I am almost 4 weeks post op (ACDF C5-C7). Since I had the surgery, I have had trouble swallowing things like larger size vitamins and I always have a feeling like I have a lump in my throat. It feels like a small pill is always stuck in there. Its not bad, by any stretch of the imagination, but I was wondering if anyone knows why this happens? Does it go away ever? Is it swelling? I am really curious as to what this is. (not really worried).
I recall a similar feeling after ACDF - takes a while to iimprove. My surgeon explained it as some pressure from the plate, plus scar tissue that forms, and for awhile after surgery there is also some swelling. When I asked him if it would go away he said - 'you will get used to it'.
I am almost two years since my most recent ACDF, and I still have that sensation to some degree, plus sometimes there are muscle spasms in my neck that make it feel like I'm choking. And sometimes I really do have trouble swallowing. Nothing like a big crisis or anything - I believe it is part of the new 'reality' for me.
Never the less, it might be good to mention it to your surgeon next visit, just in case!
It is pretty common to have tissue swelling for several weeks after the surgery. Also those are muscles in there that move the food down the esophogus. They can get moved and traumatized during the surgery and have difficulty with little things. As certain consistencies go down your throat they can feel stuck. If you really had a pill stuck you would know because it would cause a choking sensation. At least for me when the pills really do get stuck what happens is I start an automatic gag reflex and it doesn't stop until I push it back up. If you notice your pills are moving slowly - drink fluid first to wet the tissues, then take the pill with lots of fluid. Or alternatively you can take it with food like pudding or applesauce.
Do you notice this with other foods or just the pills?
I still have problems swallowing large pills (my calcium). I have to break it up in several pieces. At first I would have to crush them up in order to get them down. Some food still causes a strange sensation in my throat on occasion. Seems if I am tired or spasming I have trouble talking and swallowing. I am 9 weeks out.
Most of the time I am fine..but this weekend I ate a slice of pizza and that is the toughest food I've had since the surgery well I didn't notice it at the time but all day Saturday I kept feelling this odd sensation in my throat like I had eaten a handful of seeds and scratched my throat ( I actually did this years ago... I ate like a huge bowl of pomegranate seeds which have like little sharp ends and scratched my throat didn't go away for days!!!) well it wasn't painful just irritating.. I ate nothing but yogurt and cream soups the rest of the weekend and it is fine now.. guess this means I need to eat softer diet from now on?? bdancer
Oh this sounds too familiar. I am 8 weeks post op and still have the feeling of a lump in my throat when I swallow. I have to admit the first 4 weeks it was annoying but It does get much better. I still have problems swallowing meds now but I just break them into smaller pieces. So you are not alone lol.
I had quite a bit of problems with swelling after surgery, I was put on another steriod pack for 6 days and then after that wore off and the swelling started again I was put on Celebrex. I'm now better, but it took probably a good month and a half or so.
See all the things people (including me) forgot to put on the "post surgery list"?
You're probably getting tired of hearing this, but the pill in the throat feeling is also a common one. Some people do end up with the feeling being permanent, but for most it is temporary. "Temporary", however, can mean anything from days to months.
I'm about 9 months post-op now and I still occasionally get the feeling, but it's pretty rare and only when I've done something to aggravate my neck, which leads me to believe that mine is tied to inflammation.
4 months and I still suffer that symptom once and a while. It doesn't matter the size. It feels like its stuck. Then, I do the cat with a hairball for awhile. I still can't get rid of the feeling! It doesn't bother me, it makes me realize that I'm a human. Who just went thru surgery..
I guzzle a lot of liquid to make sure it really isn't stuck!
Remember I am the one with true swallowing problems and speech due to the vocal cord paralysis. I have learned quite a few tricks which can help you with the "hairball" stuck pill sensation.
I learned these from speech therapy.
Lower your chin and tuck it in when you swallow and using a straw helps.
Drink tons of water and knock off all the caffeine. It dehydrates you, and doesn't do all the throat irritation any favors.
I do simple tongue exercises which have helped tremendously.
There are many exercises for swallowing issues and one or 2 sessions with a speech therapist for "Dysphagia" may be quite helpful. If have a persistant problem,I am sure your surgeon or primary care doc will give you a RX for a speech therapist.