My big advice - keep yourself moving. After my ACDF I did nothing for 6 weeks and the first day I went back to work I was exhausted - not from the ACDF but from the walk from the car to the office building :-)
I myself was off work for 6 weeks. I had a neck brace on and didn't feel comfortable typing and lifting files until the 6 week point. Plus I couldn't drive until then so I couldn't get to work or do part of my job (visiting customers)
A few questions:
(1) Are you in any kind of neck brace and how long do you think you'll be in it?
(2) What type of work do you do?
(3) Are you getting any kind of Workers' Comp or Short Term Disability?
(4) What medications are you on? Will those impact your ability to work?
I too had the internal fixation with the hardware. My doctor also prescribed the brace which helped me not move too much. But I had C5-C7 so that probably made the brace more necessary.
Has your STD carrier sent you any mail regarding how long your STD is approved for? Generally the guidelines for cervical fusion would be 4-6 weeks before they'd need more medical information. You'll want to discuss RTW (return to work) with your doctor but I personally reccomend you take as much time as you can to heal.
I also found that sitting and leaning and even typing caused me the most pain. I never realized how much neck and arm you use to type, and how even as a great typist occasionally I'd have to glance down and that caused me pain. However, in my case I had the brace for 6 weeks so going back to work before that was off was not a problem. I used 6 weeks of STD before RTW. And, when I did RTW I did so part time to start with - I found I had to recondition myself in terms of sitting a long time, doing desk work (even with the minimal lifting it does have some physical elements), etc. I also wanted to be as medication free as I could before RTW and when I did RTW I would put off meds until after I got home (hence I had to start with part time work).
Hi I'm 8 days post of from a ACDF C5-6. The surgery itself seemed to go well although I was in A LOT of pain afterwards. The morphine drip they had me on did nothing. By the time I got to my room and after almost all day of tryin to adjust my meds I ended up on 15 mg of Percocet every 3 hours along with vallium. I was up and about almost immediatately after recovery moving in and out of the bathroom without assistance. My only MAJOR issue has been with all the pain meds I was taking I got terribly constipated and now have the hemoridal issues to deal with. Of course I have cut WAY back on the meds and changed my diet etc. I would have loved to sit at my computer and share some of my other experiences but it is taken every effort to sit here now. Maybe in the next couple of days it will subside because I am so looking forward to sharing and a heathly recovery. If anyone has any tips or advice I would certainly love to hear about them.
I agree with BSNODE 100%. Don't let yourself get deconditioned. I just sat around for 6 weeks following surgery just walking in my own house and was sooooooooooo deconditioned by the time I was to go back to work.
My husband had this done also. They told him to start walking almost immediately. He had to walk for an hour a day, every day for a year to fuse. He also had to give up all soda, chocolate, and had extensive PT. He fused within a year.
As for work, he went back in six weeks with a ten pound weight limit. He was so glad that he had done all of that walking.