Although I am 6 months out from my c6-7 ACDF, I still suffer from daily pain, aching and sleep issues from pain and aching. Some days are better than others and I have faithfully kept a pain log to see what makes it better, what makes it worse. Stress is horrible for pain. I am a RN in a Trauma ICU, so it is very physical. Some days I come home and think my God, I hurt so bad. I have good days and bad days. I was not promised a rose garden free of pain when I chose the surgery. I was having pain so debilitating I could not function and would rather have died, I also lost use of my left triceps. I refer to my pain log to see that indeed I have made progress and I have come to the conclussion, I may never be "pain-free", but it is better. I also realize that the possibility of having the level above or below is there. I take each day as it's own. The forum allows me to see others too are not perfect in their recovery. If you are having severe depression and are on an antiseizure med, check it out, I became suicidal on gabapentin.
Have faith, believe and take it one day at a time. Sometimes, I take it one minute at a time. I am grateful to be able to be at work. I use alternative medicine: massage, myofascial release, reiki and magnesium, calcium, vitamin D and Omegas. I follow my surgeons instructions, as he is the expert here. Sometimes, we have to take and put mind over matter. Meditate, be kind to yourself, allow yourself to grieve the loss of health, seek alternative health options, seek counselling. Do whatever it takes. I live each day with gratitude that I am at least somewhat better and am hopeful that one day I will stay in my comfort zone.
As far as addiction, that is not what most people with chronic pain have, they are dpendent upon the drugs, it allows them to function. I use robaxin for my muscle spasms as that is what generates most of my pain, the narcotics, they rarely help, I might as well drink a cup of tea.
Be patient, nerves are slow to heal. That graft will take a year to heal and the nerve was damaged. I am not being pollyanna, I am trusting that I will have the best possible outcome that I can. I hope the best to everyone that has had spine surgery, because honestly, I never knew this kind of pain was even possible and I have been an ICU nurse for more than 30 years. UNMEASURABLE pain is not how people would chose to live and no-one understands it, unless they have suffered it.