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Post-op 31 days--update on how I feel ACDF C 4-6 Titanium plate and screws! Questions ?? Over-did it

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All :H

I just thought I would post a little update!! And, a few questions here!
It was 30 days post of yesterday Oct the 3rd since my 2 level ACDF at C 4-5 and C 5-6.

I am now up to about 3 miles a day that I usually do in 3 sessions 1 mile at a time.

An unseasonable cold weather system has decended upon us starting yesterday and dropped our temps from the low 80's to the 50 or low 60's

There has been wind and rain, which we have had no meassurable amount of rain in a long time. I live in partial desert arrea with wooded mounttains above and around me.

Anyway, I wanted to get my walking in yesterday before the weather and I walked all the 3 miles at one time! Shame shame on me! I did sit down durning the 3 miles at least one time for about 5 minutes.

I totally justified it because I was not walking fast kinda just strolling.

Where I live there are many elderly people who all walk. so I walk with them at their pace sometimes. as was the case yesterday for 1/4 of the toal 3 miles.

I also feel the weather effects my pain does it yours!!! All my bones are achey and my muscles are achey today.

Since my surgery I have been doing pretty good. The left sided neck pain is gone and there has been no arm weakness to really speak of. At least not like before.

There has been a lot of right sided neck pain that is deep inside. I had right sided pain before surgery but not quite like this so I don't know what to make of it yet. I also get some weird sensations on that right side that I never had before.

I think this Aspen collar causes me some pain as well that I may confuse with symptoms of my neck issues.

???? Did any wone experience pain issues they thought were from their neck but once they were out of a hard collar the pains went away??

My next PM visit is on the 13th and the next Ortho visit is on the 14th of Oct.

At the next PM visit I just dont't know if I am ready to go down on my meds yet. SOme days are real good and I do not take the full amounts and other days are still bad and I take the full amounts.
The good thing is that I am seeing pain levels down in the 3-4-5 range for hours at a time, which is something that I have nod had in a long time so I take that as a good sign!

??????I might be starting PT after the Oct 14th visit with ortho so should I wait to go down on meds until after I start PT ?????
The only drug I want off of is the valium, because I feel I can manage the spasms with something a bit less stronger

?????--How many times a week did your doc order PT for ACDF recovery??? I know every doc is different, but just wondering....
???---and were you able to drive by the time you were sent to the PT=???? Big deal for me because trying to get rides to the PT could be a problem. Hmmmm any ideas.

Any how today is an especially high pain day and I am planning to just stick in doors until the rain goes through.

hope to hear any suggestions or thoughts from those of you who have done this surgery before me!!



  • 3 miles at a time, is prob not the best idea, first of all your arms are down and swaying the whole time and it just plain a long walk at one time for someone who just had thier neck totally operated on.... I did the same thing... do small walks, its not worth the pain when you overdue, it takes forever to get back to a comfortable level again...I over did last week and I am still paying for it.. I am in the same collar as you are.. I have to be in it for 3 months and then wean off.. Pt will be after my first 3 months,... besides walking... I go for my 1 month check Monday, its actually been 5 weeks, but Im still taking all my meds too, and by nighttime If I dont take them right I hurt way to much, plus I have to use the stimulator, and it hurts to wear it.. not sure if its the weight of it or what............They went through my back and did a laminectomy and fused, 3 disc,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Good luck to you and dont overdue,, you so dont want to have to do this again.......
  • Hi Crissy,

    I am just about 2.5 weeks post op for ACDF C3>C6. I'm not even up to a mile yet with walking but I am trying to walk every day. I have no collar which is scary and I think makes walking more difficult. My doctor does not use collars and says not to worry the hardware will hold my neck in place. I use a bone stimulator 4 hours a day. Everyone always says we are all different and we are so we can't judge our results by others. I am telling you this because I am taking no meds. I had reactions to all of the pain meds they tried and I decided I would be happier without taking them. This is not to say that if pain becomes unbearable I will not decide to take meds. I have pain everyday but I think because I have lived with pain for so many years I am able to deal with the low to mid levels of pain without meds (I really can't remember waking up to a pain free day). Not taking meds has some real perks. For instance I don't have to deal with the constapating effect of pain meds. I also don't have to deal with feeling somewhat out of it. Of course I do have to deal with the pain but I have been managing with ice packs and a heating pad on and off. I had my wound check last week and the doctor was real happy with my neck (I think its ugly as sin). He wants me to start PT in mid Oct which will be just one month after surgery and before they check to see if fusion has started. PT will be 3x a week for 6 weeks. I might have to take meds at that point.
    Good luck to you and I hope you feel better soon and heal great.
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  • Hmmm, you must live near me, stormed all night. I am in the Central Valley. Maybe that is why I am having more pain, or could be my brace weaning. Probably a combination of it all. You take it easy and hopefully these storms will pass and give us a break. We need a chance to adapt to it all. >:D< Sue
  • Yes yes and yes!!!!!

    Ok did you all se TerriJV's Post. I have not had a chance to post there yet or read alot of the replys but will later.

    Ok So totally will NOT do the 3 mile thing again. I am not super woman.

    And as for today well the weather is still funky and colder than normal so I am feeling yucky from that! I just can't get warm.

    This morning I woke in a lot of pain and took my meds...felt well enough to walk (only 1 mile slow)and then later after that I did some light house stuff like make bed, fold about 5 dish towels and hung up a few clothes in my closet. I read my home work for a whiel and felt really abad so I took break through pain meds and a valium and took a nap for an hour.

    When I got up I was scheduled to take my mid day dose of morphine sulfate and totally fogot. DAH!!!

    So now it is 5 pm and thank God my Mom decided to come today instead of Sunday because I am in way tooooo much pain to make any dinner or clean up.

    nNow I have nothing else to do but deal with it.

    I am Venting now.
    I am sick of my collar because it is hurting my chin bones (mandible) and I am achey and have burning type feeling on the backs of the tops of my shoulders--about the level of the brace. My neck on the right side is hurting badly today and sometimes I don't even feel the dumb brace is helping but I know it is.

    OK>>>>I am done now.

    I know some of this was my own doing and some is not. I have been on stupid pain meds for ever!!!!! And I strongly dislike those too.
    Cyndie--I had a psoterior foraminotomy at 2 levels in January and I feel for you! That was a terribly painful approach to get to my spine!

    This surgery ...ACDF C-4-6 was slighly less painful afterward and I was able to go home sooner, but I really need to remember to take a 1-2 hour rest everyday even if I do not sleep at least I am laying down.

    My Mom is gone all week and I am here by myself all day everyday...I got schoolwork to do, but the little odds and ends things I need to take care of on my own like pick the dirty clothes up in the closet and living room if I have let thigns go. My dishes I have been putting in the dish washer and the putting them away. I eat very lightly until mom comes and cooks a real meal.

    Ok I am totally just babbling...something I do when I am in big pain!!

    Anyway need to take some BT's then going to TerriJV's thread!!!

  • Chrissy, I'm actually having some trouble remembering my post-surgery days, but I do remember that PT worked at lot better after my pain meds ere increased. I definitely would not lower them until you have been in P/T for a while. I just can't remember much about the fatigue. did PT with two separate physical therapists, the first wasn't very good. I do recall driving to PT, just can't remember if I drove from the beginning (6-8 wks post surgery) or if it was a bit later when I started driving/ I *think it was in the beginning.

    I'm really happy to hear your you're having pain levels as low as 3, though Im' sorry hit's higher than this too. I think I went 2-3x/week.

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  • Hey everyone,
    Thanks Confusa for your thought about the PT and driving. I a not sure if the Ortho mentioned anything about the driving after the next visit but he did say that the potential to go from the hard collar to the soft is a good possibility. Appointment is on the 14th of Oct and the day before that i will see the PM so I am not mentioning anytihng about going down on meds. I think waiting untill after the PT starts and then re0acessing where I am as far as pain goes would be good.

    Do you all have the ups and downs with your pain Post-op???

    The meds I am on now are pretty close to what I was on before surgery. SO since I was disharged and come home from surgery I have gone back to the dosages I was on prior to surgery. I seem to have better coverage then before surgery with this amount of meds, meaning I can get that pain knocked down in most cases from a high level to a lower level,and stay there somtimes for a few hours or more but I do still get the high levels that kick my butt!

    Last night my mom and I were doing somethig for about an hour at the dining room table and it just set me off!!!
    I was in sooo much pain! I think part of it wa because of the sitting and then also a missed dose of my long acting med.

    The worst time is in the morning. I am still waking up feeling like a mack truck slammed into me.

    Does anyone else that has had this surgery feel like that at 4 weeks post op??

    Not to get started and concerned about new things being wrong with me, but the fact that the deep burning pain that is near the base of my left scapula and close to the spine has returned i just wonder what the heck that is?? Now there is a documented "POSSIBLE" hemangioma there around the T-7 area, but that does not have anything to do with the accident. I do not know what a hemangioma is or can cause symptom wise when on the spine. Could it be someting other than a hemangiomA?

    Anyway, I will not be outside walking my tree sessions today. My mom and I are going to church and then possibly to the grocery store and another store either today or tomorrow morning. Not real sure, but I really try to not walk on Sunday unless I am unable to get out
    Well gotta go take a shower
    As for todays pain I got it down from the morning 8 to about a 5 right now, but the shower and drying of my hair always steps it up a little bit.

  • Chrissy,

    For whatever reason, I just can't remember much about the time right after my surgery - I recall that I was in a lot of pain. My pain levels are bouncing around a lot right now which *isn't* normal for me! [at this point]. I think the hardest time was when I took the collar off and had to start moving my neck - I had been in a brace for months and my neck had been [mostly] immobilized so my neck did NOT want to move! I'm really sorry about the fatigue. I know you must be worried about whether or not the surgery "worked," -- this may also be contributing to the fatigue. But, really, I think that a major surgery and the healing afterwards takes so much out a person that fatigue is to be expected. I know I wasn't trying to do anything else at that time and I spent A lot of time in bed. I think I get mixed up because I had my accident and then almost 6 months passed before I had my surgery - plus it was over 3 years ago and I just can't remember what happened when.

    Try to get plenty of rest, healthy food....I'm sure this is news to you! ;-)
  • I hope your pain levels are down, and your recovery gets easier. I was hoping to learn more about neck surgery. I've now committed to having what I belive you would call ACDF @ C5-6 & C6-7. At the same time the doctor will take care of the right hand carpal tunnel. I have time to get used to the idea since it is scheduled for Jan 7th but I am very nervous. Any advise you can give this newbie would be greatly appreciated. I'm currently on-site for work for 2 weeks and the "kids" (the 30 something) are making sure I don't lift anything etc. I'm used to being the doer.. not the one being taken care of... this will take some adjusting.
    Take care... Kate :S
  • Hey all,
    My pain levels are still up and down. I guess it is just part of the deal! I seem to wake up feeling pretty badly and then I take my meds get to fdeeling better before I go out and do my first walk of the day.

    This morning I walked 1-1/2 miles. Usually I go to my college class on Monday afternoons but it got canceled so I felt fairly good last night.

    At this point I have not felt to fatigued for the last two days but I do much less walking on the days my Mom is here. Well I not sure if it is less walking but the walking is different. Walking outside for the recovery as aposed to the walking in the grocery store or something.

    I do notice that when we were in a clothing store, that putting on pants and taking them off a few times really sent my pain up! I guess it is a good thing I needed new pants! I had only one pair htat was fitting becaue with all the walking I have not really lost a whole lot of weight, but maybe and inch or what not in the waist and or legs and tummy area. hey works for me.

    The thing that still concerns me most is that I have all the right sided pain. I only had the right sided pain on and off before surgery and and it did not burn and now it gives me buring and achey sensations.

    I will bring all this up to the doc when I see him!

    I hope others are feeling well!

  • Wow~ you guys, I feel very lucky. I'm 4 weeks post-op ACDF C5 C6 C7. My Dr put in synthetic disc and titanium plate with 6 screws. I was in a collar for 11 days and then started PT. I did PT 3 days a week for 3 weeks and I will start back to work on Thurs of this week. I had a lot of shoulder blade pain since having the surgery, but it got better daily. I still have some minor pain when I over due it but it goes away with a little heat and muscle relaxer. I do still have some swallowing issues. Occassionally food will get stuck, so I always make sure to have water handy if I'm going to eat something. Overall, it has been worth it; after being in pain for 8 years. I'm a nurse, so I know you have to always be aware of what you are doing and positioning will definately affect how you feel at the end of the day.
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