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cervical fusion

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,082
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I just had a two level cervical fusion done on the 10th of December.....could anyone tell me how long this pain lasts?
I'm new to this board so any feed back will be appreciated.
Thank You,


  • Wow, you're not very long out from surgery. I have the same questions as Eve.

    My surgery was Oct. 21 and I still have pain and muscle spasms (although different than before surgery and better than right after surgery). I'm still taking Hydrocodone and Flexiril when necessary, but almost every day. I met with my surgeon last week and he said it is very common to still have pain this far out and to expect it to continue all the way through PT in late January.

    That being said, everyone is different - this is just my experience.

    Take care of yourself and take it easy!
  • Welcome to the forum,

    For me the worst pain was the first two weeks after surgery and I expected the pain to be bad after surgery so I was prepared. After that the pain retreated but to be honest I have not gotten the recovery I expected. I am having pain and spasms in my shoulders related to my neck and pain in the back of my neck. I also have a very achy feeling in my right arm. That said I am still HAPPY I had surgery. I had spinal cord compression at two levels and crushed/compressed nerves that caused me pain and numbness in both arms/hands and fingers. Today my left hand, arm and fingers are great with just a tiny bit of numbness in my thumb and the very tip of a few fingers and the numbness in my right hand is a lot less then it was. My physical therapist says that we should be able to work out most of the shoulder stuff and hopefully most of the nerve related pain with resolve in time. My surgeon told me going in that some of the nerve damage may be permanent and I might have a lot to do with that since I delayed this surgery for over 8 years and until one herniated disc became 3.

    Back to you.......my guess is that on a day by day basis you will begin feeling better so hang in there.

    Disclaminer.........I am not in the medical field and the opinions I express are just that my opinions.
    kimmyg said:
    I just had a two level cervical fusion done on the 10th of December.....could anyone tell me how long this pain lasts?
    I'm new to this board so any feed back will be appreciated.
    Thank You,
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  • Thank You for your input.....it helps so much when other people know what your going through and could give some hope. I don't know what I expected but I definitely didn't expect this much pain. I'll be ok and then out of the blue, I'll get either a sharp or burning pain.......I'm so afraid to move my head. Do any of you wear a collar? if so for how long? I go see my Doctor on Monday and I have to get x rays done before I go. How long before you were able to go back to work? Go for therapy?
    I have so many questions, so whatever you want to tell me about your own experiences would be great!
  • Hello Kimmy,
    I am new also but want to tell you that I wore a Philadelphia collar for 3 weeks after disc replacement surgery. I think you have to wear one longer after fusion (not sure though). Sorry to hear that you are in such pain. Have you tried any meditation and visualization techniques? I know it is very difficult but to envision your favorite place and activity and relaxing can be very soothing. I also would keep my mind busy by visually walking through my childhood home and taking inventory of everything. Sounds weird but it kept my mind off of the pain. Aromatherapy with spearmint,lavendar, and mandarin helped with anxiety.

    I began light PT the day after surgery and then more full body workouts 4weeks out..continue with more strenuous ones every few weeks. I really want you to feel positive and keep optimistic because that is what will help you get through it. Hope you get something from my rambling.
  • I am 8 weeks out from my C5C6 ACDF and I just wanted to let you know it will get better. I was in severe pain for the first week or so after surgery - worse than before surgery. I was pretty doped up on hydrocodone and valium for the first 10 days or so and couldn't really get comfy to sleep. My neurosurgeon did not give me a cervical collar to wear post-op. He explained that the instrumentation will stabilize my neck better than any external fixation anyways. I was sent home the day after surgery and told to rotate, flex and extend my neck (slowly and carefully) in all directions. I had a lot of muscle spasm pain in my neck and shoulders for that first week and besides the pain meds, heat, ice and massage really helped. I found that the more I moved my neck (especially under a hot shower or warm rice bag) the less muscle pain I had.

    I couldn't eat solid food for about 5 days, and then I started slowly and washed everything down with plenty of water.

    I was back at work part-time after 2 weeks (still pretty drugged up, though). I was able to slowly lower my pain meds and was working full time with limited duties at 4 weeks. Right now I am off all pain meds and feel almost normal most days. I can sleep on my stomach and have great ROM with no pain.

    I just had my 8 week post-op appt and I am fusing great. I was given the thumbs up to lift up to 50 pounds and my NS said I may even be able to be skiing by Feb or March. At this rate I should be able to return to all of my normal activity after 6 months, which includes lifting at work, ATV riding, skiing, horseback riding and whitewater rafting (which, BTW, caused the injury in the first place).

    Needless to say, I am and advocate for the benefits of surgery. My experience has had some down moments, but I have never regretted the surgery. Hopefully you will feel the same way soon. Good Luck!
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  • Thank You so much.......this is VERY encouraging.
    I was actually eating pork chops by the 3rd day, though it still feels very weird to swallow......I guess that gets better with time too.
    The thought of being off all pain meds is so out of reach right now but I'm so looking forward to it. I wanted to know if this pain I'm feeling is indeed normal, but I see it is. I'll just have to ride it out and be patient and know in the end.........I'll be feeling much better because of the surgery.

  • kimmy
    here i my 4 wk post op and what ive been through

    4 wks post op acdf level 2

    well its been 4wks since surgery and doing great as far as i read im one of the lucky ones. since i didnt know of my problem until july this year.dealt with arm pain and shoulder pain for several yrs. after surgery yes my throat was burning,shoulders and neck were in severe pain.(due to the position they put you in for the procedure) couldnt swallow. but from reading all info i expected it. this wasnt a 100% fix nor a 1oo% pain free fix.when i woke up in recovery my mind was already racing with fear and i started moving my hands and feet to make sure they worked and they did. once i got in my room i wanted water and continued drinking a lot of it to sooth my troat. swallowing food was hard. forced myself to do it though. was up walking after a couple of hours and wasnt going to sit on my butt the whole time. first week was rough sleeping slept sideways against recliner back until neck wasnt hurting as much.by the second week i was able to sleep on side with the pillows leveling my head with back. mind you i have the hard collar on. third week i was starting to walk every other day and since i walk 10+miles a day being a mail man it felt good to walk.i still dont push it though. no lifting more than a milk jug i have been active all my life its hard resisting to do things. i know this is a long healing process and i have to except it. no matter how stir crazy im gonna get.
    i will tell people who have neck pains, back pains and arm pains that dont go away in time or with physical therapy should get it checked out dont ignore the pain like me or most of the people in here. ignoring it is the worst thing you can do. if i had checked this out several yrs ago i might have saved a disc who knows. if you have to have surgery go in with your head high dont fret or worry. to the point of a panic attack. being nervous is normal. just before i went into surgery i started to make jokes with docs and nurses. it breaks the ice and relaxes me. im satisfied with my outcome and was surprised i had more problems with my body due to my pinched nerves. i sensitivity loss in my hands and feet. arm pains in both shoulders and arms to elbow. severe leg aches and wobbly legs causing me st stagger. also severe muscle twitches everywhere.
    after surgery most pain gone left arm has some since i had pain there for several yrs. legs dont hurt,and sensitivity is back.so dont think the worse. in some cases i can understand there is no pain relief. everyone is different and cant judge anyone with the pains they have or had. you yourself knows what you have wrong. let your doctor know and take action and dont wait. i myself plan to go back to work get back with my life and keep my head high no matter what. hope i didnt bore you with my rambling, but when no one is around to listen. i have my computer
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