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Questions regarding 3 level fusion

dschmidt56297ddschmidt56297 Posts: 32
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am having a 3 level fusion on Dec. 30th and will be off work for 3 months. What can I expect after the fusion surgery? How hard is it to go up and down the stairs? What about showering? Will my arm and pain go away after the surgery? Thanks


  • Welcome to Spine-Health. You'll find a lot of articles and videos that can help you understand the procdure you're having (I'm assuming it's an ACDF?) and the members of the forum are very supportive and knowledgeable.

    I also had a 3-lvl ACDF (C4/5/6/7) and had to wear a hard brace for one month post-op. Before surgery, I had tingling and numbness in my right arm 24/7 and severe pain and weakness in my left arm. They were all gone when I woke up from surgery.

    Overall, my recovery experience was not too bad, the first week was a bit painful and I was very tired, but was up and walking after the first week (meaning therapeutic walking to help with fusion and recovery).

    I had no problem with stairs post-op, even with my hard brace, although I went slow and held on to the handrails, of course. Going down is a bit harder as you can't really see where you're going, so take that even slower than going up.

    Showering post-op - I could take off my brace for that only and I sat on a shower stool while my hubby showered me and washed my hair. Because I couldn't bend my neck, I just covered my face with my hands while he washed and rinsed my hair. It was very helpful to have one of those hand-held showerheads, it made it much easier on my hubby. I was able to shower on my own after one month when my brace came off.

    The brace was a bit difficult to get used to, but I took comfort in it as it reminded me not to bend or twist my head. I had to wear it 24/7 except for showering and slept in my recliner for the first couple of weeks. Then I was able to sleep in my regular bed upstairs.

    I had my mother-in-law taking care of me for the first three weeks, although two would've been fine and I could've possibly even gotten by fine with just one week of help.

    The main thing is that once you start having good days, don't overdo it. It's very easy to think you're doing fine and are now able to do things you shouldn't, so make sure to stick to your restrictions for the first three months or so, or until your surgeon tells you otherwise.

    One more thing - for the first week or two, take your medications as prescribed to keep ahead of the pain. Once it gets ahead of you, it's hard to get back under control.

    I hope you have a quick recovery, mine wasn't bad at all and I hope yours is the same. Feel free to ask any questions and PM me if I can help you in any way.

    Take care,
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