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Question about recovery time.

natekonnateko Posts: 10
edited 05/01/2019 - 11:06 AM in Recovering from Surgery

I've heard/read people say that,"Whatever you feel like one year after surgery is pretty much how you're always going to feel." Would you, in general, agree with this or would you say it can take longer? If so then what would you say is the cutoff point in months? I had my ACDF 14 months ago and while I'm grateful to feel 85%-90% better, I'd still like to know if there's room for more healing.




  • Nate, unfortunately recovery time is completely different among every person. To begin with are you talking about the fusion, nerves,muscles? All have different times. But in my opinion, at 14 months you should pretty much be at full recovery. I can tell you though at the 14 month mark, my surgeon tried a bone growth stimulator as a last resort to see if it would help the fusion fuse. It didn’t to say needlessly. I’m coming up on the 5 year mark and things are starting to head south, So after I get my knee fixed and rehabbed , I guess I’ll go and get a posterior C-4/through T-1 done. The joys of fusion surgery!....David

    P.S. Can you tell I just left the Doctors appointment?


    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

  • Thanks Dave, you answered my last question a couple months ago and I also got just got back from my doctor. 14 months ago I had a fusion of my C-5 C-6. I had mild hand weakness with tremendous headaches due to bone spurs. Now I have a level 1-2 pain 24/7 in the back of my head where the neck meets the skull. My doctor thinks it's muscular related. I asked that question to the nurse and she said about 1 year is the final result while my doctor said he's seen up to 2 years. I came on this board because, not to disrespect my doc and nurse's answer, but I felt a little more comfortable asking people whom have had the surgery.
    Good luck to you Dave, I wish you nothing but success with your next surgery.

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  • Nateko, the muscular pain you have in the back of your neck will come and go. You’ll have some good days and fair days and believe it or not, after awhile you’ll get used to it. Keep us posted and let us know how your doing? ....David


    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

  • Hi Nateko,

    I'm at about 16 months post C5-7 ACDF.  I think a year is about right - however, it is hard to say because things are always changing with your neck so everyone will be different.  In my case, I felt my absolute best 8 - 13 months out, but past that I've started to develop a little bit more "arthritis" type pain at the higher levels in my neck.  But who knows, frequently people find that as the body adjusts and puts down a little more bone in the joints, the spine stabilizes a bit (as long as the bone doesn't press into nerves) and the pain actually gets less.  So it's possible at year 2 I'll feel even better than I did at year 1....

    All this to say it's just very difficult to say for any particular patient, because the process of normal wear at various levels takes all different forms, some of them causing pain and some of the degeneration can reduce pain over time.  If you are keeping up with good posture and some exercise program, I would think there is a good chance you can work out some of the remaining pain over time...


  • I'm at 8 months for a MD and if this is the best I will ever feel, I am okay with that. I feel great and I do everything I can to feel great, but without jeopardizing my spine. Do I pound the pavement running? Nope, not a chance, but I do other things to keep active.

    Of course a MD is minor to what many others here went through surgery-wise

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  • Androo and Kevin, thanks for your info.

    I had a surprisingly long talk today with one of the surgeons who operated on me over the phone. He's pretty open with me and doesn't keep things so vague like some doctors/surgeons legally have to be, we even spoke a little about Avengers: Endgame, heh. Anyway, I asked him about recovery time with some saying 6 months, 1 year, 18 months, 2 years, etc. He told me, basically, that 1 year is the general healing time but it can take longer for the rest of the body to adjust which is why him and my other surgeon say 1 to 2 years and a lot of the studies he's read in surveys say that most of the patients are reviewed 2 years after surgery. He then essential told me what you said, Kevin, about the neck  always changing but in different words.
    On a different note, one thing I forgot to bring to his attention was whenever I raise my eyebrows to the top completely, boy, do the muscles in the back of my head get tight along with my trapezius muscles. Have any of you had this problem?

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