Question: C3-C7 cervical discectomy and recovery process?

I had a 4 level cervical discectomy surgery in March of this year. I wore a hard collar as prescribed for 6 weeks, and have been in a soft collar for 6 days so far. I had very little pain in the hard collar, and now my pain is in my neck, shoulders, and upper back. I wonder if the pain is more from the lack of support in the soft collar, or maybe I am doing too much? I am still restricted to 10-15 pounds lifting, but occasionally partially pick up my 20 lb granddaughter, with assistance, of course. I have been advised to walk to help the muscle pain in my neck, but haven't been able to start due to other health problems. Am I too active? Or is this natural pain from not having the hard collar on?

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Doctor’s Response: The pain is normal and should gradually lessen

This pain is quite natural. Picking up your granddaughter should not be too much strain. It will take a while for the muscles in your neck to build up. As they come back, you should gradually have less pain and be able to do more.

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In Spine-health’s Doctor Advice section, physicians respond to frequently asked questions about back pain issues. These responses represent the opinion of one physician, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the broader medical community. The advice presented has not been peer reviewed by Spine-health’s medical advisory board.