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  • Driving after ACDF

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    Old 05-10-2008, 01:04 PM   #1
    ember919
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    Driving after ACDF

    Wanted to post again as haven't seen this in a while.

    Because of a family emergency, I was forced to start driving shortly after my ACDF. It was really a nightmare because I couldn't turn my head and I felt blind. Someone recommended that I try setting the side mirrors on my car differently. I was skeptical, but tried it and it worked and I still keep my mirrors this way today. You can find the original info on a popular car talk website.

    Sit in your car as you normally would, with the rear view mirror set normally. Lean to the left, so that your head almost touches the window. Set your left side mirror so that you can see the back corner of your car.

    Lean to the right about the same distance and set your right side mirror the same way, so that you can see the right back corner of your car.

    What this does is allow you to see cars beside you at all times. You should either be able to see the car in your rear view mirror or in your side mirror without having to turn your head. The most I ever have to do is maybe lean slightly forward or a teeny bit to one side or the other.

    It takes some getting used to and you might want to "fine tune" your mirrors by driving next to some parked cars. Ideally, if, let's say a car is coming up on your left, at the time the car's left headlight disappears from your rear view mirror, it should show up in your side mirror. Same on the right, except it would be the car's right headlight.

    I know this sounds wacky but it really does work and it will save you some big-time neck pain and strain when you start driving again. Good luck!

     
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    Old 05-10-2008, 08:55 PM   #2
    Wymom94
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    Re: Driving after ACDF

    I can't thank you enough for posting this. I expected to be driving by a week ago, but was not ready then. I tried yesterday, a full 4 weeks out from my acdf, and it was a disaster. I drove 'blind' like you said and it scared the bujeebizz out of me. I ended up having to leave my car in the lab parking lot I'd driven to and get a ride back home (for other reasons -including my walker rolling down a hill away from me when I was trying to get it back in my car and my messing up both my neck and lower back in my efforts to catch up to it). Not a great trial run for post-acdf driving.
    Can I ask how you managed driving w/o your collar on? While riding as a passenger, the neck brace gives me great comfort. I get nervous about being rear ended or getting 'clipped', whatever might jolt my neck in the car, and wearing the collar makes me feel safe should something like that occur. Before my surgery, I had a couple of minor accidents due to muscle spasms in my back while driving -and I haven't had my low back surgery yet, so I worry I might repeat that and hurt my neck (sans the collar).

     
    Old 05-11-2008, 09:57 AM   #3
    ember919
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    Re: Driving after ACDF

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wymom94 View Post
    Can I ask how you managed driving w/o your collar on? While riding as a passenger, the neck brace gives me great comfort. I get nervous about being rear ended or getting 'clipped', whatever might jolt my neck in the car, and wearing the collar makes me feel safe should something like that occur.
    My surgeon was of the "no brace" belief, so I had only a soft foam collar to wear for times when I felt it would make me more comfortable. He said it was more for my own mental anxiety, though, than it was for any real physical support. I was encouraged to wear it as little as possible, but you can believe I definitely wore it while driving!

    Since it was just a soft collar, I was still able to turn my head......as much as the neck pain would allow. At first, I'd start to turn my head just out of habit and hurt myself so badly I'd be driving through tears. I very quickly learned to turn my whole body, but that, of course, was just plain dangerous while driving.

    When my friend suggested the mirrors thing, I was very dubious and it was tricky getting used to. However, if you can manage a little "practice" somewhere with parked cars and learn to TRUST what you see in the mirrors, it really, honestly, will keep you from 99% of all that painful/awkward movement. I still drive with my mirrors like that now and my husband, who suffers from back pain, has adopted the same style.

    I was nervous about driving and riding for a probably about two months. (maybe longer? time fades those fears.....) Same as you, worried all the time about having some sort of impact. I think it's perfectly natural, under the circumstances.

    If you think it will help your peace of mind at all, you can probably find a foam collar at a drugstore or pharmacy and maybe wear that while driving.

    Good luck. Hope the driving gets easier for you.

     
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