good as he needs a walker to walk, if he gets down onto the floor (from walking or exercising) he cannot get back up without help. He cannot lift his arms above his head and has trouble using his hands, particularly his left. He gets very frustrated and depressed because he cannot do things, even rolling over in bed can become a struggle. I am interested if anyone else has experienced this, extreme weakness without pain, and is there hope that it will improve? Are there therapies that we should try? Any advice would be appreciated.

How long will it take


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Myelopathy is tough to deal with, both physically and mentally. I have the condition as well, but not as severe as your husband's, although I was only symptomatic for 6 weeks before surgery. If I waited another 1-2 months, I'm sure I would've been in a wheelchair based on how quickly it was progressing.
    Unfortunately, there's no way to know how quick he'll improve, nor how much he'll improve. I am 9 months out, and most docs say you'll get back most of what you'll get back by 12 months. He can improve still after that, but doesn't *tend* to be as drastic. I did find one study that showed most improvement was in the first 6 months, and then tapers down after that. I tend to ignore that study, since I'm past 6 months ;).
    Just pay attention to doctor's restrictions, do physical therapy as recommended.
    And he is still in the immediate post operative stage- so hopefully once that subsides, he can start making some progress. I did meet someone on here with a similar condition as mine and a similar stage, and it was one of the best things that happened. It helped so much to have someone to talk to that understood what I was going through, since unafflicted friends had no clue. I hope you can find someone too!

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

  • Thank you for you post. You are right, it's good to hear from someone who really knows what he's going through. I take it from your reply that you have continued to progress? I know everyone is different but just knowing that gives hope.
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