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Old 04-24-2011, 09:20 AM #1
frenchfri1003 frenchfri1003 is offline
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Red face Frustration with Recovery ACDF

Hi to all.
I am 4 1/2 months post-op at this time. I am pleased that once the day gets started and I have completed my exercises I have decent ROM to the left and down a bit more limited right and very limited up. My strength is still poor. Generally I use 2 lb weight at home to complete exercises. There is one that I use a 5 lb weight for. My son still carries the heavy groceries and the laundry basket. If I try to do either then I will suffer with neck pain, tightness, knots or tingling in my shoulder blade region and muscle spasms. When does this end? I want to be able to complete every day activities without worrying about how I will feel. As stupid as it sounds I want to be able to clean the bathroom thoroughly including scrubbing the tub and really washing my floors. Tired of the superficial cleaning. I would also like to be able to plant a vegetable garden and my flowers. I guess I am just feeling sorry for myself. I know others have it much worse than I do. I am also concerned about levels above and below the fusion. I know that everyone heals at different rates....

*************************************** **********
12/9/2010 ACDF C5-6 C6-7 with plate, screws,
BMP & bone fragment filled cages
2/14/2011 trying to go back to work as a teacher
2/17/2011 starting PT
wearing bone stimulator 4 hours a day
DDD, arthritis, herniated disks, pinched nerves
3 months saw a little bit of bone growth (YEAH)
4/15/2011 Home Tens Unit

Dealt with the pain and issues for more than 5 years
tried PT, chiropractic, acupuncture, cervical epidural shots and selective nerve root blocks prior to surgery
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Old 04-25-2011, 01:11 PM #2
Spiney95 Spiney95 is offline
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Default Hi

Sometimes I think the waiting for the return of function and relative comfort is the worst part of this process. If you have a supportive surgeon, you might talk to him/her. I always got the ones who got all upset when I complained of severe spasm and assorted pains for months post op. I had one fool who chewed me out on my two week visit when I said I was REALLY uncomfortable and could not find a decent position to rest in. Forget sleep. He had the nerve to say "what's wrong with you? Dont you know that you are repaired and the incission has healed nicely?" I was exhausted, in real pain and tired of his BS. I fired back "Have you forgotten all of the rooting around you did to effect a three level repair? Have you forgotten the grenade that I am certain you dropped in there?" That's when I had my primary doc refer me to a pain doc who got things under reasonable control so I could begin to slowly increase my level of function. Best wishes.
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:21 PM #3
frenchfri1003 frenchfri1003 is offline
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Wink

Thank you for your response. I guess sometimes I feel sorry for myself. I know that I am lucky that this is a treatable situation and in time (even if it is longer and more painful and distressing at times) will feel better. My OSS and the PA have been pretty good anytime I call or ask for something. Even the PT have said that I seem to be healing a bit slower than others, but I waited a long time to have the surgery and it will take time to heal. It took me 5 years to have the surgery and it will take a while to regain all that I have lost. I am not a spring chicken although I am not that old either. I guess I just need to be more patient. Thanks again. :0
*************************************** **********
12/9/2010 ACDF C5-6 C6-7 with plate, screws,
BMP & bone fragment filled cages
2/14/2011 trying to go back to work as a teacher
2/17/2011 starting PT
wearing bone stimulator 4 hours a day
DDD, arthritis, herniated disks, pinched nerves
3 months saw a little bit of bone growth (YEAH)
4/15/2011 Home Tens Unit

Dealt with the pain and issues for more than 5 years
tried PT, chiropractic, acupuncture, cervical epidural shots and selective nerve root blocks prior to surgery
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eva5667faliure (12-22-2013)
Old 06-09-2011, 12:43 PM #4
garyR garyR is offline
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Default miserable due to lack of sleep

I am on my 4th week after acdf c3-7. I have an aspen (hard) collar 24/7. I could not sleep in my bed, I am a "side sleeper" due to some sleep apnea issues. Last night I don't think I got an hour of sleep. I kept waking up everytime I dozed off. I felt like I could not breath. Started panicicking. I am trying to sleep in a recliner because I found it impossible to sleep in bed. Is there anyone that has had this experience? If so, do you have any advice?
I recently cut down on my pain meds (Norco). last night I tried taking one Norco tab to see if it would relax me. It had no effect.
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:00 PM #5
Spiney95 Spiney95 is offline
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Default

I found it very helpful to put a soft foam collar under the hard one. Of course, the restriction is madening but it does cut down on the rubbing and irritation. My surgeon laughed when I went in for my first post op check up and he saw what I had done but said it was a great idea. I had two more cervical surgeries that he performed and when I woke up, there was a soft collar under the hard one.

This can be pretty hot but that is why I just let my airconditioning blast away when I was wearing them. You need two of them as they need to be washed frequently as they can get pretty nasty. You need a fresh one to wear while the other one is drying. Best wishes.
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:25 PM #6
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchfri1003 View Post
Hi to all.
I am 4 1/2 months post-op at this time. I am pleased that once the day gets started and I have completed my exercises I have decent ROM to the left and down a bit more limited right and very limited up. My strength is still poor. Generally I use 2 lb weight at home to complete exercises. There is one that I use a 5 lb weight for. My son still carries the heavy groceries and the laundry basket. If I try to do either then I will suffer with neck pain, tightness, knots or tingling in my shoulder blade region and muscle spasms. When does this end? I want to be able to complete every day activities without worrying about how I will feel. As stupid as it sounds I want to be able to clean the bathroom thoroughly including scrubbing the tub and really washing my floors. Tired of the superficial cleaning. I would also like to be able to plant a vegetable garden and my flowers. I guess I am just feeling sorry for myself. I know others have it much worse than I do. I am also concerned about levels above and below the fusion. I know that everyone heals at different rates....

*************************************** **********
12/9/2010 ACDF C5-6 C6-7 with plate, screws,
BMP & bone fragment filled cages
2/14/2011 trying to go back to work as a teacher
2/17/2011 starting PT
wearing bone stimulator 4 hours a day
DDD, arthritis, herniated disks, pinched nerves
3 months saw a little bit of bone growth (YEAH)
4/15/2011 Home Tens Unit

Dealt with the pain and issues for more than 5 years
tried PT, chiropractic, acupuncture, cervical epidural shots and selective nerve root blocks prior to surgery

Hi,

It really sounds like you are doing fairly well at 4 1/2 months S/P 3 (vertebral level) fusion. That is a rather big surgery and it WILL just simply take awhile before you plateau. I had a C5-6 fusion and I can say that at 4 1/2 months, I was still sore, stiff and with very weak neck muscles. For those who realize improvement, they say that at 15 months, that you will be about as good as you get. For me that was pretty much true. I am 3 1/2 yrs S/P fusion and am certainly better than before the surgery but no where near perfect. I am happy though with regards to the neck outcome.

In so far as wearing out the levels adjacent to the fusion, conventional wisdom and simple logic would suggest that more stress would be transferred there. Could be, but on the other hand there was a study published a year or two ago that found that accellerated degenerative changes adjacent to a fusion did not experience with any greater frequency than non-surgical controls. Doesn't really matter though since you are fused now, does it?! Can't really undo the surgery!
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Old 06-22-2011, 06:50 PM #7
walshka walshka is offline
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Default I feel your pain. No, really, I do!

Tomorrow I go for my third post-operative visit to my surgeon after having C-4-5, C 5-6 and C 6-7 fused in mid-March of this year. When I woke up from surgery, I no longer had screaming, horrific, unbearable nerve pain... but honestly, it still hurt. And each visit, my surgeon tells me how great I am healing and how fabulous my range of motion is and the scar in my neck is healing and I keep repeating, "But it really hurts. I don't want to run a marathon, I just want to clean the kitchen floor.

I went back to work (I took off two full weeks and then worked half-days for a week, though the surgeon said a week to ten days would be plenty for me to take off) and I now have to believe I rushed back into work too soon. I just have a desk job - I work at a computer all day - so you would think it would be easy.

No, not so much. Gradually, especially over the last couple of weeks, the pain has been getting worse and worse, this time on my right side rather than my left, until I almost cannot take it anymore.

This is just unbelievable. I don't want to exercise - if doing housework hurts, why would I do something repetitive and pointless that hurts? Physical therapy (I had tried three different types of therapy before the surgery, I haven't done anything since) is even more pointless.

I am 59 years old and I have probably taken a total of two sick days in 41 years of working. I never take aspirin, much less heavy-duty painkillers. This is just becoming unbearable, though. I really can't go into that guy's office tomorrow and hear how great I am doing. Really?

Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchfri1003 View Post
Hi to all.
I am 4 1/2 months post-op at this time. I am pleased that once the day gets started and I have completed my exercises I have decent ROM to the left and down a bit more limited right and very limited up. My strength is still poor. Generally I use 2 lb weight at home to complete exercises. There is one that I use a 5 lb weight for. My son still carries the heavy groceries and the laundry basket. If I try to do either then I will suffer with neck pain, tightness, knots or tingling in my shoulder blade region and muscle spasms. When does this end? I want to be able to complete every day activities without worrying about how I will feel. As stupid as it sounds I want to be able to clean the bathroom thoroughly including scrubbing the tub and really washing my floors. Tired of the superficial cleaning. I would also like to be able to plant a vegetable garden and my flowers. I guess I am just feeling sorry for myself. I know others have it much worse than I do. I am also concerned about levels above and below the fusion. I know that everyone heals at different rates....

*************************************** **********
12/9/2010 ACDF C5-6 C6-7 with plate, screws,
BMP & bone fragment filled cages
2/14/2011 trying to go back to work as a teacher
2/17/2011 starting PT
wearing bone stimulator 4 hours a day
DDD, arthritis, herniated disks, pinched nerves
3 months saw a little bit of bone growth (YEAH)
4/15/2011 Home Tens Unit

Dealt with the pain and issues for more than 5 years
tried PT, chiropractic, acupuncture, cervical epidural shots and selective nerve root blocks prior to surgery
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:05 PM #8
walshka walshka is offline
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Default I like rolled bath towels under my neck

Ever since my C3-7 surgery three months ago, I find that it feels best to roll a bath towel and put it under my neck. I also sleep on the floor. I never had to wear a collar, and from I read on the posts, I think I maybe should have had a collar - after all of this time, my pain is not only returning to pre-surgery levels, it is now also on my right side, when it was only on my left side before.

I find walking to be excruciatingly painful - has anyone else experienced that? The surgeon says walking is good - then why does every step hurt so much!? I feel like every bone in my neck and back are being shaken and jarred, even my knees are starting to hurt, probably from the goofy way I walk to try to prevent my neck from jiggling. He also says my range of motion is great - then why do I about scream every time I back out of the driveway? My neck does not want to range that far, trust me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by garyR View Post
I am on my 4th week after acdf c3-7. I have an aspen (hard) collar 24/7. I could not sleep in my bed, I am a "side sleeper" due to some sleep apnea issues. Last night I don't think I got an hour of sleep. I kept waking up everytime I dozed off. I felt like I could not breath. Started panicicking. I am trying to sleep in a recliner because I found it impossible to sleep in bed. Is there anyone that has had this experience? If so, do you have any advice?
I recently cut down on my pain meds (Norco). last night I tried taking one Norco tab to see if it would relax me. It had no effect.
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:11 PM #9
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Default Also had C4/5, 5/6 and 6/7 ACDF 2/21

Quote:
Originally Posted by walshka View Post
Tomorrow I go for my third post-operative visit to my surgeon after having C-4-5, C 5-6 and C 6-7 fused in mid-March of this year. When I woke up from surgery, I no longer had screaming, horrific, unbearable nerve pain... but honestly, it still hurt. And each visit, my surgeon tells me how great I am healing and how fabulous my range of motion is and the scar in my neck is healing and I keep repeating, "But it really hurts. I don't want to run a marathon, I just want to clean the kitchen floor.

I went back to work (I took off two full weeks and then worked half-days for a week, though the surgeon said a week to ten days would be plenty for me to take off) and I now have to believe I rushed back into work too soon. I just have a desk job - I work at a computer all day - so you would think it would be easy.

No, not so much. Gradually, especially over the last couple of weeks, the pain has been getting worse and worse, this time on my right side rather than my left, until I almost cannot take it anymore.

This is just unbelievable. I don't want to exercise - if doing housework hurts, why would I do something repetitive and pointless that hurts? Physical therapy (I had tried three different types of therapy before the surgery, I haven't done anything since) is even more pointless.

I am 59 years old and I have probably taken a total of two sick days in 41 years of working. I never take aspirin, much less heavy-duty painkillers. This is just becoming unbearable, though. I really can't go into that guy's office tomorrow and hear how great I am doing. Really?
Hi, I had acdf at C4/5, 5/6 and 6/7 on 2/21. I developed excruciating nerve pain in left arm POST-OP and had it for 15 days before it started subsiding. I had no nerve pain pre-op...just a dull ache in left arm. I was terrified thinking that the surgery had caused additional problems, but, now, I'm thinking that the nerve was irritable from being 'jiggled' during surgery and the fact that I had had the pain for almost three years pre-op (assault). I, too, was prescribed PT but have found that it causes pain...we have to listen to our bodies and do what works for us. I cannot do anything repetitive for very long with activating the pain across C6/7 where the worst herniation was. My immediate post-op pain was, also, excruciating; and I had to have strong pain meds which made my blood pressure drop dangerously low. I am just now starting to feel better. My PT and home health nurse think I should be able to do more at this point and have contacted the NS to ask that my x-ray appt. be bumped up since it is scheduled for one month from now...just to try to determine what is going on. Bottom line: listen to your body and do not let anyone dictate how much you do.
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Old 03-24-2012, 04:06 PM #10
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Default Hi French

Yep, I want to do those things too. Loosing function is terrible to go through. I want out in the garden, and to do more too. I am fused C3-7 so I know what you go through. Just do a little at a time. I will go outside this afternoon and just puts around a bit. I wish you all the best. ginnie
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