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Is this normal 8 wks out from ACDF?????

MelWMMelW Posts: 427
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:30 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am about eight weeks out from my ACDF (C5&6) and am still having pains. As of today my spine from the top of my neck to about half way down my back is at an eight out of ten pain wise. Is this normal? I want to call the doctor but I have called him several times for the last few weeks complaining of my pains and he seems to think most of my complaints are just healing and keeps telling me to hang in there. I unerstand he wants to hold off on any additional treatment if it is not necessary but I feel like I am falling apart right now!!! :( I have taken two and a half Norco and has not even touched the pain....


  • I'm also 8 weeks post op. I too, have severe pain and I'm back into pain management. I had an ESI done last week and I'm hoping to get another one soon. The ESI brought the pain down to a bearable level for about 2 days.
  • Hi again. Let me preface what I'm about to say with the fact that I'm NOT a doctor and didn't sleep in a Holiday Inn last night, so this is strictly my opinion.

    Eight weeks post op is still early in your recovery. What you're experiencing sounds like me still, six months later. The back of my neck aches like crazy and I still have wicked muscle spasms in my back. At my last appt with my surgeon in January, he pointed to all the places that could possibly hurt, and he pointed to the back of my neck, my left shoulder, and down the middle of my back. However, only you know if you should call your surgeon.

    As a reference, please see the link below:


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  • this makes me feel sad and hopeless since your 29 like me...

    Im at a loss of words but I hope you feel better...
  • hi Mel,

    Sorry you are in so much pain. I really think you need to contact your doctor as i think something is wrong. That level of pain this far from surgery is not right. Your doctor can order some test and check things out. I have a three level fusion and have only had that type pain when something was going wrong with the hardware. I hope you start feeling better soon. But please call your doctor and get into see them. Everyone heals different but that level of pain at this time mark is not a good sign. Good luck and keep us posted.
  • It does take a long time to feel better after ACDF. I am wondering if you are taking any kind of a muscle relaxant, because this could be spasming. But if you are having that kind of pain, I do think you should follow up with your surgeon. My philosophy is he can't help you if he doesn't know what is going on. when you call I would suggest asking if they can squeeze you in for an appointment with the doctor. Sometimes we have to be pushy with this, and it sounds like that is not your nature, but I have found that sometimes the only way to get results is to be proactive in my own care. Call your doc and let them know how bad things are.

    Good luck!
    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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  • Thanks everyone! I have an appt with the pain management doc on monday. He is going to give me some injections and discuss pain meds to help adjust them so I get more relief. And I have my followup on May 11th and will be getting more x-rays so we can see what is going on.

    And like I said before, I in no way regret having this surgery. I think back and I would still have it again if I had to, not that I want to. i have a lot of faith in my doc and his team and I know they will do whatever they can to get me back to bring able to function without so much pain.

    JKDE302 - I have read several of your posts and just want to let you know that things will get better and if you need anyone to talk to feel free to PM me. I thought some of the same things you did, still do sometimes, but you have to think it will get better for your own state of mind. I sit and think all the time that I can't believe I have had to go through half of the stuff I have and am only 29. I had my first son when I was very young, got married and had my second son when I was still pretty young, had my gallbladder removed when I was 17 due to 9 large stones, lost my brother in a car accident and a good friend of mine at the age of 18, and in the last year my mom moved away to AZ and my sis, who I am extremely close to moved away to Massachusetts. And on top of all of this I have had to deal with over the last year, I have a heart problem I have to deal with on a daily basis. I just keep telling myself that I am getting all of my health problems out of the way so when I am older I will either be fixed and as good as new and can enjoy retirement health-problem free or will be one cool a$s bionical, titanium-filled grandma :) LOL You have to try to stay positive to some extent or you will lose your mind. i am not telling you this to make anyone feel sorry for me, not at all, just want to let you know that crappy, horrible things happen and you have to see the positive or you will drive yourself insane.

    Oh and I am going to talk to the PM about muscle relaxers, i really hate taking them because they make me feel so blah but if they will help I am willing to. I will let you all know how it went when i get home Monday. thanks again for all of your responses!
  • I have great success with Zanaflex as a muscle relaxer. It is short acting, so it doesn't stay in your body as long. It doesn't give you the zombie foggy feeling.
  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,786
    I think you will find that there is little "Normal" after an ACDF (or two+). Your body as had insult added to injury and will take a considerable amount of time to heal.

    Don't make the dumb mistake I did after my first ACDF and jump back into work- life after 12 days like nuttin happened.

    Do that led toward the failure of the first surgery ... another year of pain and 4 surgeries to stabilise mucj up of the first.

    One word of advice .... CONVALESE!

    Prayers and good thoughts comming your way,

  • I think that is what my problem has been.... after the first two weeks I pretty much went right back into the swing of things and am paying for it now... I backed off at work and the doc cut how many hours he wants me to be in the office. We will see though, who knows. i guess if I messed something up there is not much I can do about it now other than hope I dont have to go through it all again. With the way insurance is now, i don't know how I would afford to have to do it again, which is one thing that really scares me, being screwed up still and not being able to afford to go for round two to fix it.

    I will let you all know how tomorrow goes with the PM doc. Have a good one. :)
  • MelW - I am almost 4 months Post op from a 3 level ACDF and I really did not begin to feel "better" till about 3 months after surgery. And right now I am pretty much pain free. I just started Physical Therapy Friday and I am still a little sore from that!!

    So hang in there relief should be there soon!!
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