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Paresthesias and nerve recovery after ACDF

Hi All - this is my first post here. This is a great forum, and the info/experiences of other patients were extremely helpful to me when I was diagnosed and needed to learn about ACDF surgery.

I am currently 16 days postop from ACDF for severe spinal cord compression/myelopathy, I had a "huge" disc herniation at C5-6, with bone spurs and stenosis above and below, so they did C4-C7, with donor bone, titanium plate and screws.

Preop, I guess my case was a little unusual: Over the course of about 8 weeks, I started having numbness and a little weakness in my right forearm. Then I noticed numbness in my right foot...then my right leg...then both legs...then I began having trouble walking. I had absolutely no pain. My primary dr suspected MS, ordered an MRI, and referred me to a neurologist.

The neurologist said nope, definitely not MS -- but a big problem in the cervical spine. So I saw an orthopedic spine surgeon. By then (about two weeks) I was using a wheelchair and my husband had to help me sit and stand. The surgeon said he'd seen gait abnormalities in pts with DDD, but never anything this severe. He speculated that perhaps the disc herniation had occurred fairly rapidly, and resulted in more of an injury to the cord than a slowly progressive insult.

At any rate, I'm post-op now, and recovery has actually been way faster and quite a bit easier than I anticipated. 24 hours after surgery I was able to take steps (!) and except for being just tad bit off-balance, I'm already walking as well as before all this started.

The reason I'm posting today is this: even though I'm walking, my legs have stayed fairly numb. But two days ago I started feeling a pins and needles type sensation in them. This would be great (and the surgeon says its a good sign) if only it weren't so terribly, *intensely* uncomfortable.

I've been increasingly up and about since the surgery, and feeling remarkably well, considering - but this sensation is just awful. Suddenly it's hard to be functional at all, and sleeping is darn near impossible.

Has anyone else experienced this symptom? How long did it last for you, and was there anything that helped?

Thank you for any comments or suggestions!
Herniated disc C5-6 with severe spinal cord compression/myelopathy, ACDF C4-C7 May 15, 2013


  • LizLiz Posts: 9,518
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
    Here are just some of the highlights:

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    - Under the Resource tab, there is a section Doctor Advice Health Center which can be invaluable.

    - As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here is where you can meet thousands of other people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family who provide comfort and the advantages of a Support System. You are now part of this family that is approximately 20,600 International members and growing daily.

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    Here are some you should take a look at:
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    All of this will help make your threads better and improve the times and quality of responses you will receive.

    If you have any questions or need assistance, you can use the Private Message facility to contact any one of the Moderators on my team:






    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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