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6+weeks post op

kimmeamkkimmeam Posts: 149
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
It's been more than 6 weeks now that I had acdf c-5/6. Still feeling worse than before. I started P/T 4 weeks post op,surgeon said no more. As long as I do my stretches at home. At some point I can try massage therapy.
I have been working since week 2. First just 1/2 days. Now full blown 8-10 hour days. I don't have a strenous job but do have to be upright & "on".
I had a visit w/ surgeon last week after p/t left me cold & numb for hours. Xray looks as it should. Next will hope to see fusion starting. Still feeling more pain,but less numbness in upper arm, same numbness in wrist & fingers as before surgery. Reminded again 1 1/2 years to heal.
Now I have my husband whose friend had acdf c-6/7 2 weeks after mine. He went home the same day. He didn't have to stay on morphine pump for 3 days. He is back to work. He is doing fine. He doesn't take pain meds like you. I honestly believe that he thinks I enjoy taking pain meds. I have never been on pain meds for longer than a few days for dental work. Even though he has gone through this with me. What am I supposed to do. I hurt,I feel, I am in pain. I am in no way "getting high" on pain meds. I don't think my pain meds are very strong at all. It never takes all of the pain away but it does lessen it. I am currently on perc. 5/325. Now that will change to something that I do not have to physically go in to get. That's what Dr. said last week.
I have done my best to be strong. I have never been one to lie down & be sick. I admit this has taken it's toll on me. It's all I can do to get up in the morning to go to work & come home & basically make dinner & go to bed as I am unable to do much of anything else.I do not like what this has done to my life, I do not like what it has done to my family, I do not like to be made to feel like a junkie. I am confident that I will soon be better.
I do hope I can soon post a good post op. I'm sorry for the ramble.


  • If I were you I would request an MRI to see if there is a screw pressing a nerve root or something like that. The cold and numb thing after PT would concern me. I have learned by experience that I have to be assertive in my care. I used to try to be tough and just passively tell the doctors of my symptoms, hoping that htey would catch on and automatically delve into what the problem could be. But I learned that unless I am direct with them, they will overlook things. So make sure you are explaining your symptoms in detail and asking for further testing if you feel it is appropriate.

    It is normal to have some pain, and you are only 6 weeks out. But you know your body, and if you sense that something is wrong other than the normal healing, be firm as you tell your doctor. Given the fact that you are feeling worse than before surgery, I would think that the surgeon would be wanting to figure out why. If you are not getting any help, you could always ask for a 2nd opinion to make sure that your surgeon isn't missing something. Some people do heal rather quickly, but this is a big surgery, and your body will be tired for a long time. Working 10 hour days takes a toll on someone who is still in recovery mode. You said your job requires you to be upright. Is it a clerking job where you are standing all day? If you are standing and looking down, or using your arms a lot, this can lead to more pain as well. Also, if you are having muscle spasms, it will be very difficult for you to heal. Ask if you can have more PT with massage and electrical stimulation. I have a friend who had surgery about 5 months ago, one level but not sure which one. Her doctor just put her back in PT for massage, stating that because she has so many knots and is so tight, her body will never heal. You can learn the proper exercises to do at home, but the other aspects of therapy is just as important. heat/ice, e-stim, massage, etc.

    I'm sorry your husband isn't being more supportive. Take him with you to your next doctor appointment. Maybe he could even explain to your doctor how hard of a time you are having and the doctor may take you more seriously.

    If you get a new mri and/or CT scan and everything seems to be okay, then please don't be so hard on yourself. It does take time to recover. Oh, one thing I learned was that pain killers didn't really help, but a muscle relaxer does. You may want to ask about taking one routinely for a little while to see if that will help you recover quicker.


    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • You may want to ask for a TENS unit. I use mine daily, and it is the only thing that keeps me going sometimes. I don't take pain pills anymore, and so when the pain gets to me, I put the tens on and it helps me to relax those muscles causing the pain. They are fairly expensive, but for me it has been well worth the money.

    One word of caution though. Don't use while driving. I had mine on, somehow bumped the controls and it got turned up to the highest intensity--NOT a good idea when driving down the road! I was jerking and couldn't communicate to my daughter what the problem was. took me a few seconds to get it turned off. Nothing like getting zapped while driving; I won't make that mistake again!
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,347
    Cindy, I know the feeling... Now not that I have driven with my Tens unit, but many of you know mine was purchased in Japan and does not have any English symbols... So when I use it, I try to keep the same settings. But from time to time, I press another button and ZAP, I almost jump out of my seat.
    So, I can just imagine how that must be if you are driving.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hi kimmeam, I have not yet had surgery, however quiver to think that anyone would be strong enough to be back at work within 2 weeks.
    I am so sorry that you are not recieving the support you require, will be thinking of you and hope things get better soon.
  • Lol ron, can't imagine not being able to read the symbols.

    Yep, zap is a great word to describe it. It was like I had my hand stuck on an electric fence and couldn't take it off. But thankfully it was only a few seconds. Good thing I wasn't in traffic. Wouldn't want to go both zap and CRUNCH! Would that be driving under the influence--of electricity? :))(
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
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  • I can not believe you went back to work so soon, My doc had me out for 4 months with my first surgury, and my second is going to be longer,.,,, I do have a tough job though, but still, Your a strong woman.....
  • Today is the 7 week post op. It seems like yesterday but then it feels like forever. I was pushed by my employer (Optometrist) to return to work. We were short handed as the other girl who worked there quit the week after my surgery. He did hire a replacement but that is not working very well. I had to push to get back there.
    I do not like the lying around, resting, recovery part. I have pushed to do all that I can. My husband is very supportive. He is always telling me to slow down, rest & relax. I do get help & support. It's the pain meds that bother me. I think that he thinks I take them for fun. I have told him that I could not imagine not taking them. I know I would be much worse than I am. I even though about not taking them but then why would I want to do that to myself. Then I would have a real hard time catching up. It seems that I am always chasing the pain anyway, as the pain pills only help for a little while I eagerly count that last hour when it's getting so bad I can't help but recount the hours since my last one.
    I had xray after the p/t thing. It looks good.I have myofacial pain syndrome. Not sure I inderstand that. The p/t used a special massage technique & referred to a touch of a dime. I hear that my mucles are extremely aggrivated & the myofacial is a wrapping around the mucles. They have to be very careful during massage. The instant cold numbness concernrned me too. That is why I saw Dr.
    I will ask for muscle relaxers. I makes snese to me that if my muscles & myofacia are aggrivated it would prbably help to loosen them. The tens unit I have also thought about. When I am hooked up to it at P/T it did feel good. Then the pain came back harshly 1/2 hour later.
    I have appt. in 2 weeks to see GP for the first time. I do not have a GP so I think I need to see one to managed me through all of this. I do not like my ortho or his asst. IHe told me not to run out of pain meds, & call 2 days before they are gone. He would put me back on xtra strength vicodin so I wouldn't have to come in for rx. I called on MondayI had enough for 1 1/2 days. Still after several calls daily from me & the pharmacy I still do not have rx. Luckily I had some vicodin left over from last fiasco. It's time to get another opinion.
    It all probably comes down to me being hard headed & stubborn with the I can/will do it myself attitude. I would probably recover easily if I did not push so hard. Dr. said it's fine for me to work just be careful & not to overdue. I do better over the weekend when I rest much more.
    Thank you all for your kind words of support. We all do need it. I find it easier to "bitch" here. Because I know that you all understand because of your own personal experiences. If you haven't gone through this I don't know how you could understand. I really really appreciate your support & kindness!
  • My NS told me that if I quit smoking I would be in a soft cervical collar for 1-2 weeks. If I continue to smoke I would be in a rigid plastic collar for 1-2 months! Also he didnt think I would be out of work for more than 2 weeks. I however have not had sugery and do not think I am going to go that route just yet, but who knows I have one more test to do and then things may change.
  • so sorry hun that you are going through all that you are. 2 weeks back to work i am so surprised your surgeon even released you that fast.
    mine was 4 months for my cervical.
    pain meds are to control pain so that you can heal. and there is a HUGE DIFFERENCE between dependency and addicted.
    i think your family needs to become aware of this.
    without the pain medication your not going to recover well. plus all the hours working.
    i am in no way yelling at you , so don't take it that way. just to support.
    has your family got on these boards and read recovery stories?? sometimes that does help them understand a little bit more.
    my mom was the same way first surgery . "oh the pills" "oh mom pills this"!!! :D
    now im on my 3 rd spinal surgery and it has kicked in.
    don't ever try to compare your recovery with someone else's. not one patient is the same with any operation.
    i want you to hang in there girl.
    please don't push yourself. i would hate to see you go backwards instead of forward.
    at 2 weeks i was still laid up on the couch per drs instructions. 7 weeks was better but still so sore and only doing walking and PT that was it.
    so WE R HERE FOR YOU!!!!! we totally understand what you are dealing with.
    terri >:D< >:D<

    never heard of such a thing in my life. some drs yes will not operate on smokers. some advise you to stop before surgery, some advise you to try while recovery.
    never ever heard about the collar thing.
    i was a smoker and had a soft collar. i was able to remove it at my post op check up at 4 weeks. then started PT.
    i fused in 6 months.
    back to work in 4 months.
    all drs are going to have different perceptions and advice.
    i hope your test comes out well and you do not have to have surgery as that is the last resort.
    if your not happy with one drs opinion, and your able money/insurance wise to get a second opinion thats always the best route to go..
    hang in there
    terri >:D<
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