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February ACDF surgery?



  • No back pain! I have a 5 inch horizontal incision from my navel to my left side, and the surgeon closed the skin with glue. Never heard of that! The inflammation under the incision is very large - like a fat sausage under my skin - yuk! I also have pain around the incision and stabbing side pain, but the nurse on the phone assured me it was normal and to stay on the muscle relaxers and pain meds until my follow up appt next Tuesday.

    I've been working remotely from home since 4 days post op and resting between computer sessions. My biggest problem is the darn midwest snow! I can't walk outside and I'm tired of walking circles around the dining room table! We're going to borrow a treadmill this weekend so I can walk better.

    How are the rest of you doing?
  • Hi
    Am 7 days post op and my main problem is having trouble with sleeping. My consultant insists that I wear a foam collar 24/7 for 6 weeks and am finding it impossible to get comfortable. Have tried laying on a V pillow, on just one ordinary pillow and laying flat on the mattress but it is the not being able to lie on my side that is the real problem. I wake up every morning with a terrible headache and sometimes pain across the base of my head. I'm worried that this is damaging the implant!
    Wonder if anyone has any tips (Have asked and not allowed to lie on my side till the collar comes off)
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  • FrancineSFFFrancineSF Posts: 318
    edited 03/03/2013 - 6:25 AM
    I also could not sleep in my bed initially. I was wearing a hard collar for 6 weeks - and it was definitely something I would not mess around with removing when it comes to sleeping.

    I could not lay flat in my bed for about 6 weeks or so - it would trigger the nerves and cause some burning sensations, so it was clear that was premature - and I immediately adjusted to something else.

    It did take me some time to find my rhythm with sleeping with the collar, no question!

    Here are a few things I did:

    1) First while - I slept in my recliner. When that got old, I switched to the next option -

    2) I moved to my sofa, but moved one of the sofa cushions against the arm of the sofa so that I was elevated at an angle. I took my sleeping pillows and put them vertically against the sofa cushion just to make it cushier and more comfortable.
    That worked well for a little while.

    3) Then, I gradually moved to my bed, with the same sofa cushion, leaning it against my head board at a significant angle - almost sitting up, with a few of my sleeping pillows over it just to make it softer.

    That worked really well for me. I am fortunate that with all of the traveling I do, I am able to sleep sitting up in airplanes, so it served me well here.

    You may want to try those options.

    Also, if you really cannot sleep - Tylenol PM may help. Since it needs to be Acetaminophen and not aspirin (if fusion was involved) that might take off just enough of the edge for you to get some sleep.

    Good luck to you!

    10/26/2012 ACDF C3/4 C4/5 surgery
    No pain; no pain meds - thank goodness!
    04/01/2013 - 5 months + 1 week - FUSED
    Doing some physical therapy for even better range of motion
  • Have you tried arranging your pillows so that your being propped up. Maybe your just not going to be able to sleep flat yet. How did you use to sleep before the surgery? try and get as close to that as you can without creating pain.
  • was ok I was told, as long as I kept my collar on. I usually cannot sleep on my back. I did in the hospital due to all the drugs but once home and in my recliner and then my bed, I snuggled on my side.

    4 level ACDF completed on January 3rd.
    I developed an infection which required reopening the wound on January17th
    Looking forward to life without as much pain!
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  • countyfanccountyfan Posts: 61
    edited 03/03/2013 - 9:55 PM
    Just want to say thank you Francine, Tammy and Penny,
    I did use to lie at quite an angle on my pillows, before the op but for the first few days home this really hurt at the back of my head. However I think I might have found a sort of compromise, thanks to your ideas. I have been been using the V pillow with an ordinary pillow on top and then 1 pillow either side, to extend the V, hence supporting my arms. Although I still wake with the pain at least once a night, can usually take a couple of tramadol and get comfy enough to go straight back to sleep!
  • Thanks for filling us in with your solutions.
    I am glad that you are starting to get some rest.
    I did have to position the softer pillows under my neck/brace rather than my head because I felt pressure against my head when I didn't.

    So glad you're making progress! :)
    10/26/2012 ACDF C3/4 C4/5 surgery
    No pain; no pain meds - thank goodness!
    04/01/2013 - 5 months + 1 week - FUSED
    Doing some physical therapy for even better range of motion
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