Surgeon said the surgery went very well and they released me from the hospital the next evening.
The recovery for me has been pretty rough because of severe pain between my shoulder blades that then travels into my shoulders and down into my elbows. It is happening less now but when it starts in, it gets pretty bad.
I finally let my docs up my pain meds because I just couldn't handle this kind of pain.
Swallowing is rough at times as well. But slowly all is getting better.
And this collar is a PIA! They gave me one to shower with. But after the first time, I just shower without one. I am very careful to keep my neck in a neutral position as well.
Also whoever posted to use a silk hankie inside the chin area of the collar, I can't stress enough what a great idea that is.
Anyway, I just wanted to check in and let everyone know I am doing well. And my pain is under control and I'm doing better.
Severe Stenosis thanks to C4/5, C5/6 and C6/7 herniated disc's into my spinal cord.
That is woderful news! I had ACDF sugery on the 23rd and am going through not terriable pain but it sounds the same type as yours. I keep saying to my mother that I think they hung me by my shoulders for my surgery.
So glad you are back on board and everything you say is going on is pretty normal, as painful as it is. I am so glad the silk hankie is working for you. I think I am the one who suggested it. Mine was my best friend when in the collar. It does feel so good. If I got hot I would sit very still, undo the collar on one side and let cool air go over that silk. After a few seconds I would strap the collar back on and that silk was so refreshing.
It seems a few people that had surgery around your time had some awful hospital experiences. I am glad you didn't have any complications.
What I was told the position they put you in on the operating table will put stress on your shoulders because they need to pull the shoulders back. This allows the surgeon to get at the neck better and tightens up the neck muscles.
I'm not sure if anyone has told you this, but there are a number of things to consider that will cause pain as you recover.
First is the nerves that were pinched take some time to recover. You should see a difference in the level of pain from these, as if they were pinched, and now are not, the pain should be less severe.
Second, the nerves may have been moved around a bit during the surgery. This can cause more severe pain for a while, but will settle down as time goes by.
The thing about the nerve pain to keep in mind, is that it should be very gradually getting better, if it isn't, or is getting worse, then you want to let your surgeon know.
The third pain which is common with this surgery is muscle spasms. You need to be careful to not be confused by the spasms, because they will feel very much like the original pain. You need to take the time to massage around on your neck and shoulders and see if you can find the spasms. You should feel tight muscles. Sometimes when you massage them you will feel the pain in another area. This is because the spasms are putting pressure on the nerves.
It's really important to try and get the spasms under control, as then you will be able to be sure that the nerves are healing.
You should be applying hot and cold packs alternating 15 to 20 minutes each. Don't do this constantly, but wait a couple of hours between if you can. I found muscle rubs like Ben Gay helped too. It's important to get to the source if you can, which should be somewhere in your neck. The reason is, that if you have a spasm in your shoulder, it could be caused by a different spasm in your neck. Treating the neck first, then the shoulder, will most likely releive both of them much faster. I wish I could explain this better, but if you probe around, you should be able to find them.
Muscle spasms will be a continuing problem as you recover. Stay on top of them and you'll do fine. I still get them every once in a while when I over do things.
I talked to my surgeon yesterday. He seems to think from my description of this pain is it is nerve pain and it is normal after decompression of the spinal cord to have this type of pain.
What is scary is he couldn't promise me it would go away. He says he hopes it does. Apparently this pain could stay. I was told this is a possibility.
I have read of others that still continue to have this pain, most don't though!
So I am hoping it will subside.
From my experience, the pain should not be cause for concern. I awakened with a brand new pain that felt as if a red hot railroad spike had been driven into my upper back. Typically, the pain radiates out to the shoulder blades and beyond. Time is the only medicine for long lasting relief. There can be some ups and downs along the way but those nerves very rarely do not settle down over time.
"Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out. That is what it is for." George Bernard Shaw