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  • ACDF Post-Op Severe Neck Pain

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    Old 05-19-2012, 05:03 AM   #1
    macdan's Avatar
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    ACDF Post-Op Severe Neck Pain - Please Help!

    Hello everyone.

    First, I'd like to thank all the people who have posted their experiences on these boards. I gathered more information here on how to prepare for my surgery than from anywhere or anyone else.

    I am looking for some of you good people to share their experience and opinions so I can get an idea of whether or not my pain is normal.

    Had my ACDF on C5-C6 (Using solis cage and own bone) surgery 3 days ago. My full diagnosis:

    "Severe disc disease at C5-C6 with retrolisthesis of C5-C6 associated with bridging osteophytosis and disc protrusion causing severe spinal cord stenosis and compression of the spinal cord. There is focal spinal cord edema in this region. Severe bilateral neuroforaminal stenosis indication compression of both C6 exiting nerve roots."

    I read that, nod, and pretend I understood it.

    First day was not too bad and I stuck mostly with Tylenol, as the pain was bearable. Swallowing was painful, but I was told that it is likely from the breathing tube used during the operation. I may have pushed my self a little too hard on this day, which was stupid considering all the warnings not to do so. I walked to the store (2 minutes away) picked up a few things and brought them back. A total of about 30 minutes. I certainly felt worse upon my return. I had read many of these posts prior to surgery and actually found a great deal on an motorized Recliner that I figured I would spend a lot of my recovery sitting/sleeping in. Unfortunately, I had trouble sleeping in it and opted for bed instead on this day. The pain was heavy before sleep and it took me great effort to extricate myself from the bed later once I woke. OH, don't expect any long sleeps. I get 15 minutes here, an hour there, bits and pieces.

    Second day got worse. The pain ramped up in the base of my neck, and no improvement for swallowing. I dug into the Oxycodone and took the max dosage 3 times during the day at the prescribed times (every 4 hours, 2 tabs Oxycocet 5mg/Acetaminophen 325mg), and twice took 1 oxy and 1 tylenol. It provided short term relief each time, say about 2 hours of diminished pain, the rest of the time being quite painful. I am doing my best to change positions as frequently as I can, as recommended, like standing up for a bit, sitting in a different chair etc. This day was very hard but bearable, though the drugs messed me up quite a bit. Very dizzy and hard to concentrate.

    Third day is yet worse again. I slept (if you can call it that) in the recliner, dozing on and off and probably accumulating about 3 hours sleep. The pain in the back of my neck and is excruciating and swallowing still has no improvement that I can tell. The neck pain seems to have spread as well and is now also in my back right shoulder blade and creeping into my shoulder. Since I have just woken up, I took a dose of 1 oxy + 1 tylenol as I hope to be coherent to talk to some family etc, but I will almost certainly be taking the full dosage for the rest of the day. I am already dizzy as I write this.

    Does this pattern seem familiar to the other ACDF post-op peoples? I would dearly love some input to help me decide if I will tough it out or get a hold of the Neuro Surgeon.

    Suffering and would deeply appreciate all opinions.

    Last edited by macdan; 05-19-2012 at 05:47 AM.

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    Old 05-19-2012, 11:38 AM   #2
    NJ Ldy
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    Re: ACDF Post-Op Severe Neck Pain

    Are you in a collar? That may help. You are also probably in pain in the neck and shoulder area because they have to put your neck in traction when they do the surgery. My upper body killed me for weeks and the sides of my head were so painful from the tongs they clamped on to hold the traction. All normal stuff. 5mg oxy is not too strong, I was sent home with 10mg percocet, when I ran out, I called my neuro's office and they sent me a prescription for more. I also had my hip cut, how in God's name did you walk to the store, I couldn't walk without a walker for weeks, then graduated to a cane. Also, since this is a very major surgery, it's going to take you a lot of time to recoup, you're going to have days where you feel good and other days where you feel like a truck plowed into you. Take it easy and rest rest rest. My second surgery took a lot out of me and it took me 6 months to fully recover from that one. Do you drink coffee, I also got a horrible headache from not having my daily dose of coffee, what a freakin' migraine I got, it was terrible, I moaned in pain all night, not realizing what it was from. Once I drank a good cup of coffee, the pain diminished.

    Take your time, you have to rest and heal, this takes a lot out of you, it's all pretty normal stuff. Wishing you the best.

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    macdan (05-19-2012)
    Old 05-19-2012, 12:29 PM   #3
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    Re: ACDF Post-Op Severe Neck Pain

    NJ Lady,

    Thank-you so much for your response!

    The NS ordered no collar as apparently it is not needed with the solis cage. That is what I was told anyway. My unbearable pain is now all in the back neck area (and swallowing). I was in hospital overnight after the surgery and the pain in the back of my neck while I was still in hospital was nominal compared to my throat and the front area. As I've said, it has been getting worse and worse since then, so I m hoping that some Good days are coming soon.

    As for how I managed to walk to the store, they used existing bone in the neck area so did not take a graft from my hip. I honestly thought they were taking it from the hip up until moments before the surgery. So I can walk, but it was very very very slowly and carefully, and I shouldn't have gone. I live alone and was missing some essentials I'd forgotten to pick up before the surgery though I could have survived without them. It was a stupid mistake.

    My max dosage for the Oxycodone is 10mg, every 4 hours. Is that not a lot then? I don't really know. If I continue with the max dosage I will only have enough for a few more days. I will call the NS's office on Monday if things do not improve.

    Your advice on patience is as good as gold I expect. I only have a 3-day sampling, and it could very much be coincidence that the pain has worsened each day. I promise to rest.

    I am going to have a cup of coffee now and see if that helps. I normally do drink it and haven't had one today, though I had one yesterday. I shall toast you with my coffee!

    Thank-you so much for the information! It means a great deal to me. I will post back soon with an update.

    With deep thanks,

    Old 05-21-2012, 07:08 PM   #4
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    Re: ACDF Post-Op Severe Neck Pain

    Are you on any kind of muscle relaxer? My NS prescribed me Norco and Xanax. I was forewarned before my surgery that the pain you will be in is mainly from the muscles in the back of your neck(which you are experiencing) I would call the NS and ask for a muscle relaxer too.

    We all learn from our mistakes. Take it easy. When you say "picked up a few things" at the store the next day after surgery exactly how much did you pick up? There is a weight limit-I was told not to lift anything over 10 pounds.

    Last edited by Realhousewife; 05-21-2012 at 07:11 PM.

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