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Old 03-19-2007, 09:48 PM   #6
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Catskill Mts, NY USA
Posts: 45
~Ro HB User
Re: ACDF Pain worse later part of day?

Originally Posted by BobM View Post
You still have every reason to think you can get back to pain free - but maybe try looking for simple lifetstyle changes that work for you, to help you on this journey! And by all means discuss the pain with your Dr., and if you find yourself getting too discouraged or depressed, seek some help to find ways to control the pain meds you have to take. You can get through this, don't let it get you down.

Best luck!
Thanks, Bob. Getting used to my new normal has been quite the feat thus far. I do realize that I'm doing too much in the day & have to stop that & use this time to sit back & relax .. but there's so much to do & it never seems like too much. I'm sure you've all made similar excuses. Anyway, as far as talking to my surgeon, he's useless as far as pain medication goes, hence why I'm seeing a pain management specialist, who also is a psychiatrist. My main goal is to get to the other side of this pain & NOT get addicted to these pills. If I do run into a problem, at least I know I'm seeing the right doctor. :-) I see them all, (my thyroid specialist too) on Thursday.

Originally Posted by SKZ View Post
Are you going to physical therapy? They can help you with some treatments. I started feeling better when I started PT at around 7 1/2 weeks. That was the point where I stopped taking my pain meds because, even though I still hurt, it wasnt horrible. They started me with gentle stretches and gentle isometrics using the neck. I also got ultrasound and electrical stimulation.I had the same surgery as you (C5-C7). I didnt wear a collar though. I am not sure why you have to wear the collar so long. Now we are working on my screwed up sacral area that is totally adding to my upper body muscle spasms.
No PT yet, Skz. I wonder why he's not calling for it but my surgeon isn't so hot on reasons. Maybe he'll give me more of an idea of when I'm to go. I got some excercises to do while in the hospital but that's it. I couldn't even begin to think of quitting the pain meds at this point and I've been in a collar all this time. I think the surgeon made me more reliable on the collar, like a crutch & that's why I hurt so bad between the shoulder blades. I take off the collar on occasion just because I feel so claustrophobic in it. Did you use the bone growth stimulator too, or no? I can tell you that I have had very few muscle spasms & I wonder if it's because of the collar?

Originally Posted by TraveltoSL View Post
Hi Ro,

I totally agree with Bob in that you are still in the early stages of your recovery and with my first surgery....I, too, had to wear a collar for about 3 months...This in itself caused a lot of pain and "burning" in my muscles towards the end of the day because your poor neck doesn't know whether to "lean" and rely completely on the collar or to use it's muscles to hold your head up... So, it's at that in between stage and since you're not relying totally on your own muscles to build them back up after will take some time...Did they use metal plates and screws to help with the fusion??? My first sugery they did not and this is why I used the collar for so long.....The last two surgeries....i have lots of metal, rods, plates, and screws to help fuse and didn't have to use a collar at all....But every surgeon seems to be different....
They used metal plates & 6 screws to help the fusion, something I wonder how on Earth I'll ever get used to the feeling of. I hate bending down because it feels like the metal rubbing on the back of my throat or wherever ;-)

Originally Posted by TraveltoSL View Post
I would also say that when you are done with the will probably still feel some residual muscle pain/burning as your muscles are re-learning to all be used again...

This is a great time to work with your Dr. on continually stepping down from your medication and doses to let your body get used to handling the regular aches and pains that can happen....I know for me, by the end of the day still....after about 4 months out from this last surgery (they went in from the front and the back of my neck so cut through muscle in the back)....I spend my evening resting my head on the back of the couch with my favorite feels SO much better just to "lean" against the back of something after my neck muscles have been working so hard all day....

Although you think with my head full of would be really light...HAHAHAHA....

Sorry, couldn't resist.....LOL...

Please give yourself time....a fusion actually takes a total of a year and there are many tweaks of pain/soreness that can happen from time to time and also when you start getting more active and then tapering off the pain meds.....
Wow, I appreciate all the helpful reminders. I know I feel better when I lean against my pillows and I'm NOT back to work so don't have that to worry about yet. I just forget to stop & take a load off my shoulders but now it all makes so much sense. Tapering off the meds is something I expect to do but am not about to suffer through any of this, so I'll see what they all say on Thursday. I ordered a new neck pillow that I intend on taking with me for car rides & when I have to take a civil service exam, (in a couple weeks) to get myself back in the work force. I would prefer to not do the exam now but they only offer it twice a year & I'm hoping to be working before the next test in October.

Question, how long after your surgeries did you go back to work?

Thanks all!