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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

7 wks acdf c4-5
Jan 10, 2005
:wave: Hello everyone, and a belated Happy New Year!

I'm happy to report my recovery seems to be going very well. I've been back at work since 1-3-05, after 1 level acdf with hip autograft on 11-23. My hip, which was terribly sore and painful for a few weeks, feels completely recovered, but recently the left one has become quite sore in the same spot, like sympathy pain. Weird! I think walking and using my nordic trak at about 17 days really got rid of the graft site soreness.

With resuming a normal workload at home and work, I'm still having some of my old upper/mid-back spine pain, along with a few new, recurrent, though mild, pains on top of shoulders and down tops of arms, and in clavicle area. I've still got painful knots sort of right beside/underneath my shoulder blades, and my upper back really aches when I cook or work in the kitchen! I haven't figured out if something postural is causing this or what. It may just be that I'm in there later in the day, and that's when I tend to have pain. I'm still taking one or 2 vicodin daily, and find it's better if I take one about lunchtime which prevents the pain from building to a higher level. Waiting to take it in early evening after pain has gotten a foothold is much less effective. I've been on this regimen for about 3 weeks. Vicodin doesn't make me sleepy, but does tend to make me very restless. I can't take it before bedtime if I want to sleep well. It has helped me keep doing what I want/need to do, and it's been nice to keep the pain to a manageable level.

I have other bulges on the thecal sac in cervical area that were not addressed with this surgery, and I believe that's causing the mid-back pain. I also have some nerve root compression at c3-c4, which was not addressed either. With the new arm/shoulder/clavicle area pain, I have been wondering if the foraminal narrowing was somehow worsened by surgery.

Muscle spasms have calmed a lot, though I still take 1 robaxin about every other day. I'm pretty much back to normal activities, though I try to do housework in short sessions over several days rather than working too long at once. In the last two weeks I have really been able to relax my shoulders more, I've noticed I'm not having to consciously make myself relax them all the time. I still feel a little arm strain when I sit without arm support. My arms still seem weak, I think the muscles atrophied somewhat over time, but i'm not doing any physical therapy. I've been occasionally lifting up to 25 pounds without problems, but I'm very careful and gentle with forceful exertions.

My neck feels much better, mobility is better than before surgery. I can turn my head with less pain now that the bone spur's gone! The muscle's feel a little tired sometimes, and I've had some trouble with pain after sleeping on the couch. I bought new pillows tonight, since I've had a few mornings with an achy neck. I think the pillow will help. I need a pillow that's soft but not flat.

This is my second week back on the job, and I'm holding up pretty well. I teach, and it's pretty demanding, I'm on my feet almost constantly, but I'm doing OK. Can still do a few things after work :D

So, thanks for reading. I hope my experience/outcome will ease fears for others anticipating surgery, and if anyone has any feedback about my continuing pains etc. I'd appreciate hearing from you. I'm so busy now I won't be able to post often, but want to stay in touch.

To those who just had or will soon have surgery, best of luck to you, and stay in touch here. It's very helpful.


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