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Question for those have had ACDF

I had ACDF on C5-C7 back July 15, 2015. Still having problems with pain and spasms, actually BOTH pain and spams have gotten worse since surgery. The spasms are mostly controlled with a regular muscle relaxer as well as Valium. I found out just HOW MUCH help the valium is at that when my mailed scrip was several days late getting to me after running out. Both hubby and I were under the impression the Valium was mainly for my highly increased anxiety level since this all began. Anyway my question has to do with pain. I noticed IMMEDIATLY after surgery, which I had the worst time pain wise. I literally spent the 1st day and 3/4s of the next in sobbing, wracking, and at times screaming in pain. Nothing they gave me helped. And it was not for their lack of trying. once they found a blend that improved my pain level I was out walking the halls. Laying down HURT. I have found since that sleeping in a bed is only possible for 2-3 hours. I then MUST get up because my LOWER back is SCREAMING in pain. Even though I am still on high levels of pain meds as well as the Valium and Robaxin I now have the pain in my neck/shoulder/arms AND NOW LOWER back newly added. I wondered if others who had the ACDF that had not previously had lower back troubles (aside from regular tired after hard days work when involving lots of bending) suddenly develop problem right after the ACDF?


  • I had a C4-7 acdf with instrumentation on Sept 28. I had lower back pain 4 years before this surgery which I got rid of with yoga/stretching. When I started having problems with my neck my lower back pain flared up! Even after surgery, because I have had to cease my yoga, my lower back pain has flared. I just got the go ahead to start my yoga again...being mindful of any positions that cause pain or strain my neck. What is also happening is that I am holding my body differently because of my neck surgery and that can throw off many other areas of the body including the lower back. Talk with your surgeon about this and/or your physicall therapist so you are sure something else is not going on.
  • Not me, but a friend that's not on here too much anymore had a lot more lower back issues after her ACDF, and she's a year out now. I think your lower back tries hard to compensate and help you out with your upper back having so many problems.
    Are you on narcotics now? Were you on before surgery? My one thought is some that are used to taking them, apparently they don't work as well for acute high pain levels.
    Have they taken x-rays to make sure everything looks okay?
    I hope you get some answers and feel better soon. When is your next doc visit? Have you seen the doc recently?

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

  • I am still on pain meds. Even though still having a lot of pain the doctor has decided to start tapering me off them. I have an appointment to see a rehabilitation for in a few weeks. I am assuming to get evaluated to see which exercises to try at this point. The last appointment with doctor he mentioned another EMG, to rule nerve damage. I REALLY do NOT want to do that one again. I am extremely needle phobic and therefore tense up horribly at ANY needle, no matter what size or thickness. That test before surgery had me crying and pain level shot higher than when I gave birth to a child that was 11 pounds 9 ounces with no epidural. I didn't have that because of my phobia of needles. I figured it would cause the possible problems with me tensing up. So I had to go with what they already had me stabbed in the arm with IV meds. Those did NOT help pain over half hour then either. But honestly, I am so tired of the hurting, if they suggest the steroid injections would work to stop it. Even as needle phobic as I am, I would line up. And just hope they would be willing to sedate me for the procedure. But those electric needles...They scare me SO badly. It HURT SO much last time. I'm sorry for going on and on about that. I don't want to make people sick of seeing me post.
  • lorijo3llorijo3 Posts: 112
    edited 11/19/2015 - 4:36 PM
    I had one years ago and it was the most horrific, painful thing I ever experienced. I am not needle phobic but I felt like I was being tortured. If I ever had to have one again I would ask for Xanax like they gave my husband when he had injections in his back before they went the surgery route. Made the biggest difference for him. First shot he had nothing and it was a horrible experience. Second one the family doc gave him Xanax and he was absolutely fine because he was so relaxed. A coworker did the same thing and was fine. Doc gave him just enough for the procedure? But I do not blame you at all for hating the EMG. I am with you there. It seems barbaric to me!
  • Spirit FireSSpirit Fire Posts: 4
    edited 11/29/2015 - 12:45 PM
    Thank you for the sympathy about the EMG. I still have not received an appointment for it. I don't know when I will see a doctor for my ACDF again. The surgeon that was supposed to do it on a Friday. But we got a call saying due to cancelation there was an opening 2 days before. I was stupid and assumed it was with MY doctor. And it would mean that after a reasonable recovery time, I would be either totally out of pain or MUCH less (which is what my doctor had said, when he said the surgery would get rid of the pain for me.) But it ended up being a different doctor, one I still have not met. I was out when he came in the room. Doctors don't really like seeing me because I have gone profoundly deaf. I was not born so and never been able to learn sign language. I lip read, very slightly. So I NEED thing written down for me. It takes time to them it is a waste of time to have to stop and write down for me. And you know how most doctors write, it is HARD to read too. My Hubby doesn't like to write out for doctors because he writes very slowly, and they speak way too fast for him. My hospital system is one that is nationwide and the doctors constantly are moved from 1 to another in the system. My original neurosurgeon has since been moved to another 1. I been seen 2 times since surgery. The second time I brought up that I was STILL in more pain than before surgery. They changed the pain meds and added to the amount of times taking the Robinix? But the pain meds I have now wear off within 3 hours and they are on a "tapering dose" for after surgery where supposed to be take every 8 hours. I have appointment with rehab the 7th, I hope he can show me some exercises that will help ease the pain. Family is exhausted of seeing me crying so often. Hubby hurt his back and has degenerated discs from back 68. He has been in pain since and is sick of hearing "I hurt," from me. I pray I can hurry and get adjusted to living with this level, or have it go away soon. I just want a life you know. Be able to do normal things like dishes or laundry without crying over the amount it hurts to even fold clothes.
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