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recovery time for truck driver

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi, I am worried about how much recovery time will be necessary after acdf surgery. I was involved in an accident 18 yrs ago and have had neck/back issues since. Finally got to the point where the wife made an appt to see an orthopedic. MRI showed herniated disc with osteophytes pressing on nerve root. Spoke with chiro and they refuse to treat me saying could worsen the problem. Had 3 injections with no results. My OS suggested acdf of c5-6, but first wanted discogram done to be sure of stability above and below area of fusion. Discogram results showed a severe annular tear in c4-5, so OS suggested fusion at that level also and scheduled surgery for June 19. I can handle pain as I've been dealing with it for the past 18 yrs, but has gotten to the point that I am spending my entire weekends doped up with Vicoden and Flexeril. I have severe pain at base of neck, shoulders and between shoulder blades radiating down to right elbow and right hand gets numb and tingling in pinky and ring fingers. Have had a pretty active lifestyle with 3 children (8, 6, & 4 yrs) and I just want my life back again. I am worried about recovery time as I need to be back to work as soon as possible (6 weeks?). Also, I am a truck driver (local, home nightly) and cannot take meds with narcotics or muscle relaxers while on duty for obvious reasons. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Sorry this is so long, just am kinda spooked, never had surgery in any form, and the thought of having neck cut open and someone digging around my spine is more than a little unnerving.
Also, anyone know how long and often I will have to wear the neck collar, as I obviously can't be wearing it while driving truck.

thanks for any/all replies, God bless.


  • spinal fusion, not neck. I would imagine :? your doctor would be the best one to ask on this, as he/she is probably more familiar with what the norm is. :B My husband is an otr truck driver and he has a $2,000.00 air-ride seat so that I think would make a difference too, what kind of truck you drive and how comfortable it is and do you have alot of extra mirrors to help with backing up etc... Anyways, good luck!
  • jac42, I just had 2-level acdf and was told to not drive for a month... I've read that it's a matter of your overall health and your surgeon. Sounds like you've got some long term degeneration which, thinking positively, means you have an opportunity for big change in your quality of life. As for you being spooked, that was me too. Now 3 days post surgery, I am so glad I did it. Relative to pre-surgery I feel great actually (that's with percocet :) The worst for me was thinking about it beforehand - I just had to remind myself that I did my homework beforehand and to let it ride. Good Luck!
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  • gc-yeah, that's what I keep telling myself, that I crossed all bridges and tried everything else until it came to this- SURGERY! I always kinda thought of myself as bulletproof, but as bodies get older, bones don't bend like they used too, etc... Oh well, posts like yours do make me feel more confident that everything will be fine. Supposedly the surgeon I chose is one of the best or so I'm told. The orthotist who fitted me for the Aspen collar said he has worked with him for years and if he needed it done, "that's who he would go to". Makes me feel much better. So now I just keep on counting down the days and praying it'll all work out. Wife told me the other night, imagine you, Mr Big Burly Tough Trucker actually scared of something! I just gotta laugh sometimes, and remember everything will work out fine.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement, God bless and good luck to you.
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    Hey Jac,
    I know how you feel, but if you are going to continue to drive and work, you need to get repaired. Just like that truck we need maintenence also. I'm 20
    months post-op of a major overhaul of C3 thru C6. Different Dr's require
    different healing time so ask lots of questions. Lifting weight I'm sure is also a big part of your job so don't over-do it and ruin your outcome. I learned the
    hard way after my first spinal surgery to listen to Dr's orders, fortunately no
    long term effects. So after I had my second spinal surgery I did as I was told and my recovery went well.
    PM me if I can be of any help and oh yeah, I'm in MN also.
    Take care ,
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