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ACDF surgery 4 days ago

hilojannahhilojanna Posts: 28
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All,
I had my acdf surgery 4 days ago, and it went pretty well. Still sore from the surgery and have a stiff neck, but pain and tingling in the arm and shoulder seems to be better.

I was able to get out of the house and do some walking today. And also had company for dinner since it was Mothers Day.

I am still taking 2 percocet every 4 hours, and was wondering for how long I would need to be on painkillers?

Thanks for all your help and input!


  • I wouldn't be concerned at this point about taking the percocets. You are fresh out of surgery and this is to be expected.

    Everyone is different. Some do really well and don't take pain meds longer than a few days, others need help longer. Something to keep in mind is that by controlling your pain, you are keeping yourself from tensing up, and this helps you to heal better. Often doctors prescribe a muscle relaxant along with the pain medication. I think taking this does more benefit than the percocet, and together it is a really good combination for post op care pain. At least it was for me.

    My advice would be to try not to rush things. Give your body time to heal, and if your doctor becomes concerned about how long you are taking percocet, he will tell you.

    How is your throat?
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Welcome to Spine Health! Sounds like so far you've been a success, with a lessening of your symptoms. You're still so very early in your recovery, though, only 4 days out, and it's a very individual thing as to how long you may need painkillers. Just the pain from the actual surgery will keep you on them for a bit longer. Also, you will have nerves and muscles hurting and "waking up" for a while. All part of the healing process, and it all seems to take FOREVER, but these things can't be rushed. Just listen to your body, and don't overdo things. You'll get so tired of hearing this, but you've had a very major surgery, and your body needs time to recover from it! You may only need the painkillers for another week, or it may be another month. If you need them, take them! Your body will heal more effectively if it's not in a huge amount of pain.

    I'm glad you got the chance to have company for dinner on Mother's Day! Hope you had a wonderful time :)))

    Good luck with your recovery, sounds like you're already off to an awesome start. Keep us posted on how you're doing!

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  • Give yourself time to heal and take your meds. A cervical fusion is painful just due to the amount of swelling and tissue movement they do to get to the disc spaces. Sounds like you are doing great, but don't overdo. I'm the classic overdo-er, so I've had to do alot of self-talk and give myself a break.It would seem that after a week or two, you'd just be healed, right?, well that's not so true for a fusion. It takes quite a while, usually for fusion to set up and you don't want to move anything around too much that will upset that process. Pain meds can make you feel like superwoman, when underneath it all, you still are healing, swollen, and having pain that you don't feel. I got into the habit of taking my pain meds so that I could do housework/laundry or more than I should have been doing at a particular time, which hurt me in the long run.

    My new surgeon prescribes pain meds for about six weeks or so, my first surgeon on my lumbar surgeries prescribed them for the whole 6 months between my two surgeries since I was still in so much pain. So they are all different in their methods.

    I've read on here some folks actually were able to stop taking their meds after about 3 weeks after an ACDF, and that's great. It's all different for all of us. Talk to your surgeon and you two together come up with your own meds plan. I wish you good luck and continued healing on your new fusion.
  • Thank you all for your info! It really helps a lot to hear from others.

    I guess i am using the pain meds to "overdo" it also, and I should take your advice and just take it slower. I guess that's just the way I am, so I will try to remember to take it easy!

    My throat is very sore still. Feels like I have a huge lump stuck in it, and it is still hard to swallow.

    My doctor hasn't given me a timeframe on when I'd be back to work, so I was a little concerned about my progress. How long before you all went back to work?

    Mother's Day was nice, but the day after, I was super tired and slept most of the day. Guess i overdid it! =)

    Thanks all!
  • on the back to work thing! I don't work, haven't been able to in over 7 years now, due to several medical conditions. Hopefully after this next one is fixed, I'll be able to again!

    So, now you're 5 days post op. At that point in my recovery, I still hadn't moved to the bed, as I couldn't breathe well laying down due to my lump in my throat. Had a hard time swallowing my pills, and just about everything else that wasn't liquid. My voice was pretty much non-existent, which I think my husband probably misses LOL!

    You probably have your date for your first follow up visit with your doctor. You should discuss what your time frame for going back to work should be at that time, as well as any other questions that come up. Make sure until you go to that appointment that you do NO bending of your neck, up, down or sideways, and the classic no bending-lifting-twisting, just to be safe. Boring, but probably a good time to catch up on some reading or a good television series! You don't want to overdo it and have to recover longer than necessary! I wasn't allowed to drive until 4 weeks into recovery, due to not being allowed to turn my head. WOW by that time I was getting stir crazy, my husband works 3rd shift, so I had to be quiet during the day so he could sleep, then hope that he felt like doing something before work so I could get out of the house!

    I know, all this sounds like a broken record, but healing takes time. Hopefully yours will happen well and quickly, and you'll be back to normal and feeling great before you know it!
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  • Hi Kat,
    I see that you have had a lot of medical procedures. Poor thing. I hope that you are feeling better these days.
    You are right tho, that I need to be reminded to not "over do" things. I think that that's just the kind of person I am, I want to do things myself. But after taking a percocet, I feel like I can do just about anything. So thanks for being a broken record to me, because I need to be told. haha.
    My throat still feels like it has a "big rock" stuck in it, and anything solid that I try to swallow has to get around that "rock", and it's hard. But at least I have a voice, and can speak, but not loudly.
    My doc didn't give me any instruction as to what I could not do. He just said, "don't go out and do any gymnastics" and "whatever I can tolerate should be ok". So I am just playing it by ear, and trying to stay still. Hard for me, I'm getting stir crazy. I even wanted to go to Target to pick up my prescription, because I was so tired of sitting or lying in bed for so many days! I have no collar to wear, doc said it was fine without it. So...
    Anyway, thanks Kat, for your input!
    Hope you are having a good day!
  • Hey Janna!

    So I am glad your surgery went well! Take the drugs if needed girl! I am pushing 5 weeks now and have been at work for about 2 weeks. I probably could of went back a week earlier but my doctor was on Vacation. 5 Weeks out I feel tired after work and have some pain in the back of my neck and lately a little vision bluriness (may have nothing to do with my ACDF), but really my recovery has been smooth! I would tell you to do what you feel like you can't and listen to your body. My doctor really did not give me specifics on what I could or could not do but just really listen to what your body is telling you and STOP when it says stop :)

    Hang in there! The throat will get better day by day, hopefully sooner rather than later for you! Keep us updated on your progress!

  • Just like my doctor told me, just think always positively and never feel depress.


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    Post Edited by Authority Member haglandc
  • Yeah, the "rock" really sucked, because you feel hungry, and can't seem to eat anything that sounds tasty, everything that goes down easy just seems to be liquid, and tasty stuff gets stuck! Glad that you have the voice, though. My doc told me beforehand that I would wake up in a brace. I didn't, and they released me without his coming back to talk to me. I wasn't going to argue, I wanted to go HOME!!! I had a very fast experience, from the time I was wheeled back to the time I got home was less than 4 hours, and that included an hour drive home. I called his office about the neck brace, and they told me if I felt more comfy with one that would be fine, too, so I got a soft one. It helped me to remember not to look down, as I had a tendency to hold my book down too far and bend my neck, rather than look with my eyes.

    Hope you're having a pain-light day!

  • Does ice cream slip down easily?
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