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  • ACDF Questions? 2 Weeks Post Op

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    Old 08-23-2008, 03:57 PM   #1
    ArcAngel's Avatar
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    ACDF Questions? 2 Weeks Post Op

    Hi all,

    I was travelling on business three weeks ago and was staying at the Hampton Inn. The first night had terrible nightmares and awoke the next morning w/ a stiff neck. I thought I had slept wrong and was going to wait for it to improve. The second night, I had nightmares again and awoke with a pain in my forearm, painfull neck, right shoulder and tingling index and middle finger on the right hand. The pain was so bad if I looked up and turned my head to the left that I would sweat and almost passed out. At that time, I had a friend at work take me to a Chiropracter (big joke) who xrayed my neck did an adjustment and said good luck .. needless to say after that charleton I went to emergency room when I flew home (on southwest .. very bad). They immediately put me into observation awaiting MRI and gave me morphine, God bless them. The Doctor came in that friday night and said I had a bulged or herniated disck at C6-C7 and that it was impinging my spinal cord. If I did not have surgery, I could become paralyzed if I took an impact there. He could do surgery Sunday morning. In fairness, a PT Dr. came in and said I could do therapy, I asked how that would remove the bulge disk and he said it wouldn't. In my case he'd recommend surgery. So surgery it was. I went out quickly and reawoke, not in much pain but threw up during .. they didn't like that LOL... I had an ACDF C6-7 with a donor bone and a plate w/ Titanium screws and no collar. I asked him about work (my Doctor) and he said " go back when ya feel better". Being a type A personality in a Directors position ( a new job too boot) I suffered at home for the first week. Ate 120 pain pills in 9 days, felt brand new and went to work. Well truth be told, I ran out of the pills, had real bad back spasms that night, with electricity running down my back and right arm that I couldn't sleep and stayed up all night crying from pain. The next day, called my Doctor who was in surgery for 8 hours and waited. Ice packs, aspirin, etc. didn't work. Finally, he prescribed a sleep aid and a muscle relaxant. Helped a little but not with the pain. He did not give me another pain reliever which is probably a good move LOL. So anywho.. here I sit .. back pain and fingers tingling and now my right foot at the front pad of the 2nd, 3rd toe and it hurts like heck....

    My question:
    1. I have an office job and am gonna try and go back next Monday (3 weeks post op) is that too soon? Office job.. and I travel a week from Monday to do a workshop.

    2. What's with the foot pain?

    3. Any other methods for pain relief?

    4. Will I ever recover? If so how long?

    any advice from ya all .. I would appreciate it. Thanks

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    Old 08-23-2008, 04:38 PM   #2
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    Re: ACDF Questions? 2 Weeks Post Op

    Come on .. no help here?

    Last edited by M08; 08-24-2008 at 04:06 PM. Reason: Please be patient - sometimes it takes a couple days to get answers. On the weekend, the boards tend to be slower.

    Old 08-23-2008, 10:13 PM   #3
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    Re: ACDF Questions? 2 Weeks Post Op

    I had a C 4-5 ACDF in November 2006 and I was off of work for 12 weeks after my surgery. Shortly after I returned to work, I was promoted into an upper management position that requires extensive traveling. I don't even know quite where to begin with the advice I'd like to offer to you, but here goes anyway:
    *The surgery you had is just the first step in your recovery. Your body needs time to generate new bone around your fusion site before your neck is considered fully stable again. Right now the only thing holding your neck together are the screws and metal plate. Yes, they are strong, but undue stress and strain before your fusion has matured can cause problems. The hardware can break or become displaced (rare but possible). Even if the hardware holds by doing too much too soon you can stress the discs above and below your fusion site, possibly leading to additional new herniations at those levels.
    * You need to slow WAY down and give your body some time to heal. I think most ACDF patients aren't even allowed to drive yet at 2 weeks post op let alone go back to work. Being up and about as tolerated is great, but if your body is showing increasing pain symptoms or you are having to take large amounts of pain killers to be as active as you are describing, you are taxing your body way too much.
    *Travel is still very difficult for me, I can't imagine attempting to travel for work at only 3 weeks post op. Sleeping in a strange bed, with a strange pillow is really hard. Sitting on an airplane, toting around luggage, or sitting in a car for any significant length of time can trigger an exacerbation of symptoms even now for me.
    *Most people at 2 weeks post op would just be starting some gentle physical therapy to rebuild some strength and range of motion.
    *Aspirin and related products like Advil and Aleve can actually inhibit that new bone formation needed at your fusion site. Please check with your physician before using those types of products again. Many surgeons will not let you use them until you have signs on X-ray that fusion has actually occurred.
    I have a type A personality too and I know how hard it can be to try to turn it off. But you need to listen to your body right now and take care of it. Your doctor may well have misjudged your personal grit and determination when he said you could go back to work when you felt able as most people would NOT be feeling able at all at this point in their recovery.
    Good luck to you and keep us posted on your recovery!
    Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3
    Scheuermann's Kyphosis, Cobb angle >90 degrees
    Severe DDD with multiple herniations and areas of stenosis, 16 affected disks with many extruded and sequestered disc herniations.
    C4-5 ACDF 2006
    C3-6 ACDF 2013
    C3-6 ACDF REPAIR after failure of fusions, 2017
    Chronic Myofaschial Pain Syndrome
    S/P severe Covid induced ARDS with resulting Pulmonary Fibrosis, oxygen dependent. 2021/2022.

    Old 08-24-2008, 06:40 AM   #4
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    Re: ACDF Questions? 2 Weeks Post Op

    Hi there Angel,

    I have not yet had my 2 level ACDF of C 4-5 and 5-6, but from what my surgeon says it corralates with much of what Laenini has said.

    I will be placed into an Aspen Hard collar for 4-6 weeks and will not be allowed to drive for that time or possobly longer.

    I think the weight limit he said post-op would be 5 pounds nothing heavier than that and in all actuallity that is a lot.

    It is understandable to want to go back to work, but the important thing to remember is that your neck for sometime is UNSTABLE untill the fusion process has begun. Yes like Laenini has said the only thing keeping it in place is the plate and screws. Yes rare for issues there but I have read peoples posts on another forum that I post on that they had to have sugery again very soon after the initial surgery because the screws came loose and the plate slipped and caused more issue.
    I am not trying to scare you or anything and I hope your not offended.

    In December I will be 39 years old and in the middle of a career change to become a nurse. i did not apply to the nursing program this past spring because I knew the demands of the nursing program would surpass what my body could handle.

    My Surgeon told me i was ok to go to school this semester (I need to go to keep my health insurance) as long as I took only the one class 1 day a week. He warned me to really pay attention to my body and NOT PUSH or OVER-DO-IT. He said I could compromise everything and make matters worse.

    It is already hard for me to sit still and I have not even had the surgery yet! LOL I know that afterward I want to do the best I can to not make thigs worse.

    Please search in this area (Spinla Cord Disorders, or Pain Management or CHronic Pain) I am sure there is much information about neck problems and what things people so before and after ACDF surgery to relieve pain.

    Take care !!


    Old 08-24-2008, 08:39 AM   #5
    ArcAngel's Avatar
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    Re: ACDF Questions? 2 Weeks Post Op

    Thank you so much for the responses. It is very helpful to hear from people that have been through it.

    Have a great Sunday!

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