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jacki56 06-04-2004 08:12 PM

Like new after c5-c6 surgery?
After you have ACDF c5-6, are you "supposed" to be like new? For example, can you go on roller coasters and do everyday things once you have recovered, or are you always going to have restrictions even after the surgery?


HDrider 06-05-2004 05:30 AM

Re: Like new after c5-c6 surgery?
After a brief recovery period my NS said that I could resume all my activities without limitations.

neckache35 06-05-2004 01:45 PM

Re: Like new after c5-c6 surgery?
Just wanted to say that it's nice to hear some positive and encouraging posts once in a while. I may be facing surgery soon and I am trying to remain optimistic.

Duckdog 06-06-2004 06:31 AM

Re: Like new after c5-c6 surgery?
I also like to see some good posts too. This is undoubtedly a very major surgery that a person needs to take seriously. I think that the spasms, and pain, and the likes that most of us are blatting about, is just our bodies telling us that it's not done healing yet. I do not believe that the surgery heals the nerves...I do believe that it's purpose is to give our bodies the best scenerio for healing to occur...and it is a long healing process.

I don't like muscle spasms, pain etc... but if thats part of this gammut, then so be it. I was pretty nervous about this surgery too, but , it's not the worst once you get a month or two under your belt. The hardest part is these set backs that we probably cause ourselves. Like right now, I'm having some spasms and it's been about 1.5 weeks... I'll give em a few more days, then call the doc to see what they suggest.

My doc told me that I'm restricted until the end of august. Maybe he's over cautious... but I'll try to behave and do what I'm told. I suspect that if I'm fusing good then, I'll get the green light to let er rip and do what I normally do...

boxer_dog_luv 06-06-2004 09:46 AM

Re: Like new after c5-c6 surgery?
Thanks jacki56; this thought occurred to me yesterday--would I have to give up horseback riding & amusement rides? Like neckache35--appreciate this post--a bit of good news for those of us struggling to make decisions. I have two "bulging" discs C5-6 and C6-7 w/o stenosis. Return to NS 6/10; basically have gotten worse in last month on meds (Arthroflex, Soma & rare Darvocet) & work restrictions. (How is THAT possible?) I have avoided aerobics, athletics of any kind since 7/03 after the carpal tunnel release (gained 5 lbs., change in agility/muscle tone) so as not to worsen the neck pain, ear ringing. As I see it now I can't let my whole body deteriorate because the simple act of brisk walking (do walk on a treadmill 3 miles a day to get weight under control) brings on the numbness/pain,etc. My NS tells me he has seen worse MRIs & patients don't complain. Honestly, I question myself every day as to why, why I could possibly worsen over the last month--numbness is constant now, reaching w/ right arm provokes knife-like pain in mid-back between shoulder blades or numbness down left arm. I have really bad nights where I lay flat (while asleep) and my whole arm/thumb goes numb & out of bed I go. I have a second opinion appt. 6/14 with my PMD's preferred referral-an ortho/spine specialist. I have really lost a lot of ground this past month--go figure & it's the first time I have been prescribed meds. Also my husband finds it unbelievable that I have difficulty doing things with my left hand/arm. I know it looks okay and is not paralyzed but over the last month when I try to hold my arm extended or chest-height to do a household task, the left arm feels numb, tingly & "fatigued" like there is lactic acid in the muscle or as it would feel after a lot of reps of an exercise. Is this what you would describe as "weakness"? My right arm never feels like that so I feel like it is not "in my mind." I have kept a symptom diary so whatever happens (surgery) I will know I had quantifiable reasons--although my NS never listens/talks to patient/symptoms but centers on objective findings-MRIs, etc. Heaven knows if I will get to update him on what I have just posted on 6/10. Last visit (May), he was dismissive and his attitude scared me--"If you're no better in month, then I'll remove the disc," which came after him saying I can see no reasons for your complaints??? Maybe my second opinion will fill in the gaps.

HDrider 06-06-2004 10:20 AM

Re: Like new after c5-c6 surgery?
I was back to riding my Harley about 3 weeks after my C5-6 and C6-7 fusion last July. Also ride horses.
It's the first week to ten days that is a bear.

Ricki 06-06-2004 03:38 PM

Re: Like new after c5-c6 surgery?
" ... he was dismissive and his attitude scared me--"If you're no better in month, then I'll remove the disc," which came after him saying I can see no reasons for your complaints??? Maybe my second opinion will fill in the gaps.[/QUOTE]

You might consider talking to someone else who is listening to you. I had the same experience so I interviewed 3 doctors until I could like one. It's important to me that they are in the business of healing in a more holistic sense.

Rolex 06-07-2004 07:50 AM

Re: Like new after c5-c6 surgery?
I am not telling you guys what you should do, but for me I will never ride another roller coaster in my life. That is what did my neck in, a roller coaster at Marine World in Norther Calif. called Kong. It was horrible and immediately after I got off the thing, my neck felt terrible. There is one called California Screaming in the new amusement park next to Disneyland in Anaheim that is really smooth and dosen't jerk your neck around.

You guys can do it if you want, but I suffered for almost 2 years before surgery because of a roller coaster ride. Most of them post a sign that says to avoid if you have back or neck problems.

neckache35 06-07-2004 01:26 PM

Re: Like new after c5-c6 surgery?
To Boxerdogluv: Dont feel bad, I have gotten worse myself. I used to only have tingling when I turned my head in certain ways. Now I have tingling all the time. I go to see the Ortho on Saturday June 12th. Yes they actually have office hours on Saturday. He is going to discuss my MRI results and my progess thus far. Sorry I don't have any good new to tell him. Actually I do have one positive thing to say. The knot on my right shoulder blade actually did get smaller after I took the steroids. But the numbness/tingling and weakness is actually getting worse. I fear that surgery is inevitable for me.


boxer_dog_luv 06-08-2004 08:56 AM

Re: Like new after c5-c6 surgery?
I agree Rolex; I probably will chose not to do roller coasters (haven't since the neck probs >5 yrs), just like I don't enjoy ice/roller skating now since the floor is farther away :) I think it is the whole psychological thing at this point--not feeling like the choice I am making will mean "giving up" on activities or becoming handicapped (we hope). No substitute for common sense.

I have hoped for a happy nonsurgical ending; been real chipper about trying everything and now that the inevitable is in sight--I'm am going through stages of blame-placing (bad chair, bad car seat, if I had a better seat) and tears/grief. Sitting is a real killer. Went to a mtg 6/7, routine long drive but it evoked all the familiar pains; I was about to scream with the feeling of a butter knife stuck between the left ribs the last 20 miles. Reaching antagonizes the arm numbness and exacerbates it. Such occasions confirm to me that I have not "healed" miraculously although there is always that desparate hope lingering in the back of my mind.

Thanks Ricki; I think my NS's attitude has made this month harder to bear. For peace of mind, I see it is def. important to get several opinions before doing anything like surgery.

sturner6 06-08-2004 03:52 PM

Re: Like new after c5-c6 surgery?
you should be good to go, that segment will be stronger than it was to start with. the thing that always stays in the back of my mind, is that the segments above and below, must now carry the stresses not taken by the fused level..
sue t.

jacki56 06-08-2004 05:00 PM

Re: Like new after c5-c6 surgery?
Thanks for all of your replies. I have just been somewhat depressed after this diagnosis. I realize that it is not a fatal illness, so for that I am thankful. I try not to make more out of this, since others can have worse fates. But, I feel like I was given a "disability" or permanent injury. But if many of you have surgery and feel good as new, that gives me hope. Because, I am only 35, and the thought of chroinc pain and restrictions in life (not that I was an adventurous one) makes me kind of sad. All in perspective of course.


boxer_dog_luv 06-09-2004 06:34 AM

Re: Like new after c5-c6 surgery?
I feel the same as you, Jacki. I am 42 tomorrow; if I had known I was "tearing up" my neck I would have stopped years ago. I have never had general anesthesia surgery before. Am esp. terrified and distrustful of hospitals due to my best friend's hysterectomy last year, her husband was told to leave at 6:30 p.m. after she rec. pain meds that he was in the way, she would not wake up and it was preplanned I would stop by the hospital to see if he needed anything at 8 p.m. I found her out of bed, confused, crying at the nurse's station with her catheter bag slung upside down over the IV pole. She was hot & sweaty, I led her back to her room (as unbelievable as this sounds) while the three staffers mutely looked. A staffer then arrived with a basin and told me to help her with a bath; my friend thought it was the next a.m. & felt like she needed a bath. After leaving at 10 p.m. her husband called me to see if I had been to the hospital, he then called the unit to check on his wife & was told that she had never awakened since he left. He was concerned and called her cousin who lives 10 mins from hospital & cousin arrived to find her lying in a pool of blood from pulling out cath/IV at 11 p.m. It very greatly concerns me that the staff would basically lie upon inquiry and initially advise a spouse to leave a patient unattended. Yes-there is a nursing shortage-I guess things like this can happen. This incident concerned me so much that I used a more distant hospital (50 miles away--no complaints--my OPS care was excellent) for my carpal tunnel last year rather than the closest hospital (30 miles). Now I worry that the more distant hospital--has greater traffic risks trying to get home as it is on a very busy freeway where people drive fast and crazy. My NS operates at both hospitals. I guess there are always risks. I am insisting that my husband not leave me unattended in any hospital just based on what happened to my friend.

rcrq500 06-09-2004 12:22 PM

Re: Like new after c5-c6 surgery?
I have alot of burning sensations after acdf c5-6. I am taking Nuerontin and Skelaxin with not much relief. Does anyone else have this?

CTmom 06-09-2004 12:44 PM

Re: Like new after c5-c6 surgery?
boxer dog luv,

Sorry to hear about your friend's negative hospital experience. My experiences have been basically positive but there is no doubt that even with caring nursing care, they are spread way too thin over too many patients, especially during the night shift.

After a couple of negative experiences with overnight stays I made arrangements to have my husband stay with me overnight after my ACDF surgery. I had to set this up beforehand. I had to pay a small extra fee for a private room but I feel it was the best thing I could have done. I didn't even get back to my room until visiting hours were over. Then, I suffered severe nausea and vomiting all night long. If it weren't for my husband's quick hands with the basin I would have been a mess, and a real burden on the nursing staff. Also, I didn't have a catheter so I had to get up and walk to the bathroom every half hour due to the IV. I never could have made it on my own and a previous hospital experience taught me that I had to call the nurse at least a half hour before needing help to the bathroom. Anyway, it was extremely comforting to have my husband acting as private duty nurse and have promised to do the same for him should he ever need it. He was an amazing help. If you can have someone stay with you that first night I highly recommend it.


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