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Continued pain post op 7 wks

Hi Everyone,
Im new to the forum and just looking for some understanding.  7weeks ago I had cervical discectomy and fusion C4-6.  At 4 wks out my Dr told me I could go back to work and pull on 400lb patients.I was still having severe spasms in my neck and they kept me on pain meds and muscle relaxers and then instructed me not to drive.  I worked in a cardiac cath lab and have to take call 15-22 days per month in addition to working 4 days per week.  We lift heavy objects including patients, do CPR and a lot of other strenuous activity.  I don't feel very supported by my NS and continue to have pain in my neck and intermittently radiating down my left arm.  I have since had to resign my job.  I am better and continue to improve just not at the rate my Dr thinks I am suppose to.  Am I crazy?  I'm 54 yrs old not 24 and my body isn't healing as fast as it use to.  My NS only ordered 1 session of PT.  I'm frustrated and so is my husband.  i have not taken pain meds for several days now except tylenol and advil and i have been off muscle relaxers for a week or so.  I'm struggling to sleep, tossing and turning, waking up in pain.  At this point I feel like Im just crazy.  My sister n law had the same surgery and she says I'm doing too much.  I really don't know what to do,  i am seeing my primary care DR in a couple of days and go back to NS in about a month after I get x-rays.  Anybody have any thoughts on this matter.  I welcome all opinions at this point 


  • hi, terri!

    wow...i couldn't imagine lifting 20 lbs after surgery--let alone 400!!!! four weeks does seem a bit soon for that kind of activity!  i don't have experience cervical spine surgery (i'm a lumbar fusion recover-ee!), but i do know there are several members on here who do.  one of our moderators, @bruce eitman does, so i'm sure he'll be able to offer more helpful insights than i can!

    i'd like to welcome you to spine-health!  please click on the following link for some helpful information to get you started!

    welcome to spine-health 
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,510

    Welcome to the forums.

    I am a bit shocked that your NS approved you to lift that kind of weight.  Even at 7 weeks you are very early in your recovery - I am 9 months, and don't think that I am ready to do that kind of lifting.  I know that if I did, I would have some discomfort or pain the next day or so.

    It is not clear what activities you are doing now, so I will take your sister's word for it that you are doing too much :)   Take it easy, let your nerves, muscles and bones heal.   Get up and walk, it is so good for you because it will help strengthen those neck muscles and get blood flowing.  Avoid the lifting, pulling and pushing.

    I still have trouble after pulling a suitcase around an airport, but I am getting better every day.

    Let us know what you are doing that might be overdoing it.


    Read my story at Bruce - My Story
    ACDF C4-C5-C6-C7, and getting better every day
    It has been a process of healing, learning, exercising, and resting - and figuring out when to do which.

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  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 606
    I agree with the others. I can't imagine you being able to lift that much, that soon after surgery? 
    I am 55 & worked as a certified nursing assistant for many years. 
    My surgeon told me that I'll never work in that profession again. There's just too much lifting. 
    Is there some form of light duty that you can do there first? Just to see how you'd feel? 
    Also, I'd like to comment about you taking Advil. I would talk to your surgeon to see if you're allowed. It's been said that ibuprofen can affect your fusion process. 
  • coachesturfccoachesturf MassachusettsPosts: 13
    Sounds a bit weird IMO.  I am 3 weeks post op and no strenuous activities for at least 2 more months at my next follow up.  Sounds a bit like a workman's comp doc, IMO
  • I am 3 months and 1 week post-op and I return to work this week in the medical field. I have a weight restriction of no more than 20lbs and nothing over my head ! The Advil comment is a concern for me - I was told no NSAIDS for 6 months!

    Good Luck !

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