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Old 02-05-2007, 10:11 AM   #1
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Walking after ACDF

I was instructed to walk soon after my surgery on Jan 10th. Luckily I have a really good treadmill at home. I had read on this board that someone was really regretful because they laid around and didnt walk after their surgery. I forgot who it was. So I have been walking a mile on the treadmill almost everyday. I started off VERY VERY SLOW and have worked up to about a 22 min. mile. Then I quit when I get that far. Its doesnt feel like a strain to me in any way. It feels really good, actually. It helps me be less lethargic feeling. My one question is this: Is it normal at almost 4 weeks to feel really stiff all the time? I am trying to figure out if the walking is adding to the spasms or are spasms just par for the course at this point anyway? Seems like a silly question, but figured I would go ahead and ask. My Dr's instructions really were pushing a walking program.

 
Old 02-05-2007, 11:09 AM   #2
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Re: Walking after ACDF

I surely am not one to be able to answer your question Sue. But just wanted to say that is quite a feat to be able to walk a mile so soon after a surgery such as this!!

I am not able to walk much right now. I suffer from Plantar Faciitis in both feet, the right one being the worst. OMG, the pain from my feet can almost be as bad as the spasms I get in my back and neck. Even with the strong pain meds I take for my back and this recent 3 level ACDF.

Husband and I went to the grocery store yesterday and I found myself very very slow and he joked that he would have the groceries in the truck before I reached him. LOL

Just don't over do it Sue. We're not doing a marathon. This is a long recovery and I don't think we can rush it.

If you're having spasms while you're walking or very soon after it could be your body protesting that you're doing to much.

Also since you're not wearing a collar, that could be what is causing the spasms as well. My PA told me in her experience many spasms are caused by wearing to loose a collar and the neck working to hard to hold up the head.
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Old 02-05-2007, 12:18 PM   #3
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Re: Walking after ACDF

hi skz...i am nearly 3`months post op acdf and get the stiffness as well. with nearly every injury or surgery, typical protocall is to get one back to where they were b4 the incident. the stiffness may be due to your limited activity, or nerve related issues. where is your stiffness located? i happen to get mine in legs and shoulder area.....

 
Old 02-05-2007, 12:20 PM   #4
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Re: Walking after ACDF

I have it in the neck, of course....and the upper back and trapezius area.

 
Old 02-05-2007, 04:27 PM   #5
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Re: Walking after ACDF

Hi guys this is a good topic...I also have (had) plantar fascitis it is MUCH better now don't know why.. I am walking barefoot now quite a bit and I have't done that for awhile I think it is because my gait is much more even now instead of putting all my weight on my right leg..who knows..? I also walk a lot... and started walking down the hall at the hospital about 12 hours after surgery.. but what I do is walk in small bits about 10 mins then sit and then up again etc plus up and down stairs etc.. but curious thing is... the longer I am up the more spasms I have (traps, scapula, neck area) then when I lay down my hip hurts so it doesn't matter what I do... something is going to hurt.. the only stiffness I have is in the morning and WOW my hip (where bone marrow was taken) hurts when I first get up then gets better after I walk for awhile...

 
Old 02-10-2007, 02:08 PM   #6
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Re: Walking after ACDF

Little by little,
I would walk the bus routes, so if I got tired I could get home. After 2 months I made it toJims(my security blanket). Then he would drive me home. Somedays I would rest at his apartment. Then walk as far as I could back. Catch the bus home. The worse part was feeling my muscles start to cramp up on the bus.
Somedays, I pushed and by the time I got home I wanted to actually cry! Not cool in this society for a 52 year old guy!!!!!
Today, Jims, a rest(watched "HOUSE"). Walked another mile to Kmart. Then walked home. 5.2 miles. I took 1/2 of a tramadol, and a Xanax when I got home. So far so good. Like I said I take it easy tomorrow!
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Last edited by icejohnb; 02-10-2007 at 02:08 PM.

 
Old 02-10-2007, 02:11 PM   #7
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Re: Walking after ACDF

Hi there....it was me who regretted sitting on my but after surgery - I became sooooooo deconditioned.

Is the stiffness in your neck? In your legs? I would think that some stiffness in your neck would be normal - as long as it's not severe spasms. I had some stiffness in my neck for 12 weeks (at least) following ACDF.
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Old 02-10-2007, 02:19 PM   #8
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Re: Walking after ACDF

The stiffness and tightness is in the upper back, trapezius, and the neck.

 
Old 02-10-2007, 02:57 PM   #9
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Re: Walking after ACDF

I can only imagine, since I never been stabbed! So far!
A knife in between the lower part of the shoulder blades. Sometimes I reach to pull it out. I then take my pain medication. I have weaned myself down to 1/2 of a tab.
I kick back for a while and it all goes away.
Later,
Ice

 
Old 02-10-2007, 06:10 PM   #10
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Re: Walking after ACDF

Hey Sue
July here...

I was the walking machine pre-surgery in Oct, infact we annually do a Canadian rocky hiking trip every summer and in July I averaged 14 mountain miles a day. As you know surgery in Oct and at my first post op visit I asked about benefits of walking and was told to take it easyand do what I COULD DO COMFORTABLY. 2nd post op I asked if walking would help fusing and i was told flat out no.

OK so we both got 2 conflicting opinions. I to date have the exact pain you are describing in the same exact place. It does subside somewhat with time but I still have ALSO have a little man drilling nonstop on the back of my neck!

Anyway I let up on the walking because sometimes the spasms were so baaaaddd well you know.... and I thought the movement was making things worse. I think we should do what is comfortable. What does your P/T say?

 
Old 02-11-2007, 12:21 PM   #11
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Re: Walking after ACDF

I havent started P.T. yet. I see the surgeon for my 6 weeks post op on Feb. 22nd. I am not even going to bother asking HIM because he will say everything I am doing is terrific. On my post op sheet, it said to walk a mile by 1 week post op. (splitting it up in the day). yea right. haha. I am trying to let pain be my guide. I feel fine when I am walking. I started splitting it up into 2 sessions, rather than one half hour one. It does seem to help. The surgeon is going to discuss P.T. with me at that 6 week appt. My one biggest fear is that P.T. will make things flare up (it ALWAYS has with me and I have gone at least 7 separate times in 5 yrs.). I want to make sure he sends me to one that totally gets the surgery I had and doesnt flare me up. I am finally feeling half decent again in life....and I seriously do not want to start feeling bad again. You know how they can be sometimes. I am going to really push that with my Dr. You know how you always hear that in the beginning of P.T. you get worse feeling before you get better? Well that is not going to happen this time or else I wont go. I want someone to go EASY with me.

 
Old 02-12-2007, 11:40 AM   #12
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Re: Walking after ACDF

Hi skz

As a hand therapist I can safely say we are not all like that... I always told my patients that pain is NOT what you want... there were times in the clinic that I had to give them pain (stretching or scar work etc) but I would tell them it was my job to give them pain not theirs, so at home nothing should hurt...i.e. the exercises, I believe it is a bad sign.to have pain with exercse.. you know there is a difference between not being comfortable like when you are weak and you are beginning a new activity and "pain". I believe we should respect our bodies because what ever we do to them will be with us for the rest of our lives... good and bad. So I would say "RUN" from any PT that pushes you in to pain... they should only be there to encourage you to work within your own limits...

 
Old 02-12-2007, 11:51 AM   #13
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Re: Walking after ACDF

Yea, I agree and I appreciate your response. I dont want more flare-ups, esp. unnecessary ones.

 
Old 02-13-2007, 11:26 AM   #14
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Re: Walking after ACDF

try to find a McKenzie certified PT - they seem to have more training in spine issues

 
Old 02-14-2007, 07:36 PM   #15
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Re: Walking after ACDF

I had a fair amount of stiffness in my upper back and shoulder region for 6-8 weeks post-surgically. It seemed to be in part just due to being uncomfortable, in part due to poor sleeping (or sleeping uncomfortabley) and part the way I had to use other muscles to work (i.e. instead of craning my neck to reach up I would overextend my back/shoulder). I would say at 2-3 months post op I found these symptoms began to lessen substantially.
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