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  • Need Advice Please - Had ACDF 3 Weeks Ago

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    Old 07-30-2008, 02:48 PM   #1
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    Need Advice Please - Had ACDF 3 Weeks Ago

    I am 3 weeks post-op ACDF and feeling really well. I had discs removed between C4 & C5, and C5 & C6 with donated bone plugs, fusion with screws and a titanium plate. I wore the soft collar for 2 weeks. I am scheduled to go back to work at 6 weeks, but am wondering if I should go back earlier, say at 5 weeks. I guess I feel guilty about being off work so long and others having to take up my duties. I do accounting work so I am always looking up at the computer and then down at the desk. With the collar off, should I still try to refrain from looking up and down and side to side? I do some of this, trying to ease a little more in each day. But, as I do more, I really start to feel heavy pressure and tingling in my shoulders and the base of the neck. At that point I usually have to just stop and lay down, and maybe even take ½ pain pill.

    I have done some daily walking. I do bend over sometimes and wonder if I really shouldn’t. Also, I don’t know if any neck exercises should wait until after 6 weeks. I really feel an urge to stretch the shoulders & neck, maybe because of the pressure I feel. My neurosurgeon surgeon is in surgery 3 days a week and in the office the other 2.

    She is an excellent surgeon, but she basically leaves decisions up to me rather than give me specific orders. She is very quiet and doesn’t really volunteer information. I have to bring up the questions. And, then, it’s “do it when you feel up to it” or “when do you think you’ll be ready to go back to work”. She basically leaves it up to me. I am really committed to going back at 6 weeks, and want to be ready for an 8-9 hr day. Right now, I know I’m not. Can anyone shed some light on this? Thanks to everyone!

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    Old 07-30-2008, 06:59 PM   #2
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    Re: Need Advice Please - Had ACDF 3 Weeks Ago

    Sounds like you are doing really well, and that is great!

    If you feel up to getting back to work, and your Dr doesn't object, there's really no reason to stay home. However, you may find that you're not so 'recovered' as to go directly back to your 8 - 10 hour days. See if you can start back sooner than 6 weeks, but only partial days at first, and ease back to full time a little more gradually. A couple weeks of increasing your time at work is a good way to get back, without risking overdoing something.

    I've had two ACDF surgeries and took 6 weeks each time - my thought was to give my body every opportunity to heal. And each time, it was harder to get back to full time than I felt like it would be - so that's the idea to ease back into work gradually.

    Old 07-31-2008, 05:37 AM   #3
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    Re: Need Advice Please - Had ACDF 3 Weeks Ago

    Bob, thank you so much for your help! This was my first major surgery; actually my very first overnight stay in a hospital, too! So you can see why I'd have a lot of questions about recovery, etc. For one who's gone through 2 ACDFs, I do appreciate your advice so much! Thanks! Sandy

    Old 07-31-2008, 06:26 PM   #4
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    Re: Need Advice Please - Had ACDF 3 Weeks Ago

    Try adjusting your moniter so you do not have to look up and down so much.
    I used phone books to get right height, and purchased a new "task" chair.

    I was back to work after 3 wks. ACDF 2 level c5-c7

    Old 07-31-2008, 07:30 PM   #5
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    Re: Need Advice Please - Had ACDF 3 Weeks Ago

    Thank you so much! Actually my computer is on a stand so it's at eye level, but you're right, I might need to adjust it. I hadn't thought of that. And, I am suppose to get a new chair, too, when I pick one out. Right now it doesn't fit me at all. I'm pretty short through and to sit up straight, I have to have 2 pillows at my back, so it's not very comfortable. Thank you so much for replying!

    Old 08-01-2008, 05:39 PM   #6
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    Re: Need Advice Please - Had ACDF 3 Weeks Ago

    I went back to work at 7 weeks post ACDF. I found that with computer work I must glance down at the keyboard more than I knew - becuase in the collar I could barely type sometimes. And when you go back you tend to push yourself - and that can cause extra pain (just be prepared).

    Are you on some type of approved Short Term Disability from work? If so, and if your claim has been approved through 6 weeks, I would recommend not going back until your benefits end (the date the insurance company says you are no longer disabled and should be able to return to work). The reason I say this is that I used to do STD claims and it's much easier, on you, to stay out a bit longer (if you wanted to return to work at 5 weeks but waited until 6). Why? Because if you go back to work and find you need to go back out it's harder to prove the need for more leave/benefits if you've already received a release to return to work from your doctor.

    Don't feel guilty about others taking on your work. I, like you, tend to feel that way but I had to realize that I come first and in the long run me returning at "full force" is better for those who have covered for me.
    Rt thumb fusion '13. R&L thumb arthroplasty '12 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS' 11. Fusions: L5-S1('87), L4-S1('93), C5-C7('06), L3-S1('10), C4-C5('13). C5-C7 foraminotomy '08

    Last edited by SpineAZ; 08-01-2008 at 05:42 PM.

    Old 08-02-2008, 06:57 AM   #7
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    Re: Need Advice Please - Had ACDF 3 Weeks Ago

    Thank you so much! I had thought about maybe going back for a week of 1/2days, but with the gas prices, I would be using the same amt. of gas as if I were back full time, so I kind of nixed that idea.

    I do not have a STD policy, but I am salaried, so I do get paid while I'm off. That is so nice, but I sure don't want to abuse it if I am feeling really well, which I am, except for the pressure and stiffness in my neck and shoulders.

    I'm thinking, too, that I need a proper pillow because when I get up in the morning, I can really feel it. I'm short-through in the neck to shoulder area and some of the "one size fits all" curved pillows to cradle the neck area just don't fit me. But, I think I'll still keep looking. I hate spending money on a special pillow just to find out it doesn't fit me right. Thanks again! Sandy

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