I had my C5 - C7 ACDF with plate (I'm a newbie and don't know all the correct terminology you all use) about five weeks ago. I consider the surgery absolutely a miracle! My severe pain, numbness and muscle spasms were all gone as soon as I woke up from surgery.
However, within twenty-four hours I started having hot flashes even while I was still in the hospital. For about three weeks I had about 15 of these a night and I'd wake up drenched and so hot I couldn't stand it. Then I'd throw the cover or sheet off and within a few minutes I had goose bumps and was freezing cold and I'd put the sheet over me again. Needless to say I was exhausted because I couldn't get good sleep.
I had low blood pressure while in hospital and they wouldn't give me my blood pressure medication while there and I hadn't taken it since I had come home and I thought maybe I'd best go to my PCP and have my BP checked. It was still low but he didn't have an answer for my hot flashes. (I had a total hysterectomy about seven years ago and have been off HRT for about a year and a half and had not been having hot flashes.) I called the NS office and asked and they just said to ask my PCP. I called my OB/GYN and they ordered an estrogen and thyroid panel. (I have Hashimoto's) All tests came back normal. At this point they all had no answer and just wanted me to start using a HRT patch again. I had it on for about five days but it didn't help. I really didn't want to do that as it makes me gain weight and so I took it off and haven't used them.
They have gotten better now that I'm five weeks out. I still wake up with hot flashes but not nearly as many and I'm not usually drenched in sweat anymore either. Has anyone else encountered this after surgery? I spent hours searching the internet for information and that is how I stumbled upon this website. There are only about four or five mentions of people having hot flashes/night sweats anywhere that I could find. So, even though I'm getting better I was hoping to help anyone else in the near future that has this same problem.
My best guess is that the surgery itself was such a stressor on my body that the stress thru my body back into a sort of menopause again and that's why I started having the hot flashes again. I did read somewhere about hot flashes and night sweats being associated with the sympathetic nervous system, but I don't know anything about that.
Another thing thing that I noticed after surgery was that the pain that I had in my shoulders that had kept me from being able to sleep on my side with my arm above my head was completely gone. I had thought that it was due to a rotator cuff injury and had been treated for that, but it must have been due to my neck! I'm soooooo happy now. I have read others mentioning rotator cuff problems along with ACDF and I wonder if the pain that is often blamed on the rotator cuff isn't really due to a neck problem. Anybody else notice that?
Thanks ahead for any additional information that you may share. I hope that this will help others as well as myself. You all seem so knowledgable!