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Old 12-26-2006, 01:56 PM   #1
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How long after ACDF before I feel better?

I had my ACDF (one level, C5-C6) in early November. I really don't feel any better yet, and I'm getting discouraged. How long does recovery take from an ACDF?
My pain from the surgery itself has diminished quite a bit (no more sore throat, but still difficult to raise my head when lying down) but the nerve firings that drove me to the surgery are still there. I'm still not sleeping well at all and I can't stand this much longer without some hope. Lyrica is helping some, but it's not enough.

 
Old 12-26-2006, 04:44 PM   #2
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Re: How long after ACDF before I feel better?

Hi, I had the same surgery... only difference is I don't know if you had a bone graft or if they used a cage.. which shouldn't make too much difference anyhow. I had mine in early November as well. I still have some issues with inflamation in my throat it seems and left arm heaviness, I also get some various symptoms that come and go. Everybody is different and everybody can heal in different ways and at a different pace, I think its WAY too soon for you to start getting discouraged, after all, this is major and very sensitive surgery and we've only been out around a month and a half at that. Give yourself a couple more months or more.

have you expressed your concerns with your surgeon though? I had some new symptoms following my surgery, and because of that mine ordered an MRI and CT of the c-spine in addition to the follow up xray, just as a precaution to make sure things were okay... everything came back good and sparkling clean

So I guess if the symptoms are the same as what you had before surgery, be sure to communicate that, but as long as its nothing NEW, just give yourself time, your nerves could just be aggitated from surgery. Have you had another CT or MRI yet?

I hope that things get better for you soon, keep us posted

Last edited by PearlDoves; 12-26-2006 at 04:45 PM.

 
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Old 12-27-2006, 01:35 PM   #3
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Re: How long after ACDF before I feel better?

Depending on the extent of the surgery, and the length of time you were in pain before the surgery, will have a big effect on the length of time it takes for the pain to subside.

If there were nerves that were pinched, it can take a while for them to recover.

The one question I would ask "Are you having muscle spasms?"

Many times the muscle spasms will seem very much like the original pain, maybe even worse. This is very common in ACDF. If you are having them, you need to get them under control, before you will get a true assessment of where your pain is at.

Dennis

 
Old 12-27-2006, 02:04 PM   #4
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Re: How long after ACDF before I feel better?

OOPs, Sorry TiredHopefulMom. I thought I read you were having one level done when in fact your having two.

In that case I think I would want one, just in case!

 
Old 12-29-2006, 06:12 PM   #5
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Re: How long after ACDF before I feel better?

Dennis is bang on with the muscle spasms, especially at this time( 6 weeks post op) If all went well with your surgery you should start to feel better in the next month or so. I felt great by month # 3.

I am at 5 and half months and am back to doing EVERYTHING I used to do with zero pain.

there is hope.

Hang in there!

Happy Healing and Happy New Year!

 
Old 12-29-2006, 07:17 PM   #6
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Re: How long after ACDF before I feel better?

My ortho used donor bone with a titanium plate. No collar, no physical therapy, no nuthin. I had my second post-op appointment yesterday, and everything looks good, he says.

I'm not sure I can call what I experience "muscle spasms" or not. I get various jolts, shocks, twitches and other neuro symptoms. I can't find a good medical-sounding word for it.

NYD -- I'm so glad you found relief. I hope I can be the voice of experience one day to tell someone else it's going to be OK.

 
Old 12-30-2006, 04:27 PM   #7
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Re: How long after ACDF before I feel better?

I am amazed at how many folks on here have plates without a collar. Did your NS give an option? or what was the reason for the hardware route rather than say own bone/donor bone with a collar?

I'd be interested to hear about that.

Thanks.

 
Old 12-30-2006, 06:10 PM   #8
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Re: How long after ACDF before I feel better?

The ortho never mentioned a collar as an option. Immediately after surgery he said I had no restrictions on movement as long as it was comfortable. The X-rays at 1 week and 7 weeks showed everything in its proper place, so he's happy.

 
Old 12-31-2006, 08:48 AM   #9
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Re: How long after ACDF before I feel better?

HopefulTiredMom:
Your Dr. sounds like my ortho-spine surgeon. No collar, probably no PT. Do you live in in Denver? LOL
I havent had my ACDF c5-6 ,c6-7 yet. I was supposed to have it on Dec.21, but it got postponed due to a blizzard. I will finally know this Tues. when the make up day is. (for sure in Jan.) I dont have any myelopathy. I have alot of spurs and degenerative disk stuff, and some pinched nerves. (and bulging disks). I have been very lucky in that I havent had horrible neurological symptoms. I just have some numbness in my hands, mostly when I sleep. Supposedly one hand is from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and the other is C7 radiculopathy. (one pain Dr. told me that I had Carpal Tunnel in the left hand and the radiulopathy in the right. Then I got a 2nd opinion with a neurologist and he told me the direct opposite....using a nerve conduction study and a EMG test). Go figure. I have yet to get a definitive diagnosis on that. WHATEVER.

 
Old 12-31-2006, 11:57 AM   #10
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Re: How long after ACDF before I feel better?

SKZ.

Wow. I have the same issue going on with numbness and Carpel. While my cervical issue is now resolved 100%. I still have the numbness and conflict over what it is. I will be getting the carpel surgery on my left wrist in a few weeks to see how it helps. I only get numbing at night time, but almost all nights. It is a pain waking up so much. My Neurologist and Carpel surgeon canot agree on what it is, but I'm pretty sure that surgery will help.

 
Old 12-31-2006, 12:05 PM   #11
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Re: How long after ACDF before I feel better?

NYD: Have you ever tried using wrist splints? 99% of the time I dont wake up from numb hands when I have these one. Otherwise, forget it....I wake up constantly. Those things are a life saver. Sexy, they not, though!

 
Old 01-14-2007, 06:41 AM   #12
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Re: How long after ACDF before I feel better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulTiredMom View Post
I had my ACDF (one level, C5-C6) in early November. I really don't feel any better yet, and I'm getting discouraged. How long does recovery take from an ACDF?
My pain from the surgery itself has diminished quite a bit (no more sore throat, but still difficult to raise my head when lying down) but the nerve firings that drove me to the surgery are still there. I'm still not sleeping well at all and I can't stand this much longer without some hope. Lyrica is helping some, but it's not enough.
Hi! I hope all is better. My husband had a ACDF C5-7 Sept '05 and he has had intermittant problems with muscle spasms. He says it feels like nerve pain or bone on bone pain. Sometimes the pain +/or spasms lasts 3 to 4 weeks then disappear. It happened 4 times since surgery. It usually starts when he has done too much with his upper extremities eg. pushing, pulling or lifting something too heavy & the onset is usually 2 days after the event has occured. The full body muscle spasms have awakened me at night. I have recently found that if he takes Flexeral, the spasms disappear and he is more comfortable. Skelaxin does not work as well when the spasms are really bad. When the spasms are controlled, he does not need heavy duty pain medications. If the spasms are not evident, & he is achy, generic tylenol arthritis does the trick and/or Valerin (formula 606, made by the Wonder Laboratories) has been a good thing. I recently read an article in the paper which indicated that recent studies indicate it may take two years or more before significant improvement is seen whether surgery for disc herniation is done or not. Sport trial (Journal of the AMA; Nov 22/29,2006). I have not given up hope although it it very difficult at times. Life is good when the pain is controlled. I think the key is getting the spasms under control early. It has taken me a year to figure this out. I hope my experiences help. Best wishes. Things do get better.

 
Old 06-01-2007, 05:22 PM   #13
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Re: How long after ACDF before I feel better?

Nothing is better for me. I have been waiting for some improvement so I could post a "hang in there it gets better" message, but that's not happening.

 
Old 06-01-2007, 05:57 PM   #14
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Re: How long after ACDF before I feel better?

I have empathy for you because I can't imagine being a mom while recovering from ACDF. I would like to know there is still hope... more time may be needed before you feel better. It took my husband a year & 4 months before the intense pain stopped. He has not had severe pain since December of '06. In fact, the amazing thing is that he is now feeling good enough to do all of the things he was doing prior to his ACDF...I never thought it would happen but it did! Yes, he has stiffness and has aches from overdoing it but, we all get achy from overdoing it. I rarely give him any tylenol arthritis because he needs to listen to his body and needs to take it easy rather than working like a nut. He still has some muscle spasms at night that make it difficult for him to get to sleep so I have given him the Valerin and sometimes the tylenol. So, even though you may not have had improvement, I think there is still a good chance it may come...give it more time. Remember, some people take up to two years before they feel better. Be good to yourself & know you are still healing!

 
Old 06-01-2007, 09:09 PM   #15
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Re: How long after ACDF before I feel better?

Hi HopefulTiredMom,

I'm so sorry you're not feeling better...yet. I am almost 10 wks. post-op ACDF, only one level. I, like you, had plate, screws, donor bone and no collar. It seems, if I remember right, your neuro symptoms were (are) crazy - almost secondary to the pain, right? Anyway...that would be me - the pain was/is awful, but the crazy neuro stuff is much worse. I had cord compression, which you had, right? I too am still twitching, tingling, jolting, basically my nervous system is so keyed up I can barely stand to be in my own body sometimes. Sometimes when it's really keyed up I can't fall asleep, or else it will awake me during the night - it's a very uncomfortable feeling. I still tremor (arms and/or legs) when it's really racing. I cannot associate this with my activity level, it just hits when it hits - mind you, it is ALWAYS there to some degree, just worse at times.

I am trying to look week by week and determine if I've seen ANY improvement. Some days I might say a little and other days or hours I might say zero improvement. So, if I have improved, it is so little and so slow it is hard to detect.

I guess I am just posting to tell you, you're not alone. I know my surgery was more recent than yours...but...I really think there's still hope. Please keep checking in and posting. The support is so important. I have three kids ages 15, 13 and 7. This has been a long, crazy road - I SO understand. I am still very sick, but am really trying to remain hopeful. I want you to do the same; we all need hope. I don't mean to sound dramatic; but, if anyone would have told me just how fouled up I'd get from this cord compression (somewhat assuming my symptoms are all related to that) I just never would have believed it. It's all been a very terrible and humbling ride. PLEASE keep us posted on how things are going for you. Well wishes, Mona

 
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