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c5/6 ACDF

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,082
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:35 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi I am new to the forums. And I just don't know if what I'm going through is normal. Here is my story. In Feb. of 2008 I got into a car accident. A 96 year old man ran a stop sign and smashed into my car. I spun around in a circle and a half and then smashed into a parked car. I herniated my c5/6. The doctors made me go through everything before they decided to do surgery. So June 1 2009 I had surgery. The surgery went really good. I no longer have the pain and numbness down my arm. I do have pain on the opposite side of my neck. I don't know if that is normal. I am now 3 months post op, and when I try to lay down and sleep my neck on the opposite side and all across my shoulder blade area hurts. I can no longer take sitting up and sleeping so I am trying to force myself to lay down and see if it goes away after awhile. I am so very thankful that my pain is nowhere near as bad as it was. But sometimes I wonder if I will ever get back to my normal self again. I haven't slept in my bed since the accident. My life has been a nightmare since the accident. I have been reading these message boards for about a year and it is nice to know that there are people out there that have been through the same thing. Thanks for listening.


  • You're still early in recovery so hang in there. What are you using for a pillow? Are you using a therapeutic cervical pillow. I found it very hard to sleep on my side for quite a while afterwards.

    Best wishes to you,

  • You are totally normal!!! :O) I know you don't feel it, because I have been there! ~X(
    I had mine done April 28th & didn't have a clue as to what to expect for the post op - just that it would take several weeks. Well, WRONG, it took several months - FOUR MOS. - but its all good now. The worse pain was in my shoulder blade, like you, it was killing me! Felt like a charlie horse for months. Used ice 1st, then heating pad for 4 mos! Didn't think I would ever be normal again. It was depressing as heck, because I did start feeling less pain after a few months, but the shoulder area was scaring me really bad, as if something went wrong while recovering. I finally went to therapy where they used tens unit & ultra sound to calm down the muscles in my shoulder area! They were so TIGHT! It was unreal actually! Like a brick! After 5 trmnts, I was normal again. They say my muscles were mad from having been disturbed, but eventually will settle down. Did you have anterior or posterior? Mine was posterior(C5-6) Very painful post op! :''( made me cry alot with muscle pain!
    Maybe want to consider therapy. I learned to go there from this forum. I didn't get a good nights sleep until after therapy - it worked for me & hopefully you too!!!
    >:D< big HUG to YOU
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  • I didn't know it was going to be this hard to lay down and sleep after. I can't lay on my back or my side without it starting to hurt. I am using just a plain feather pillow. I didn't know if i should get a special pillow or not. The doctor didn't really tell me much in what to expect he just said your done bye. Does anyone have any recommendations on a good pillow to use. I am so lost i don't know what to do. Thanks
  • Mine was anterior. Sometimes it feels like my shoulder blade area is on fire. Its like a burning really sore hurting pain. I do have a tens unit. I tried it before my operation and it seemed to make it worse. So I stopped using it. I never thought to try it again after. My doctor said I didn't need physical therapy. Do you think it would help? I went through physical therapy before my operation. They tried everything to get it to calm down before finally doing surgery. Thanks for listening.
  • Sounds like you must have went to the same surgeon. JERK! Didn't even want to see me after surgery - not ever. Nothing for pain! No PT. ( Wished I'd known he was such a jerk! Had to go to family doc for post op) The "fire" you decribe is what I felt too. The only thing to stop the burning pain was ICE 24/7, went on for about 6 wks it seemed. Couldn't do ANYTHING without ice on me! Not even sit, lie, or even talk without it. It burned so bad. I just kept it numb, I guess. PT say 'cause muscles were split & torn away - makes sense now. Then I used heating pad 24/7. My doc told me before the surgery that I wouldn't need PT either. But he also told me everything fine in 2 weeks. sheesh what a liar! I went to PT for almost a year before having this surgery, nothing helped, not even the injections. The surgery was an awesome success, no more PAIN in the arm!!!
    Hope you get some relief quick!!! I know it hurts so bad!!! I wouldn't try your tens, but see if your reg. doc. will prescribe PT for you & let them help you. I don't want you to mess up & further your delay in healing. People in here say it takes 3-6 months to recover & it sounds right on the money!
    Take Care - Good Luck - Hugs
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  • hi again, this is the pillow i use, hope its ok to post this....https://orthopedic-products.medical-supplies-equipment-company.com/product/ppf/id/10468/new_prod_full.asp

    ice/heat is helpful too. ice on for 20 every hour or two helped me.

    take care,

  • hi, I did another MRI after, it shows more complications. C6/C7 in 2007, now it's going to be c5/c6. So try MRI if pain last that long, Happy Health.
  • Hi I just wanted to let you guys know I got a new pillow. I have been using it two days. I don't know if it is working yet because my neck and shoulder blades are still really sore and hurting still. I think that once they calm down the pillow will do great. I am just taking everything one day at a time and I will make it through. Thanks.
  • One day at a time. All my surgeon said was "do whatever it takes to get comfortable". I don't think anything, not a pillow, no nada, will make it comfortable. The pain is all from the disturbed muscles. I have never experienced this type of pain. I used to think I could handle alot of pain & would not have a problem with this operation. If it weren't for this forum here, I would have had it even rougher! When I compare todays pain with months ago, it's like an annoying tooth ache & I take 1/2 a vicodin & it's all good. I hope to be off these in a week or so - that and the PT. I am finding that the heating pad is going to have to go! It has been by my side since the end of April. It gave me much relief & comfort. Try ice & heat for comfort. There's nothing in the world that can speed up your healing, so just try & make it comfortable as possible.
    Hugs to all of you & hope you feel okay today!!!
  • the pain is as bad as before surgery or in a different place, please ask your doctor to do new tests. I had an ACDF C5/6 June15th, and I had some relief from the burning shoulder blade on my right side and tingling in right arm. But my left shoulder and arm started hurting/aching, like a raw nerve, worse at night or if I did too much. My surgeon, at first, sent me to PT, I did two sessions and couldn't handle it. I made an appt. and went back to see him. Luckily he had me do a new MRI, which showed some nerve compression, then I had to do a myelogram/CT. It showed the dye wasn't going thru the left side at C4/5 and I had a badly herniated disc there, and we found out that my C6/7 was severely degenerated bone on bone and my C7/T1 had a bulging disc too.

    So don't dismiss pain after postop if it's been a few weeks or gets worse or changes places. Make a special appt. and go back to your surgeon. It doesn't hurt a thing to make sure that things are healing, fusing, hardware is good, and all is well. I know that nerves take a while to die down after they are hurt. I even have a lesion at C4/5 on my left nerve root, so I know it's going to act up for a few more weeks.
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