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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board


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[QUOTE=shurna]I had ACDF with two fusions in the C spine (C4/C5 and C5/C6), titanium plate, and cleaning out extra bone growth. It is 2 1/2 weeks post op and I am doing very well. My doctor says I will need to wear a hard neck collar (philidelph collar) for three months along with neck exercizes to increase neck muscle strength. It seems a bit long to be using a collar and I am a shy about going out in public as well as I am not sure how much I should be moving around. And wearing a hard collar will also prevent going back to the work as I am unemployed at the moment.

Can anyone advice me who has had similar surgery if they had to wear a hard collar for that long? And when they were able to go back to normal activities? And when they were able to go back to an active lifestyle?

I appreciate the feedback.[/QUOTE]
Hi there, Well i had a acdf C 4-5 and C 5-6 just like you, except i have titanium cages put in place and filled with Demineralized Bone Matrix. I had my surgery April 5th. I still have alot of pain!!!! Most days i ask myself why i had the surgery. Anyways, after my surgery i only had to wear a soft collar for about 6 weeks. When i went back for my one week post op checkup i was told the heaviest thing i could lift was a gallon of milk. that was all i could lift for about a month. Went back for my approx. 6 week post op check up and he raised me up to being able to lift up to 25 pounds. that is my limit for 2 months. I go back again in July and he will raise me up to 50 pounds for 2 months. After that i am not sure if i will have another weight restriction or if he will turn me loose!!!!!! I still have pain in my neck, shoulders and arms. The pain in the shoulder and arms is a little less than before the surgery but the neck pain i think alot of the times is worse. The neck pain also feels different than before, it feels like bone pain. Everyday i hope that it gets better but it hasnt yet. Anyway, sorry i cant give you info about the hard collar, i just thought i would respond to you seeing how we have alot in common. Hope i helped some, Wendy
I had C5/6&6/7 with plating and and bone from my own hip. I had to wear the hard brace (Phila******a collar) for 6 weeks. During this time I was told no lifting more than 5 lbs. (a gallon of milk).

As far as going out I went out in public about one week after surgery. I went grocery shopping with my mother - I was very cautious in walking around and anytime someone came near me with a cart I just about froze in my steps. After that trip it got easier going out in public - about 14 days after surgery I went to the mall with my sister - she went her way and I went mine.

After the brace came off I was told no more than 10 lbs. lifting and I started PT right away. I returned to work the day after the brace came off - but was told no lifting or strenuous movements, if I got pain stop doing what I was doing and rest. It was about 6 months before I can say I was truly back to doing things I did before surgery.

One thing I did do, was I did not rely solely on the neck brace for support, yes, I wore it as I was supposed to but when sitting in a chair I tended to try to use the muscles in the neck to hold up my head. I did not rest my chin on the brace at all times. The Rehab Doctor was very surprised at how much strength I had in my neck once the brace was removed. When I told him what I did he said this is why I had the strength. I did not start doing this until about the third week.

Good luck with your recovery and remember to take it easy - do what you think you can do but don't overdo.
I had ACDF and PCDF of C2-3, 3-4, 4-5 and 5-6 on March 29th. I wore the Miami J hard brace for three full months and have just been out of it for less than a week. I wore a Phila******a collar when showering for the first six weeks. I could remove the hard collar at night when sleeping. I had a 10 pound weight restriction and still have weight restriction. I had grafting and titanium plating front and back. I had a 3 inch incision in the front and a 6-1/2 inch incision in the back, both of which have healed beautifully. I am still in pain, although I am improving every day and feel so much better than I did before surgery and the first month after surgery. I am 74 years young and my NS was amazed at how well I am doing. I am doing almost everything I did before, although I had to give up my life-long profession of medical transcription as it was contributing to the stress on my spine. My whole spine is affected with spinal degeneration and osteoarthritis, but the neck region was the worst and the danger of paralysis was the determining factor in my deciding to have surgery. It was no picnic and I am still a long way from being completely healed but I know by doing what the doctor says and taking care of myself and getting proper diet, exercise and rest, I will continue to improve. Good luck to all who have had this surgery recently or are contemplating having it. I still take Percocet and Flexeril every day, although one a day of each whereas when I first had surgery I was taking both every three hours, so that is a great improvement in itself.

God Bless and Good Luck :wave:

Pat





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