Discussions that mention valium

Spinal Cord Disorders board


I am currently 40 but had the ACDF this past May when I was 39.

As for the realistic picture - for me it really wasn't as awful as I had anticipated. I had lumbar fusion surgery years ago (1993) and I remember intense and lasting post-op pain. But with an ACDF it's different as they go through the front of the neck - avoiding large muscle mass as you'd find in the lower back.

I was pleasantly surprised with how little post-op pain I had in the hospital. I was kept 2 nights (the 2nd night mostly becuase I did not sleep at all night one - but I just don't ever sleep well on codeine type medications). The first few days I had a very scratchy throat and was sucking cepacol lozenges constantly, or drinking fluids, or eating a popsicle. For some reason carbonated beverages soothed my more than warm beverages or plain water.

I did need vicodin and valium a few times a day in the first 6 weeks. And the Aspen brace I wore was frustrating - sleeping was not comfortable. If I was at the right angle to sleep I'd awaken when the brace shifted and was causing my neck or shoulders or jaw some discomfort, etc. I spent a large amount of time in the first 6 weeks in a recliner type chair - where I was most comfortable. Again, I wish I had done a little more physical activity to avoid loosing my stamina.

On the second day home I showered, made sure my husband was home while doing this, as I was a bit weak and I had to be careful not to move my neck too much. For the first 3 weeks I would shower every other day and only when my husband was home. In the final 3 weeks in the brace I would shower daily but wash my hair every other day. I have shoulder length hair and am so used to lifting my head to rinse my hair - a move I avoided in the first 6 weeks post op.

At the 6 week mark when the brace came off I was a little stiff. The muscles haven't had to move around too much and the first few driving experiences were a little strange. I ended up buying a mirror that fits over the rear view mirror to give a wider view behind you (kind of like what I've seen in some cabs or busses). An inexpensive way to make me feel better about getting back on the road.

As time has gone on I've gotten progressively better. I still had instances of pain and muscle spasm through about the 4th month. Nothing all too limiting but occasinally I'd need some vicodin or valium the help me through (especially at the end of the day). Keep in mind I started a new job 8 weeks post-op so I was stressed as it was ;-) But at the end of month 4 I found I was 110% better. My surgeon said this was normal and everyone is different, some feel so much better immediately and others need time to heal. Each person's pain is different so differences in healing are normal.

I saw the surgeon Monday for my 6 mo post op and I told him the week before, on two days, I had the "old nerve pain". He said it is normal to have occasional bouts of pain as the muscle, nerve, etc continue to heal. This, per the surgeon, can continue through 12 months post-op but he advised me it should never last for more than 24-48 hours. If it does I am to call him. And, as it happens, my little bout of nerve pain cleared up in about 36 hours so I was pleased to be "normal".

I hope this helps...sorry if I rambled on too long. Best of Luck to you and let us know how you are doing. I'll be thinking of you.