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Hi!

Long time lurker - first time poster. Wish I had a better prognosis ... But, never the less, here I am.

...I am 30 yrs old and had an ACDF C5/6 on Feb. 27...

I will start from the begining...

3 1/2 - 4 years ago I went to the ER with chest pains...After a complete work up it was decided that I had not had a heart attack...but was probably pretty close (relatively speaking if I did not do something about it)

...I was 50 lbs overweight had high cholesterol and high blood pressure...for the past couple of years I have managed to lose 40lbs get my cholesterol and blood pressure under control with no medications...but the chest pain still lingered...

In june of 2005 my wife gave birth to our son...After carting him around...painting a nursery...and doing all the manual labor (which I'm not used to being a computer geek for a living), I started having a lot of neck and chest pain. After freaking out over the next few months...and many trips to the ER, I found out that I had a herniated disc that absolutly HAD to be operated on or I would lose all function in my left arm...Prior to the surgery I had intense chest pain and a lot of numbness in my left arm and face... I also had the classic symptoms of thumb and index finger numbness. It was also confirmed on an EMG that I had C6 nerve damage.

February 27th comes along and I have the surgery...The Neurosurgeon tells me everything went well...nerves have been totally decompressed...I leave the hospital the next with a lot of throat pain a lot of meds...The first week or so I have no chest or arm pain..the incision sight is very sore and so is my throat...over the next few days the throat pain subsides but I develop some "soreness" in my neck..and I start to notice my right eye is drooping a lot and the pupil is not the same size as the left one...that along with a rapid heartbeat sends me to the ER...After a few days in the hospital its determined the rapid heartbeat is due to dehdration and the droopy eye/small pupil is Horner's Syndrome.

I go home being told to drink plenty of water and that the Horner's should fix itself...Gradually my pain worsens...I start having chest pain, neck pain, arm pain & numbness...so basically I am back where I started...I call the neurosugeon on call and tell her about my pain...she says "go to the local ER and get X-Rays" So I do...Everything looks great...I'm told to take percocet and the muscle relaxer skelaxin (which I have been taking since after the surgery)...Pain is still getting worse and on top of it all I've developed a sinus infection...Taking antibiotics for this..

Which brings me to yesterday...After emailing back and forth with the nurse at the hospital where I had my surgery, I decided I can't take the pain anymore and have my wife drive me to that hospital...at that point I am still wearing my Phila******a collar which I have been wearing the entire time religiously... When I was originally fitted for it, I was given a large as it was thought the medium was too small. After surgery, the surgeon gave me the medium saying the large was too big.

Once I get there, I get an X-Ray and I'm told that the bones are starting to fuse and to remove the collar...I was told that I can take 600mg of Motrin 3 - 4 times a day for pain along with my Skelaxin...this makes me a little nervous as I've ready many things saying that taking Nsaids could cause the bones not to fuse...I did take it once today and found it gave me little to no refief...I will probably not take this again...

If someone can give me any advice as to what to do I'd really appreciate it...I have an MRI tomorrow to check for bone spurs...I have not started physical therapy / rehab yet...Any advice or stories would be great to hear!

Is all of this simply the "way things should be"? Perhaps muscle spasms? Something to do with the collar?

And I passed a stress test in January with flying colors apparently - my blood pressure at rest is typically 115/75 and pulse is ~70. I'm 5'7 and 180 (still a little more weight loss to go but I've made a lot of progress from my original 230!)
I've had a 3 level, C4-7, and it sounds like you are doing fairly well after the single level. At one month post op, I would have thought you'd only have an x-ray, but checking for bone spurs is good.

You do know that smoking and caffiene can inhibit fusion, don't you? Stay away from them for a while.

Make sure your question your NS about therapy. If he thinks you're ready, the sooner you go in and start working they better you will feel in the long run. One suggestion, take your pain med about an hour before your appointment. It will kick in, so you won't be as bothered by the soreness after the session.

I also experienced some "tightness" in my back between my shoulder blades. My doctor suggested massage. If I could only get insurance to pay for that. :D

wb
[QUOTE=whackedback]I've had a 3 level, C4-7, and it sounds like you are doing fairly well after the single level. At one month post op, I would have thought you'd only have an x-ray, but checking for bone spurs is good.

You do know that smoking and caffiene can inhibit fusion, don't you? Stay away from them for a while.

Make sure your question your NS about therapy. If he thinks you're ready, the sooner you go in and start working they better you will feel in the long run. One suggestion, take your pain med about an hour before your appointment. It will kick in, so you won't be as bothered by the soreness after the session.

I also experienced some "tightness" in my back between my shoulder blades. My doctor suggested massage. If I could only get insurance to pay for that. :D

wb[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the words of encouragement!! After being told that it would be magic and I would "wake up with no pain", I am finding it is VERY different!!

And in regards to caffiene or smoking - I don't do either. Matter of fact, my nutrition life as done a complete turn around. I can't bring myself to shop anywhere else than Whole Foods because the are the only store that has a selection of healthy choices for me! :)

But it sounds like you had pain - muscular specifically? How long did it last? .... How are you doing today?

Anyone else?
Hi,

I had ACDF C5-6 and C6-7 in June of 2004.

It seems that your problems are a bit worse than normal (based on your descriptions). I would keep on top of things as you progress.

The two things you mentioned spasms and the collar, should be considered. First, muscle spasms are common in this surgery, because your
body "protects" the area of "injury". Your body is essentially inactive during the first couple of weeks, and it is healing. Spasms will mask themselves, and feel like all sorts of other things, including the pain you felt before surgery. Remember, you are sleeping in strange positions also, so this can cause neck muscle pain. If you can pinpoint the areas, apply hot and cold alternately, about 15 minutes each. Don't do this for more than 30-45 minutes at a time. Also try muscle rubs like Ben Gay. I found Flexall to be very helpful. Try to get some normal excercise each day, like walking for 20-30 minutes. Don't do anything heavy duty or stressful.

I had a problem with the fit of my collar, so much so that it made me dizzy. Try to add some extra padding if you continue to wear it.

Keep us posted.

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Hi,

I had ACDF C5-6 and C6-7 in June of 2004.

It seems that your problems are a bit worse than normal (based on your descriptions). I would keep on top of things as you progress.

The two things you mentioned spasms and the collar, should be considered. First, muscle spasms are common in this surgery, because your
body "protects" the area of "injury". Your body is essentially inactive during the first couple of weeks, and it is healing. Spasms will mask themselves, and feel like all sorts of other things, including the pain you felt before surgery. Remember, you are sleeping in strange positions also, so this can cause neck muscle pain. If you can pinpoint the areas, apply hot and cold alternately, about 15 minutes each. Don't do this for more than 30-45 minutes at a time. Also try muscle rubs like Ben Gay. I found Flexall to be very helpful. Try to get some normal excercise each day, like walking for 20-30 minutes. Don't do anything heavy duty or stressful.

I had a problem with the fit of my collar, so much so that it made me dizzy. Try to add some extra padding if you continue to wear it.

Keep us posted.

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the suggestions!

I am no longer wearing the collar (as per the doctor) due to the fact that I am starting to fuse. He felt that it is no longer necessary...

Perhaps I am far enough along that I do not need the additional support of the collar? Dunno. Unfortunately, he was not very specific about the quality / amount of fusing.

I'm still pressing for answers / information from the nurse but am certainly interested in hearing this stuff from people with real world experience in the mean time!
I was just about to post something simular to yours until I read your post. I do not have chest problems nor was I ever overweight so that is different but not much else. I had surgery to fuse C4/5 on 2/15. My spinal cord was moderate to severely depressed to 6.5mm for over 1 1/2 years before surgery. This is my second spinal surgery also, I had a post decomp of 6/7 in April 2003. I started have major issues about 3 months post my injury and it never got better. I had arm, shoulder, neck, wrist and finger pain. Not numbing but pain. I too thought this was the answer. Well, I am 5 weeks out and I still have the same pain and often worse. My shoulder region from the middle of my shoulder blades to my armpit area as well as the tips of my shoulders hurt and ache all the time. My fingers ache when my 7mo grabs them and he surely isn't that strong. I am still on muscle relaxers (3rd kind) and pain killers as needed. I am recovering from a hysterctomy 3/13 and am doing better with that then my neck. I would think the rest from this would help but it hasn't. I too would like to solicite any post ACDF's out there to see when and if the pain goes away? I go back on the 31st and fear being released back to work since this is W/C and I do not think I can go 8 hours plus 2 hours of driving right now. I would love to work out again, ride my horses again and I too wonder if I will ever be able to.

K
[QUOTE=Backinthesaddle]I was just about to post something simular to yours until I read your post. I do not have chest problems nor was I ever overweight so that is different but not much else. I had surgery to fuse C4/5 on 2/15. My spinal cord was moderate to severely depressed to 6.5mm for over 1 1/2 years before surgery. This is my second spinal surgery also, I had a post decomp of 6/7 in April 2003. I started have major issues about 3 months post my injury and it never got better. I had arm, shoulder, neck, wrist and finger pain. Not numbing but pain. I too thought this was the answer. Well, I am 5 weeks out and I still have the same pain and often worse. My shoulder region from the middle of my shoulder blades to my armpit area as well as the tips of my shoulders hurt and ache all the time. My fingers ache when my 7mo grabs them and he surely isn't that strong. I am still on muscle relaxers (3rd kind) and pain killers as needed. I am recovering from a hysterctomy 3/13 and am doing better with that then my neck. I would think the rest from this would help but it hasn't. I too would like to solicite any post ACDF's out there to see when and if the pain goes away? I go back on the 31st and fear being released back to work since this is W/C and I do not think I can go 8 hours plus 2 hours of driving right now. I would love to work out again, ride my horses again and I too wonder if I will ever be able to.

K[/QUOTE]

Best of luck to you!

I am trying the suggestions of others with heat and cold... It hasn't kicked in 100% yet, but I'm giving it a shot!

As I recover / find more information, I will certainly keep posting in this thread. Hopefully I can provide some light at the end of the tunnel assuming I have some of my own!

How about everyone else?
Hi Ouch,

I did the heat/cold early after surgery too. I dont remember how much it helped to be honest, but I know it made me feel better to be doing something! Now I find that heat helps more than anything, hot showers heating pad, ect.

My surgeon said with the extent of my neurological impairment before surgery it was likely that I would have some permanent nerve damage. He also said this type of surgery did not guarantee that the pain would go away.
He did say that 95% of the relief/recovery from symptoms would happen immediately after surgery, with the other 5% coming over time. In my case I found that to be true. I've read/heard of others that started out with the same pain and symptoms only to have them fade away in time. Hopefully that will include you!

I did have a couple questions though, just curious (nosy).

Did they find a connection between the neck problem and the chest pain?
Or the facial numbness?

Did they put a plate in?

How did your MRI look?

You're still early in the recovery process. Just take things slow and dont overdo it. This procedure has a high sucess rate.

You might ask your Dr if you could take a different pain med like vicodin or something. It sucks to be in pain all the time.

Hey best of luck to you, keep postig, and take it slow......Mike
[QUOTE=mb100]Hi Ouch,

I did the heat/cold early after surgery too. I dont remember how much it helped to be honest, but I know it made me feel better to be doing something! Now I find that heat helps more than anything, hot showers heating pad, ect.

My surgeon said with the extent of my neurological impairment before surgery it was likely that I would have some permanent nerve damage. He also said this type of surgery did not guarantee that the pain would go away.
He did say that 95% of the relief/recovery from symptoms would happen immediately after surgery, with the other 5% coming over time. In my case I found that to be true. I've read/heard of others that started out with the same pain and symptoms only to have them fade away in time. Hopefully that will include you!

I did have a couple questions though, just curious (nosy).

Did they find a connection between the neck problem and the chest pain?
Or the facial numbness?

Did they put a plate in?

How did your MRI look?

You're still early in the recovery process. Just take things slow and dont overdo it. This procedure has a high sucess rate.

You might ask your Dr if you could take a different pain med like vicodin or something. It sucks to be in pain all the time.

Hey best of luck to you, keep postig, and take it slow......Mike[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the words!

In regards to your questions :

1 - They felt it was "likely" that there was a connection due to the lack of other areas confirming issues (such as extensive heart workups etc)

2 - I have a titanium plate with 4 screws

3 - Just got back from the MRI - we'll see what the doc says when he has an opportunity to look it over (hopefully soon)
Hey ouch,

Did he give you pain meds? No point in suffering....

You might want to get a copy of your MRI report too. I've got all of my films and reports to go with them. They'll come in handy if you ever need to go to a different Dr. My Dr. threw out my original films after surgery. I was not happy, I bought a second set from the place that did the MRI. From that time to now, I made sure none of them got lost. I had a CT scan that I got a copy of on disc, Shows you the fusion like nothing else will. Interesting stuff.

The chest pain was a new one on me. But not a surprise by any stretch, I've heard of, and had, a slew of symptoms.

Anyway, take it easy and I hope you feel better.

Mike
[QUOTE=mb100]Hey ouch,

Did he give you pain meds? No point in suffering....

You might want to get a copy of your MRI report too. I've got all of my films and reports to go with them. They'll come in handy if you ever need to go to a different Dr. My Dr. threw out my original films after surgery. I was not happy, I bought a second set from the place that did the MRI. From that time to now, I made sure none of them got lost. I had a CT scan that I got a copy of on disc, Shows you the fusion like nothing else will. Interesting stuff.

The chest pain was a new one on me. But not a surprise by any stretch, I've heard of, and had, a slew of symptoms.

Anyway, take it easy and I hope you feel better.

Mike[/QUOTE]

Yea - I have a mix of different mediciines...

Skelaxin, Percoet... None of those seem to do much.

I did try a Valium 5mg a few hours ago and that helped prior to the MRI.

I'm sure laying on that hard thing for an hour straight put me back in pain again, but I *DID* have two nice hours of relief. Took it down from an 8 to a 2 on the pain level.

Perhaps there is something to be said there...
Ouch,

HEhehe feels real good when that pain subsides dont it???
[QUOTE=mb100]Ouch,

HEhehe feels real good when that pain subsides dont it???[/QUOTE]

Too good.

I almost feel myself tensing up waiting for the pain to start again. :(
Call the doc for a stronger drug if you have to. Dont sweat it, you wont get addicted if you have genuine pain. Anyone on here will tell you the same. Make yourself comfortable as possible, not at the keyboard I would guess???

Take it easy

Mike
Touch-

My road to recovery was not as smooth as yours will be. I had a spinal fluid leak post surgery and spent 6 days in the ICU while it drained from a tap in my lumbar. That original ACDF was in 2002.

The surgeon left part of the middle disc in for stability. It later shifted and compressed my cord at C5/6. I just had a posterior laminectomy in February to fix that. So the whole process took 4 years. I begin PT for that surgery starting this coming Monday. it was my 4th (2 cervical, 2 lumbar). As far as I'm concerned, I'm done. Thus my handle, whackedback.

I'm only now beginning to feel normal.

wb
WB

I hear ya. I'm trying to schedule my second cervical now. Ouch is a rookie but I remember that first time and it sucked. Not knowing whats next, thats the worst.....

Good luck on your therapy, I know I dont have to tell you to take it slow.....

Mike
[QUOTE=mb100]Call the doc for a stronger drug if you have to. Dont sweat it, you wont get addicted if you have genuine pain. Anyone on here will tell you the same. Make yourself comfortable as possible, not at the keyboard I would guess???

Take it easy

Mike[/QUOTE]

Yea - the valium seems to be a big help - waiting for my next dose at 6 to confirm :)

And I just happen to walk by the computer - not spending hours at it (although it may seem so the way I have been posting...)

Perhaps I could use an extended break....
[QUOTE=mb100]WB

I hear ya. I'm trying to schedule my second cervical now. Ouch is a rookie but I remember that first time and it sucked. Not knowing whats next, thats the worst.....

Good luck on your therapy, I know I dont have to tell you to take it slow.....

Mike[/QUOTE]

Ah... Yes - good way of putting it. Not knowing what is next!

Sigh. :)
Touch-

My road to recovery was not as smooth as yours will be. I had a spinal fluid leak post surgery and spent 6 days in the ICU while it drained from a tap in my lumbar.

The surgeon left part of the middle disc in for stability. It later shifted and compressed my cord at C5/6. I just had a posterior laminectomy in February to fix that. So the whole process took 4 years. I begin PT for that surgery starting this coming Monday. it was my 4th (2 cervical, 2 lumbar). As far as I'm concerned, I'm done. Thus my handle, whackedback.

I'm only now beginning to feel normal.

wb
I forgot to put in my previous post, that I had all the chest pain, shoulder pain, arm pain and numbness, and finger tingling on my left side [B]prior[/B] to my surgery. I went for a number of years thinking it was heart problem. I was taken to emergency room by ambulance.

It took about five years before the first MRI revealed what was wrong. Then another 13 years before they would do surgery on me.

I never had the chest pain [B]after[/B] surgery, so I left it out of my post.

One thing you should be aware of is that it takes some time for the nerves to settle down after surgery (they were in there messing around), plus they were pinched for a while too! They will settle down, then you have to see if they will recover totally...I still have a little residual nerve damage (20 months later). My index finger tingles a little when I move into certain positions.

I remember one month out, still being pretty weak and sore...It takes a while for this process. Hang in there.
[QUOTE=whackedback]Touch-

My road to recovery was not as smooth as yours will be. I had a spinal fluid leak post surgery and spent 6 days in the ICU while it drained from a tap in my lumbar.

The surgeon left part of the middle disc in for stability. It later shifted and compressed my cord at C5/6. I just had a posterior laminectomy in February to fix that. So the whole process took 4 years. I begin PT for that surgery starting this coming Monday. it was my 4th (2 cervical, 2 lumbar). As far as I'm concerned, I'm done. Thus my handle, whackedback.

I'm only now beginning to feel normal.

wb[/QUOTE]

Wow! Jeez. Good to hear that you are at least getting on the track to recovery!
[QUOTE=dennisgb]I forgot to put in my previous post, that I had all the chest pain, shoulder pain, arm pain and numbness, and finger tingling on my left side [B]prior[/B] to my surgery. I went for a number of years thinking it was heart problem. I was taken to emergency room by ambulance.

It took about five years before the first MRI revealed what was wrong. Then another 13 years before they would do surgery on me.

I never had the chest pain [B]after[/B] surgery, so I left it out of my post.

One thing you should be aware of is that it takes some time for the nerves to settle down after surgery (they were in there messing around), plus they were pinched for a while too! They will settle down, then you have to see if they will recover totally...I still have a little residual nerve damage (20 months later). My index finger tingles a little when I move into certain positions.

I remember one month out, still being pretty weak and sore...It takes a while for this process. Hang in there.[/QUOTE]

Cool!

Thanks....

This was the EXACT type of outcome I was hoping someone else had!
Dennis,

Why such a long wait for surgery? Your idea or theirs? I'm suprised any of you're symptoms went away after that length of time. I'm still walkin like I'm three sheets, And I dont even drink.

Mike
Ouch-

Make sure you talk to your NS to get the OK, but I still highly recommend therapeutic massage. I still go at least once a month. Worth every friggin' penny. :bouncing:

wb
MB100,

When I was first diagnosed 15 years ago the protical was, talk to a nuerosurgeon. Then they would ask you how bad the pain was, and if you could live with it. I was dealing with degenerative issues, so back then, once I knew what was going on, they would find alternatives to the surgery (they still do today). They won't just cut you open...

I went to chiropractor for about 8 years and actually got good relief. Towards the end it just didn't last very long. It finally got to the point that I couldn't stand the pain anymore, and was losing strength in my left arm. I just demanded that something be done. It still took a year before I finally had the surgery. The last few weeks before, I could only stand for a few minutes, because the pain was so bad.

The way I feel today, I wish I woould have had the surery 15 years ago.

Hope that explains it?
[QUOTE=whackedback]Ouch-

Make sure you talk to your NS to get the OK, but I still highly recommend therapeutic massage. I still go at least once a month. Worth every friggin' penny. :bouncing:

wb[/QUOTE]

Sounds like a reasonable suggestion to me!
Hey Dennis,

Bummer. I hope Ouch feels better after reading that. Mine was quick and dirty like his. Three months from accident to surgery. The neurological deficits were escalating too fast to wait. There were wilds swings in the severity of the symptoms too. One day I'd feel "OK", the next day cant lift my leg or hardly close my right fist.

I had asked two different surgeons about the BMP and neither one thought it made a significant difference. They said the fusion rate was high anyway. I was a little offended since I had a failure at C-6/7 and you can see through
C-5/6. Well...a little bit.

Take it slow, Mike
[QUOTE=mb100]Hey Dennis,

Bummer. I hope Ouch feels better after reading that. Mine was quick and dirty like his. Three months from accident to surgery. The neurological deficits were escalating too fast to wait. There were wilds swings in the severity of the symptoms too. One day I'd feel "OK", the next day cant lift my leg or hardly close my right fist.

I had asked two different surgeons about the BMP and neither one thought it made a significant difference. They said the fusion rate was high anyway. I was a little offended since I had a failure at C-6/7 and you can see through
C-5/6. Well...a little bit.

Take it slow, Mike[/QUOTE]

It does help! ...
Hi Dennisgb,

I'm just wondering if you are from Canada or the UK. When I lived in the US, surgery seemed readily available. In Canada, with socialized medicine, it takes months to even see a specialist & that's afer months & months to get an MRI. (I ended up paying $1,000 for a MRI to get in the Neurosurgeon's office.)

'Just curious if you're comfortable sharing.

JackieH :wave:
Jackie,

I'm in US. I have the highest level of health insurance available.

This issue with degenerative problems is, do we have to do surgery? Everyones spine and disks degenerate, but some have problems. In my case, I had bone spurs that had grown into the nerve passages. It took years for it to become severe. I probably went longer than most, but it was a case of "the squeeky wheel gets the oil". I had to go through two surgeons, before I found one that would operate. They all think they can treat you...even when it fails. I think it's a money machine for some. I can tell a lot of stories about doctors that are connected to pain clinics, physical therapists, strength builders...and on and on.

How many times do you go through PT, injections and pills, with poor results, before you know, that something has to be done to correct the problem? I went through it all, and suffered with side effects, and more pain. Finally, after being told by my surgeon that I needed to go to a strength conditioning clinic for six months 2 times a week at $180 a pop, before he would operate (after he told me he was scheduling my surgery), I went back to my GP and told him they had one choice. Find me a surgeon that will do this surgery, or they would here from my attorney.

There is a protocall. This surgery is expensive. The insurers want to avoid the expense first. This is a big problem with medicine in the US. Don't get me wrong, I think the proper screeninig should be done to avoid unnessesary surgery. The problem is, that people who need it aren't getting it either. I had a bone spur the size of your index finger pushing against the nerve...it honestly felt like a finger in my neck. What more do you need?

I learned how to actually gently move the bones so that the nerve would free up. That's how I lived with it for so long. Toward the end, I couldn't do that anymore.

Anyway, degenerative problems are handled differently from injuries.
Apparently the MRI didn't show anything of interest (he just got the report - not the actual films yet).

...

Still lookin for my answer.

I'm trying to get to be more active as it seems I wore my collar longer than others (but not too active to overdo / hurt myself) and see if that helps...

Things like walking for 30 mins / moving the arms around a bit more etc etc...
I wore the collar for four months...you think you had it on long.
[QUOTE=dennisgb]I wore the collar for four months...you think you had it on long.[/QUOTE]

WOW!

That is a REALLY long time.

What I'm starting to wonder now is that if I should be exploring things like physical therapy... Maybe that is all I need?
ouch,

Ask the doc. Some dont order ANY therapy if you can believe it. And some patients dont wear a collar at all. The docs seem to all have their own preference on surgery and treatment options. I think mine started at about 8 weeks.

Mike
Be aware it takes a year for full fusion. I didn't start PT until after 6 months. You don't want to damage the healing.

Don't be too fast on this.

Ask your docs, they will tell you when they think your ready.

Once you start, don't ever quit. Make sure they give you excercises that keep you loose and strengthen the neck. It's important to avoid the domino effect.

I do excercises every other day that keep me loose and keep my neck strong. Takes about 15 minutes, and boy do I know it if I miss a session.
Ouch,

I agree with Dennis about not going too fast.

But the once you start, dont stop with therapy I'll caution you a little. I hurt myself a few weeks in and I just kept on a goin. Big mistake. I either blew out another disc, or thats when my fusion broke loose, one or the other, maybe even both. That was confirmed by an orthopedic surgeon that did an Independent medical exam. But the therapist and the doc said that kind of pain was normal, so I kept going. I got a letter about an hour ago that my second surgery (cervical) was finally OK'd. I dont know whether to laugh or cry, ya know. It took a long time.

When something doesnt feel right you better question it. I was actually suprised they sent you for an MRI this quick. I waited 18 months post op.

Take it slow Mike
[QUOTE=mb100]Ouch,

I agree with Dennis about not going too fast.

But the once you start, dont stop with therapy I'll caution you a little. I hurt myself a few weeks in and I just kept on a goin. Big mistake. I either blew out another disc, or thats when my fusion broke loose, one or the other, maybe even both. That was confirmed by an orthopedic surgeon that did an Independent medical exam. But the therapist and the doc said that kind of pain was normal, so I kept going. I got a letter about an hour ago that my second surgery (cervical) was finally OK'd. I dont know whether to laugh or cry, ya know. It took a long time.

When something doesnt feel right you better question it. I was actually suprised they sent you for an MRI this quick. I waited 18 months post op.

Take it slow Mike[/QUOTE]

All noted!!!! :)

I'm just going to try the simple things - walking at least 30 - 40 mins (even if I have to break it up) a day and see if that helps get my body healing.

I think the miracle stories and the false expectations that I had from my NS made me feel like I was simply crazy for being as bad as I am...

Now that I am trying to take a slightly different attitude and swapping my percocet which did nothing for me for 5mg 3x of Valium + tylenol... Things are much more bearable.

I'm not ready to dance and sing yet, but ... It seems to be helping if nothing else!
HiDennis & everyone,

I had the same problem as you. Bone spurs from c3-c7. My US surgeon offered me surgery right away if I wanted it. (Then it was only a 1 level herniation, 8 yrs ago so I passed.)

'Just had acdf w/hip bone c5-6 6-7 seven weeks ago here in Canada.
I had Kaiser Permanente in LA for, like 20 years! I had 2 babies & 4 surgeries , 4 MRIs tons of other stuff for me & my family & never had an issue.

If I wanted a specialist, the GP would get me in the next day practically. If I needed an MRI, the GP could order it herself w/no middle-man. If I didn't care for a neurologist or surgeon...they'd send me to another. 'No problem. Our drugs were $4 a Rx. Here I pay $300 a month aprox. full price for drugs & $108 a month for the "free" socialized medicine.

No soap box here. I love my home country of Canada. I'm just a less-government-is-better kind of gal. The reason I'm sharing this, knowing that most folks on the boards are in the US, is to let you know that federal gov. health care is not the answer either. To be frank, I think it's a mess here.
Idealy, there needs to be a happy medium between private & government health care. More ethics in the entire medical community & less frivilous malpractice suits as well in the States to make it all work.

Must not ramble. :yawn:

Anyway, you take good care of yourself, Dennis & everyone here. Listen to your bodies. My hospital PT said if I get iritable at all...that is my body telling me to rest. I'm still using her advice as best I can.
And I'm always grateful that I'm not typing on any of the cancer patient boards or parapaligic support boards.

Still, this is very difficult...chronic pain. And I'm so happy that I have the support & information provided on this board.

God Bless,
JackieH :wave:
All,

I can't begin to thank each and every one of you for your support and advice throughout this post op pain.

What was once a constant 8, has now migrated to a 2-6 over the course of the day.

So what am I doing?

1000mg Tylenol 3x day (usually)
5mg Valium 2x day (usually)
HECK of a lot of heat / ice (15 on, 15 off)

Is the pain still there? Yup. Do I feel like I see a light at the end of the tunnel?? I HESITATE (fear of a jinx? :D) to say yes.... But... I have to say so!

Again, thank you one and all.

I think the above 3 things and everyones support is what has made me get to where I am today.

Perhaps not having the collar on has attributed to it as well. Not sure, but I'm just sticking with what I got goin on!

I have had a small bout of a level 8 pain here and there, but it either does not last as long or is controlled MUCH more than before!
And after posting my last message... I had one more thought / question.

To all of you that were "pain-free" after surgery.... What do you mean by that?

The "intense" pain that you had was gone, but still some lingering pain / numbness or it was REALLY all gone.

I wonder if that definition is what had me overly concerned too....
Ouch, hang in there. There will always be people who appear to be ahead of or behind your own recovery curve. Much of this stuff is like comparing apples to aircraft carriers. Your experience will be your experience. I hope you feel better soon.

[QUOTE=dennisgb]There is a protocall. This surgery is expensive. The insurers want to avoid the expense first. This is a big problem with medicine in the US. Don't get me wrong, I think the proper screeninig should be done to avoid unnessesary surgery. The problem is, that people who need it aren't getting it either.[/QUOTE]
I thought this was THE big problem before visiting these boards.

At least in my experience, surgery is avoided at all costs.

Certainly, in the case of ACDF, surgery is the last option in a long line of protocols. And there's a tremendous amount of legalese in those protocols. The insurers will only cover a surgery, usually, if it provides for a "significantly" better outcome than the alternative treatment options. Often, the surgeons will need to justify their surgical judgment - plates and BMP, especially, are very, very expensive. A person can be in very, very bad shape before a Dr. ever utters the word surgery, much less gets the necessary approvals or pre-certifications.

You know what's worse than considering surgery? Being told surgery is no longer an option.
[QUOTE=funny4mony]Ouch, hang in there. There will always be people who appear to be ahead of or behind your own recovery curve. Much of this stuff is like comparing apples to aircraft carriers. Your experience will be your experience. I hope you feel better soon.
[/QUOTE]

Thanks.

That does sound like a very valid point! Just hard one to swallow when you see others doing so well :)
[QUOTE=acdfouch]And after posting my last message... I had one more thought / question.

To all of you that were "pain-free" after surgery.... What do you mean by that?

The "intense" pain that you had was gone, but still some lingering pain / numbness or it was REALLY all gone.

I wonder if that definition is what had me overly concerned too....[/QUOTE]

I am 90% better than I was before the surgery. I can maintain about a 99% pain free situation, as long as I am diligent about excercise. This is one of the most important things, and the most difficult for me, as I didn't excercise much before my surgery. If I miss a session, I feel it. My neck will tighten up and the muscles will spasm. I'm hoping that at some point down the road this won't be as critical, because I travel quite a bit for my job, and it's hard to carry my weights with me.

I was in terrible pain before the surgery. I had "instant" relief right after the procedure. So much so, I didn't take many meds. The pain from the surgery was about 25% of the pain I had before. Now, during recovery, there were spasms and issues like everyone that goes through this, but within 3-4 months, I was so much better.

I am able to do things that were impossible before my surgery. I painted my 2 story house last summer. I couldn't climb a ladder before, let alone look up to paint eaves. I love to fish, and could not get on a boat before surgery, because one bump would put me down in pain. Now, I have made three deep sea fishing trips (I live in the midwest US), and fish my home lakes regularly.

I could go on and on, but other than a slight tingle (hardly noticeable), in my left index finger on occasion, the pain from before the surgery is gone. I am also in the best physical shape since I was in my 20's (I'm 54), due to the excercise regime.
[QUOTE=funny4mony]Certainly, in the case of ACDF, surgery is the last option in a long line of protocols. And there's a tremendous amount of legalese in those protocols. The insurers will only cover a surgery, usually, if it provides for a "significantly" better outcome than the alternative treatment options. Often, the surgeons will need to justify their surgical judgment - plates and BMP, especially, are very, very expensive. A person can be in very, very bad shape before a Dr. ever utters the word surgery, much less gets the necessary approvals or pre-certifications.

You know what's worse than considering surgery? Being told surgery is no longer an option.[/QUOTE]

Funny4Mony,

I have to agree with you. I had to fight to get this surgery...even after all of the doctors agreed that it was nessesary.
I went to my doc today--four weeks post op for double ACDF for c4-5 and c5-6. I mentioned in another thread yesterday that I am in a lot more pain and have lot more numbness than before surgery. He showed me the xrays and said everything looked good as far as the fusion and spacing (like I have anything to compare his analysis to).

Anyway, I think he bleieved I was still in pain--would not refill my percocets but gave me lortab instead, not sure if they will work or not, but the percocet barely touches the pain. Wouldn't give me valium. At a cost to my insurer of $30K for this procedure, I would think the docs woulnd't be so stingy with the meds.

He didn;t have any answers really why I still have so much pain and numbness (my entire left hand is 100% pins and needles 24 x 7). The only thing he mentioned was that my smoking was potenitally to blame, that this could delay the fusion or even prevent it--never told me this prior to surgery or after surgery, just now, 4 weeks later. But then again he said the fusion looked like it was going OK--like I said, no real answers. I am not really upset nor do I blame hm for anything, he is a pretty good guy, but I think the expectations he set prior to surgery were way too rosy.

He said to take it eady for another month and see what happens--he said I may have to do PT which is a bummer, but oh well, I guess I will start analyzing the pain and numbness on a weekly basis and keep a log of the apina nd numbness to see if it improving at all week over week. Thanks to all who replied on the other thread.
[QUOTE=jjmaxx]I went to my doc today--four weeks post op for double ACDF for c4-5 and c5-6. I mentioned in another thread yesterday that I am in a lot more pain and have lot more numbness than before surgery. He showed me the xrays and said everything looked good as far as the fusion and spacing (like I have anything to compare his analysis to).

Anyway, I think he bleieved I was still in pain--would not refill my percocets but gave me lortab instead, not sure if they will work or not, but the percocet barely touches the pain. Wouldn't give me valium. At a cost to my insurer of $30K for this procedure, I would think the docs woulnd't be so stingy with the meds.

He didn;t have any answers really why I still have so much pain and numbness (my entire left hand is 100% pins and needles 24 x 7). The only thing he mentioned was that my smoking was potenitally to blame, that this could delay the fusion or even prevent it--never told me this prior to surgery or after surgery, just now, 4 weeks later. But then again he said the fusion looked like it was going OK--like I said, no real answers. I am not really upset nor do I blame hm for anything, he is a pretty good guy, but I think the expectations he set prior to surgery were way too rosy.

He said to take it eady for another month and see what happens--he said I may have to do PT which is a bummer, but oh well, I guess I will start analyzing the pain and numbness on a weekly basis and keep a log of the apina nd numbness to see if it improving at all week over week. Thanks to all who replied on the other thread.[/QUOTE]

First off - I am not a doctor... Only play one on the internet. From everything that I have read, you REALLY want to stay away from the smokes at LEAST for the benefit for the fusion. I'm sure I don't need to say anything else, so I won't.

From there, I do have to say from a lot of my other readings... Your NS is not unlike many others. They generally (mine included) are good at what they do - surgery. They are not too good on the pain and understanding. Of course, there are exceptions, but they seem to be far and few. Personally, I would rather feel confident I picked a NS who did the job right than someone that can deal with me on a personable level but...

You are not the only one that I have seen with a Lortab script so I don't think you are too off there. I don't have one myself, but perhaps I will when I see my guy on April 6th.

All in all, I say take it easy like he said and look for small improvements day to day. Don't get up in the morning and hope to be cured. Unfortunately, in your case (and mine), we did not get that instant benefit! But, I do see improvements now day to day - albeit VERY small. Just look for them!

(and BTW - our pain sounds similar... percocet NEVER touched it for me. just made me feel like crap. Perhaps your problem is more muscle related... If the lortab is muscle stuff, that is good. If not, maybe ask for something more muscle relaxant related?)

Good luck!
hey, I know I'm jumping in rather late, but still wanted to comment. acdfouch - i have had occasional problems with chest pain, too. i was very freaked out the first time or two it happened, but suspected pretty quickly that it was neck-related. i have had some slight facial numbness at times, too.

i tend to get these particular symptoms when i've been (oops) typing for too long. luckily, in my case, simple rest usually alleviates the problem.

after i'd had the chest pain thing a few times, i started looking around and found this little animation that illustrated the radiculopathy symptoms associated with each cervical level. the C5/6/7 areas shown were right on target for me.

[url]http://www.laserspineinstitute.com/Laser_Spine_Cervical_Radiculopathy.aspx[/url]

i think you were the first i saw to mention chest pain and facial numbness, so i was glad to see your post.

i was really surprised, however, to see you mention taking motrin after surgery? although i know there is still some controversy, i believe it's generally thought that nsaids (and possibly the newer cox-2 inhibitors) delay bone healing, and that they're specifically contraindicated in fusion cases. everyone (i.e., assorted docs & surgeons) told me i'd have to avoid them for three months after surgery.

anyone else on this?

i'm about a week away from my surgery date and it's been very interesting reading all the post-surgical comments from both those who, like you, are right out of surgery and those who are the longer-term "veterans". having some idea of what to expect has brought me much more comfort and confidence.

unlike some others here, my ortho doc had been suggesting surgery for a couple of years, but i pretty much shut him down every time he brought it up. i had met with one surgeon about three years ago, before i started seeing the ortho, who said, literally, "yeah, i can operate on you. with your mri, your insurance will cover it with no problem. will it help? maybe yes, maybe no. you'll just have to wait until after surgery to see."

i didn't leave there with much confidence in my surgical options.

in december of last year, things took a turn for the worse and my doc pretty much said, "look, you've reached the point where you have no choice". without all the information and advice i've had access to online, i'd have certainly gone in kicking and screaming all the way.

my current surgeon told me almost word for word what mb100 heard:

"My surgeon said with the extent of my neurological impairment before surgery it was likely that I would have some permanent nerve damage. He also said this type of surgery did not guarantee that the pain would go away.
He did say that 95% of the relief/recovery from symptoms would happen immediately after surgery, with the other 5% coming over time."

that was certainly better than "we'll see".

look forward to hearing more about your recovery experience and progress, and willl certainly be hoping for the best of outcomes for you.

as always, thanks to everyone for your posts here.
[QUOTE=ember919]hey, I know I'm jumping in rather late, but still wanted to comment. acdfouch - i have had occasional problems with chest pain, too. i was very freaked out the first time or two it happened, but suspected pretty quickly that it was neck-related. i have had some slight facial numbness at times, too.

i tend to get these particular symptoms when i've been (oops) typing for too long. luckily, in my case, simple rest usually alleviates the problem.

after i'd had the chest pain thing a few times, i started looking around and found this little animation that illustrated the radiculopathy symptoms associated with each cervical level. the C5/6/7 areas shown were right on target for me.

[url]http://www.laserspineinstitute.com/Laser_Spine_Cervical_Radiculopathy.aspx[/url]

i think you were the first i saw to mention chest pain and facial numbness, so i was glad to see your post.

i was really surprised, however, to see you mention taking motrin after surgery? although i know there is still some controversy, i believe it's generally thought that nsaids (and possibly the newer cox-2 inhibitors) delay bone healing, and that they're specifically contraindicated in fusion cases. everyone (i.e., assorted docs & surgeons) told me i'd have to avoid them for three months after surgery.

anyone else on this?

i'm about a week away from my surgery date and it's been very interesting reading all the post-surgical comments from both those who, like you, are right out of surgery and those who are the longer-term "veterans". having some idea of what to expect has brought me much more comfort and confidence.

unlike some others here, my ortho doc had been suggesting surgery for a couple of years, but i pretty much shut him down every time he brought it up. i had met with one surgeon about three years ago, before i started seeing the ortho, who said, literally, "yeah, i can operate on you. with your mri, your insurance will cover it with no problem. will it help? maybe yes, maybe no. you'll just have to wait until after surgery to see."

i didn't leave there with much confidence in my surgical options.

in december of last year, things took a turn for the worse and my doc pretty much said, "look, you've reached the point where you have no choice". without all the information and advice i've had access to online, i'd have certainly gone in kicking and screaming all the way.

my current surgeon told me almost word for word what mb100 heard:

"My surgeon said with the extent of my neurological impairment before surgery it was likely that I would have some permanent nerve damage. He also said this type of surgery did not guarantee that the pain would go away.
He did say that 95% of the relief/recovery from symptoms would happen immediately after surgery, with the other 5% coming over time."

that was certainly better than "we'll see".

look forward to hearing more about your recovery experience and progress, and willl certainly be hoping for the best of outcomes for you.

as always, thanks to everyone for your posts here.[/QUOTE]

Cheers and a half!!!

A terrific post and it sounds as if you do indeed have very similar symptoms.

What specifically did your MRI show? Where are your problem nerves? Etc?

As far as how I am doing today?

Well, I am VERY happy to say that I continue to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

I am not without my valium 5mg or tylenol 1000mg, but I ACTUALLY have times of little to no pain. It is just an incredible feeling.

Perhaps my situation was one of the bad ones... I had a pretty bad MRI writeup. I'll see if I can dig out my copy and post it for others to see.

And in regards to the motrin - apparently there is not evidence stating 110% that it is the cause of fusion failure HOWEVER I only took it twice during the entire proccess and the realm of unknown is just not worth the obvious risks and problems down the road.

So, I don't take it - at all.

Best of luck to you and please keep an eye on my thread.

I will try my best to inform others of my progress and hopeful success!
I found my original cervical MRI. Here are the gory details. Perhaps this will help the veterans give me a little more insight / personalization with their experience!!

MRI Report
=======
Findings :

There is a maintenance of cerivcal lordosis. There are no focal regions of signal alteration in the vertebral marrow. The cervical spinal cord is intrinsically normal in size without focal signal abonormality. There is no cord compression. There are mild spondylotic changes of the cerrvical spine as follows :

At c2-3, there is no disc bulge, nueral foraminal narrowing or central stensosis.

At c3-4, there is a mild right uncoverterbal joint hypertrophy resulting in mild right neural foraminal narrowing. There is no central stenosis.

At c4-5, there i smilt right uncoverterbal joint hypertrophy resulting in mild right neural foraminal narrowing. There is no central stenosis.

At C5-6, there is loss of disc height and signal. There is a left paracetral disc protrusion-ridge complex which indents the thecal sac and narrows the left neural foramen. There is right uncovertebral joint hypertrophy resulting in mild right neural foramminal narrowing.

At C6-7, there is a a small disk bulge-ridge complex. There is no central canal stenosis or neural foraminal narrowing.

At C7-t1, there is no disc bulge, neural foraminal narrowing, or central canal stenosis.

At t1-2, there is decreased disc signal. There is no disc bulge, neural foraminal narrowing, or central canal stenosis.

IMPRESSION :

Left paracentral disc protrusion at C5/6 as described.


Intersting enough tho... I was operated on for my c5-6 C6 nerve. (as made evident above)

However, I just looked over my EMG and noticed this :

EMG/NERVE CONDUCTION STUDY IMPRESSIONS :

The distal motor latency, evoked response amplitude. motoro conduction velocity including across the elbow and F wave latencies were within normal limits in the left median and ulnar nerve. The median and ulnar sensory nerves are within normal limits.

EMG of the muscles of the left upper extermity revelaed polyphasic motor units with increased amplitude, increased duration, and decreased recruitment in the left deltoid and biceps.

EMG / NERVE CONDUCTION STUDY CONCLUSIONS :

There is electropysioloic evidence of *C5*?????? radiculopathy on the left.

Perhaps my original Neuro mis-interpreted the nerve root involvement?

Comments?
Hey Ouch,

I assume that MRI was the one before surgery. I've had 3 and your's had more detail than any 2 of mine. You didn't mention any symptoms on the right that I remember did you? Alot of folks have issues like your's on the right and dont present with any symptoms. My latest one shows a herniated disc pressing on the spinal cord at c-3/4 and 3 docs say to leave it for now. It also reports another herniation at c-6/7 where there is no disc, only a failed fusion.

Interesting stuff aint it?

I've never seen an EMG report so thats a new one on me. I'll have to do a little research......

Let us know if you get the latest MRI report. Hope I'm not being too nosy.

Glad to hear you're feeling better.

Take it slow, Mike
[QUOTE=mb100]Hey Ouch,

I assume that MRI was the one before surgery. I've had 3 and your's had more detail than any 2 of mine. You didn't mention any symptoms on the right that I remember did you? Alot of folks have issues like your's on the right and dont present with any symptoms. My latest one shows a herniated disc pressing on the spinal cord at c-3/4 and 3 docs say to leave it for now. It also reports another herniation at c-6/7 where there is no disc, only a failed fusion.

Interesting stuff aint it?

I've never seen an EMG report so thats a new one on me. I'll have to do a little research......

Let us know if you get the latest MRI report. Hope I'm not being too nosy.

Glad to hear you're feeling better.

Take it slow, Mike[/QUOTE]

Yup.

This is the one before the surgery.

I might try and pick up the one post surgery today...

I'd love to have them fax it to me, but I don't think they do that.

Ugh.

And yea - the valium does wonders for the pain somehow.... Just wish it lasted a little longer.
They faxed one to me, as well as another place faxed me the report from my ct scan. Funny, they told me I couldnt have a copy of my ct films. But I went in there prepared to argue with them and the guy gave them up (on a cd) no questions asked, when I asked him about it he said they dont like to give any info on the phone. Whatever that meant.

I heard someone else mention valium for pain. Glad it's workin for you.
[QUOTE=mb100]They faxed one to me, as well as another place faxed me the report from my ct scan. Funny, they told me I couldnt have a copy of my ct films. But I went in there prepared to argue with them and the guy gave them up (on a cd) no questions asked, when I asked him about it he said they dont like to give any info on the phone. Whatever that meant.

I heard someone else mention valium for pain. Glad it's workin for you.[/QUOTE]

I think the info over the phone thing is due to all the privacy stuff from HIP(P?)A... Probably all that is.

I'm trying to get my MRI place to fax me a copy of the post op MRI.

I'll put it up if I get it!
Cool

When I went for my second opinion the doc said I saved him alot of time, or made it a little easier or something to that effect. I dont really remember. I know he was glad to get them. Out of maybe 30 different sheets of pics, he pulled the same 2 I had showed my girlfriend the day before to show me the problem. I felt like Dr. House or something. Then he showed me stuff I missed that brought me back to reality, as well as stuff on the ct scan on the computer that I didnt know how to navigate to myself. Fascinating stuff!!
Got my post op MRI.

Not quite what I was hoping (?)

I was hoping for a "wow - look at c5/6 - its perfect".

Instead, I got this :

At C5-6, there has been interval anterior fusion with plate and vertebral body screws. There is some left paracentral enhancing tissue i keeping with granulation tissue that results in mild left neural foraminal narrowing and mild central stenosis. The right neural foramen is patent. Metallic susceptibility artifact from the fusion hardware obscures portions of the the images.

IMPRESSION :

Enhanced MRI of the cervical spine. Status post anterior fusion at C5/6. Small focus of emhancing left paracentral tissue at C5-6 in keeping with granulation tissue that results in mild left neural foraminal narrowing and mild central canal stenosis. No recurrent disc bulge/protrusion at this level as described.

So... Vets. Did my doc do the best he could do? Should I be free and clear o n that side? Is this why I am still in as much pain as I am? Or is it "just the way it is" kinda thing?

Of course, the only one that can truely speak on this is my NS, but he is out this week and I won't be seeing him until the 6th.... Interested in any and all thoughts and opinions!

Thanks.

[little edit : i did some reading... sounds like the scar tissue is something that everyone gets after surgery? sucks! now im back with some narrowing ... UGH! :D)
ACDFouch,

That MRI should concern you. I don't think that is normal after surgery.

I would be asking a lot of questions of my surgeon. This is the area they "cleaned" out during surgery. It shouldn't be showing "mild left neural foraminal narrowing and mild central canal stenosis.

This could very well explain the pain you are experiencing.
[QUOTE=dennisgb]ACDFouch,

That MRI should concern you. I don't think that is normal after surgery.

I would be asking a lot of questions of my surgeon. This is the area they "cleaned" out during surgery. It shouldn't be showing "mild left neural foraminal narrowing and mild central canal stenosis.

This could very well explain the pain you are experiencing.[/QUOTE]

That's my thoughts exactly.

Apparently, from some research I have been doing, many people get scars after the surgery.... It will only show up on a contrast MRI. And sadly, mine have apparently reintroduced the problems that I originally had / grown around the problem areas of before...

.....

........

Anyone else with any random thoughts?

(thanks for the ones so far)
My random thought is, that you should continue to research the bone healing/fusion process, as you have. Obviously, you're going to be visiting your Dr. about the MRI.

The first stage of bone healing is inflammatory and only results, from my VERY limited point of view, in a starting point. The first stage alone can take many, many weeks (4-6). Formation of bone only begins after this stage. Lastly, something termed "remodeling" can continue for a long time (2 years?).

This may just be a bridge you need to cross to get to the next, better place.

Hopefully, you will be feeling better soon. :wave:
[QUOTE=funny4mony]My random thought is, that you should continue to research the bone healing/fusion process, as you have. Obviously, you're going to be visiting your Dr. about the MRI.

The first stage of bone healing is inflammatory and only results, from my VERY limited point of view, in a starting point. The first stage alone can take many, many weeks (4-6). Formation of bone only begins after this stage. Lastly, something termed "remodeling" can continue for a long time (2 years?).

This may just be a bridge you need to cross to get to the next, better place.

Hopefully, you will be feeling better soon. :wave:[/QUOTE]

Thanks...

And like I was saying before, apparently this is very normal after surgery... Most people probably don't know they have it because this stuff only shows up on a contrast MRI... It's essentially scar tissue... Unfortunately, it just happened to grow into something like my old symtpoms... It's probably much less than it was before so my pain is probably not related to it. Hence, that is also probably why my doc did not say anything...

Before I was all the way INTO my thecal sac. I no longer am... So....

I'm happy. :)

(and feeling a little better a little bit at a time...)
Hey Ouch,

Is that scar tissue or swelling indicated on the MRI? You said the doc wasnt worried about it, but that he hadnt seen the films yet is that right? Hey, you're on the mend so it cant be too bad. Wonder if the doc will have a different opinion when he see's the pics.

Hey Funny,

Havent heard an update lately, how ya doin?

Mike
[QUOTE=mb100]Hey Ouch,

Is that scar tissue or swelling indicated on the MRI? You said the doc wasnt worried about it, but that he hadnt seen the films yet is that right? Hey, you're on the mend so it cant be too bad. Wonder if the doc will have a different opinion when he see's the pics.

Hey Funny,

Havent heard an update lately, how ya doin?

Mike[/QUOTE]

Welp, what I wrote is what the MRI results show. Granted, that was read by a generic .... MRI reader person. My NS (many of you may find this surprising to some degree at this point) is a top doc not only in my area but in all of US ... So... He REALLY wants to read it for himself - just to be assured of what it truely shows. He was not however concerned about the scar tissue based off of the reading alone.

And the reason I named it scar tissue is that is the... laymans term ... for the granular tissue. Its basically scar tissue. It also happens after ALL spine surgerys. People just don't know it bc they typically only get Xrays after. You need an MRI with contrast to see it ... So.. I'm MUCH less concerned than I was before. I think I was jumping to conclusions on my own (bad bad bad thing).

Matter of fact, I feel a lot better than I had when I originally started this thread... I haven't had a valium today either... So... I think (hope?) that I just had a VERY bad herniation (which my NS confirmed originally) and he probably had to get in there and really work me out to fix it the best he could... So.... I had a longer recovery than others.

Perhaps.

At least thats my hopes! :)

(I have gone from 24x7 pain to having hours at a time of just "waiting for it to kick in"... Feels GREAT!)

I hope others out there either getting the surgery / in the midst of it / etc in pain are finding help with my thread!!!

I am trying to do my best to post as often and as realisitc as possible.
Ouch,

Are you kidding, your thread rocks! I've recommended it to a couple others already. There's several others on right now with similar issues that could possibly benefit from reading it. Lots of great insight on this one.

I had made some comments earlier about the reading and interpreting of films that maybe I should expand on. My original surgeon made that comment about not trusting anyone else's impression of a film. I thought back about that and I didnt go to the facility that he recommended, maybe that was why he said that. Not sure. I do know there's a huge difference in the quality of the images from place to place, at least to the naked eye of a lay man. Also the impressions were read by folks with names that had Dr. after them, at least in my case. My new surgeon only glanced at the reports and did the film study himself. I hope I didnt offend, that wasnt my intention.....

You've made unbelievable progress in such a short time, I've enjoyed hearing about it.

Keep on a postin....Mike
[QUOTE=mb100]Ouch,

Are you kidding, your thread rocks! I've recommended it to a couple others already. There's several others on right now with similar issues that could possibly benefit from reading it. Lots of great insight on this one.

I had made some comments earlier about the reading and interpreting of films that maybe I should expand on. My original surgeon made that comment about not trusting anyone else's impression of a film. I thought back about that and I didnt go to the facility that he recommended, maybe that was why he said that. Not sure. I do know there's a huge difference in the quality of the images from place to place, at least to the naked eye of a lay man. Also the impressions were read by folks with names that had Dr. after them, at least in my case. My new surgeon only glanced at the reports and did the film study himself. I hope I didnt offend, that wasnt my intention.....

You've made unbelievable progress in such a short time, I've enjoyed hearing about it.

Keep on a postin....Mike[/QUOTE]

No offense taken!!!! Not one bit.

I didn't take it in any crazy way shape or form :)

I'll continue to let everyone know how things are going...

Had my first REALLY good muscle spasm of the day but I now feel pretty confident that THAT is what I am having and where my pain is coming from...

Off I go to relax a bit!
Ouch, happy to see you're not back in surgery for a revision.

I keep you and others in my thoughts, hoping you'll feel better soon.
acdfouch--I have found you and others on this thread to be very helpful. If you recall, I had c4-5 and c5-6 acdf on March 1st. The pain today is about double of what it was prior to surgery and the numbness in my left hand is probably triple what it was prior to surgery. When I saw my doc on monday, he said the xray looked good--fusion was starting and spacing was really good, and also my spine was getting straighter.

My question for you is why did your doc order another MRI post-op or did you request it--seems that is not unheard of that a few of us don't get the instant pain releif because it may just take longer for our spasms to calm down. I am not scheduled to see my doc again for another 3 weeks and he is going to do another xray at that time. However, at what point, if my pain does not improve, do I request another MRI (with contrast) and is there a reason I should have to ask for it as opposed to him recommending it? How far out post op where you when you did the second MRI and what exactly was your NS looking for in that post-op MRI?

Sorry for all the q's but you seem to have alot of godd advice.
Thanks bud.
[QUOTE=jjmaxx]acdfouch--I have found you and others on this thread to be very helpful. If you recall, I had c4-5 and c5-6 acdf on March 1st. The pain today is about double of what it was prior to surgery and the numbness in my left hand is probably triple what it was prior to surgery. When I saw my doc on monday, he said the xray looked good--fusion was starting and spacing was really good, and also my spine was getting straighter.

My question for you is why did your doc order another MRI post-op or did you request it--seems that is not unheard of that a few of us don't get the instant pain releif because it may just take longer for our spasms to calm down. I am not scheduled to see my doc again for another 3 weeks and he is going to do another xray at that time. However, at what point, if my pain does not improve, do I request another MRI (with contrast) and is there a reason I should have to ask for it as opposed to him recommending it? How far out post op where you when you did the second MRI and what exactly was your NS looking for in that post-op MRI?

Sorry for all the q's but you seem to have alot of godd advice.
Thanks bud.[/QUOTE]

Please!!! Ask as many questions as you want!! :)

Let's see.

I had the MRI half out of my own request because I had so much pain that he felt was somewhat unwarranted (at least to the level that I was having it....) ...

That said, keep in mind that I had the horner's syndrome ... etc etc... So.. I've had a really rough time so there certainly was (is) a metal element to all of this...

From there, I guess I'm lucky to have the guy I have. Although he felt it was somewhat ... not at the level that it is - he thought I was bringing some if it to the level it was on my own - he said ... well, just to make sure its NOT something else, lets get an MRI.

So, ultimately, he was the one to get it for me. It is very non-protocol to have it... So... Hopefully that answers your first question.

I would say that if you are STILL in pain after your next postop visit, perhaps you can ask for an MRI with CONTRAST. Contrast is CRITICAL for people with hardware. A normal MRI will likely show lots of black (where the hardware is) and not be as valuable as one without.

And he was basically looking for any re-herniation / slipped disc / etc that may be attributing to my pain that just cant be seen on an Xray.

Hope that helps!

And for me, I know that my muscle spasms REALLY can translate not only into new pain, but old too.

And in regards to the numbness - I wouldn't be overly concerned about that one... You got poked back there. And that 110% across the board seems to be the last thing to go according to just about everyone.

It's as common knowledge as not taking NSAIDs from what I see out there...
Thanks for your reply ouch. You asked for more questions, so here it is--if he took out your disc, how could there be a re-herniation? or was he thinking maybe at a different level? I'm confused by that.
[QUOTE=jjmaxx]Thanks for your reply ouch. You asked for more questions, so here it is--if he took out your disc, how could there be a re-herniation? or was he thinking maybe at a different level? I'm confused by that.[/QUOTE]

Heh! Keep asking as needed!!!

And yes and yes.

:)

He wanted to make sure there was no herniation at the level above or below... Doing what they do CAN be rough on the levels above and below.. But that typically happens over YEARS and YEARS of abuse and fusions not going well etc etc... But.. He wanted to know.

And the other part of the yes is that he wanted a more clear picture of how the bone was doing - making sure it didnt slip or anything... That also was not the case.

Keep em coming! I'm here to help you if I can... I think if I found a thread like mine earlier detailing a ... not so great INITIAL experience.. I may have felt a little better.

(And to all of you lurkers out there : I hope I am helping you too!)
forgive me for meandering all over the place here, but there's been a lot said and covered in the past day or so.

first of all, "granulated tissue" is just "healing/healed tissue" which is "scar tissue", right? so, is your surgeon saying that formation of scar tissue in the foraminal space is unusual? and is it likely to continue to cause you problems? or is possible that normal post-surgical swelling/inflammation is causing the scar tissue to press now in a place where it won't once the inflammation has receded? or is that just a wait-and-see issue?

also, in the category of pretty much useless information - i've never known a surgeon who did not prefer to personally review mri films. i've had four or five cervical mris done in the last five years and it's almost as though each radiologist speaks a different language. i know i've, for example, spent an hour on the internet, comparing reports, only to find out that three seemingly completely unrelated terms all mean the same thing.

plus i think the surgeons like to show us the films just so they can use fancy medical terminology and watch the confused looks on our faces. i sometimes suspect they even have secret clubs where they tell stories about it. "oh, i had a good one the other day! looked like a chimpanzee trying to figure out a rubik's cube!"

ok, i guess that wasn't nice.

i had one more point/question (there's no end....) but i think i'm going to start anew with that one.

as always, to all, thanks for advice, insight and definitely the patience!
[QUOTE=ember919]forgive me for meandering all over the place here, but there's been a lot said and covered in the past day or so.

first of all, "granulated tissue" is just "healing/healed tissue" which is "scar tissue", right? so, is your surgeon saying that formation of scar tissue in the foraminal space is unusual? and is it likely to continue to cause you problems? or is possible that normal post-surgical swelling/inflammation is causing the scar tissue to press now in a place where it won't once the inflammation has receded? or is that just a wait-and-see issue?

also, in the category of pretty much useless information - i've never known a surgeon who did not prefer to personally review mri films. i've had four or five cervical mris done in the last five years and it's almost as though each radiologist speaks a different language. i know i've, for example, spent an hour on the internet, comparing reports, only to find out that three seemingly completely unrelated terms all mean the same thing.

plus i think the surgeons like to show us the films just so they can use fancy medical terminology and watch the confused looks on our faces. i sometimes suspect they even have secret clubs where they tell stories about it. "oh, i had a good one the other day! looked like a chimpanzee trying to figure out a rubik's cube!"

ok, i guess that wasn't nice.

i had one more point/question (there's no end....) but i think i'm going to start anew with that one.

as always, to all, thanks for advice, insight and definitely the patience![/QUOTE]

Perhaps I have painted a picture that does not represent my NS's views.

I simply got the report that a third party did. That's it. In other words, the place I get my MRI's done at, they get reviewed by... Radiologists (?).. Not sure if that is the right classificaiton, but it is reviewed by an MD and verified by another MD at a university hospital (which, by the way is the same place I got my ACDF done at)

*I* simply read the results of the MRI by THOSE doctors... Posted the results, and looked for any connection and an understanding of the information in it. That's when I started popping around the internet and translating some of the doc speak such as the tissue / scar tissue thing...

The *NS* reviewed the MRI REPORT only (he did not have access to the films and was very busy with surgeries), and did not feel that there was anything of any signifigance OR anything to be concerned about - that's the extent that I know at the moment.

He also is going to be reviewing them personally. Only then can he can make the determination as to where to go from here... But initially, he feels all is well and that my pain will pass.. And perhaps I was a little too wound up over it all.... It just sucks when you read people that just "wake up with no pain"... But I don't need to tell many of you that...

So.. In the end, no, he did not feel the least bit concerned with the report. I'm sure that he felt it was in the norm (again, speculation but from the way he felt on the initial report)... (Which confirms things I have read which led to my posts....)

I will find out from the horse's mouth in person when we review everything together on the 6th...

Hopefully that helps clear up things?

When I got the report, it was as if I was LOOKING for a connection - anything... Now that I am starting my real recovery and looking at it with an open mind.... It's scar tissue. It's gonna happen. It apparently ALWAYS happens. And it's only given me a "mild" narrowing. Before I had a complete block of the left nerve (I saw it on the MRI)... So...

There ya go? :)
[QUOTE=mb100]
Hey Funny,

Havent heard an update lately, how ya doin?

Mike[/QUOTE]
I'm doing well. As you know, I had some of my own hurdles earlier on. I wanted to keep everything in one thread and in context - the bad and good. Mods frowned on that, and I'm hesitant to post positive things out of context.

I see the NS again next week.
Funny,

I hear ya.

I try to always advocate following Dr's orders. They're in the best position, and have the expertise to make the call. duh! We're all different. Look at Dennis, he was in the collar for like 5 years, alright so I embellish a little. Just look at his results, thats the bottom line. He got his life back. Who could argue with that?

Mike Allstot went back to playin fullback for the Tampa Bay Bucs (I believe he had acdf or something similar), so we're all over the board.

Lookin forward to your thread

btw what are "mods"

Mike
[QUOTE=mb100]Funny,

I hear ya.

I try to always advocate following Dr's orders. They're in the best position, and have the expertise to make the call. duh! We're all different. Look at Dennis, he was in the collar for like 5 years, alright so I embellish a little. Just look at his results, thats the bottom line. He got his life back. Who could argue with that?

Mike Allstot went back to playin fullback for the Tampa Bay Bucs (I believe he had acdf or something similar), so we're all over the board.

Lookin forward to your thread

btw what are "mods"

Mike[/QUOTE]

Mods are moderators.

They are the ones that ... monitor and "moderate" forums (such as this) and can consolidate / remove / edit / etc posts.
Mike Alscott did have ACDF surgery with plate and screws.

He is still playing fullback, a position that takes a lot of hits.

I am still amazed at that one!
Hi Dennis,

I saw him take a helmet to helmet and he bounced right up, freakin unbelievable!

It's hard to argue with that, I hope he doesnt regret it down the road. You have to wonder about his adjacent levels?????

I often site your path to recovery, hope you dont mind. Knowing what I know now, if in a position to do so, I would recommend it to anyone. Especially those with complications.....but what do I know. Most of the folks here are having problems, with such a stated high sucess rate I would like to know what percentage can just walk away and resume their live's with no problems.
Mike,

I don't have a problem with your using me :-)

I wish more people here could have the same results that I have. Although my docs were very conservative, keeping me in the collar longer, restricting activity and weight. I couldn't drive for 8 weeks. I was on a 10 lbs lifting restriction for 3 months. 25lbs for six. My doc has been involved with numerous studies and has written a number of papers on ACDF. He is well respected, and lectures on the subject all over the country. My case may have been different than most, but he seemed to be following a normal course all though very conservative. While I hated the collar, and wanted it off, I trusted what he was telling me, and stuck with it.

I didn't have everything go perfectly, but was patient with the process, and recovery. If you go back in my posts, you will find that it was not all that different.

Honestly, once I got to the point where I could do the Physical Therapy, then I really started to feel better. It took about 6-8 weeks of excercise, before I really felt good. The excercise was very difficult at first, I couldn't do but a few reps of each exercise initially. Then as I gradually built up, the results were amazing. Once you strengthen and loosen up, you can tell the difference from the spasms caused by the surgery and pain.

I don't think I can stress enough how important the excercise is once you get to the point where your docs will let you do it. Then, you have to keep with it. It's important to learn the correct way to do the excercises too. Particularly the crunches, as you can put stress on your neck if you do them wrong. Eventually, you can tell when you do them right, by the burn in the muscles. It takes me 15-20 minutes every other day, and it helps so much.

I don't take any pain medicine (no aspirin, no Tylenol). I stopped the medicines not long after surgery.

Probably the other thing that changed my life was being able to sleep. I went for years getting 2-4 hours at a time, because my pain was so bad that it would wake me up. Now, I sleep for 8 hours. That makes such a difference in how you feel.

There is no question my life has been changed by this. I told my surgeon at my last visit that he had given me my life back. He was embarassed by this, and said he was just doing his job...I see it differently.

Sitting in the fighting chair on the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii, with a Marlin on the line, twice since my surgery...well, I had only dreamed about doing that again. I wouldn't have lasted 10 minutes before the surgery. would have been lucky to crank the real a few times. Both times, I was out all day, And in the chair numerous times. Brought in 4 fish! No problem.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Dennis
Mike,

One other thing that is important. This whole process is mentally debilitating. You live with the pain for so long, that the mind starts to trick you. You become sort of a hypocondriac (SP).

I vowed to have a positive attitude, and try not to think every little pain was a problem. I tried to understand what my body was telling me. Soon, I found out, that much of the pain was stress related. I had a ton of spasms. All through the recovery. I found ways to get that under control, and surprisingly, there wasn't much pain left underneath. I remember feeling weak and dizzy, for the first 4-6 weeks. Then gradually, things got better. I know, it wasn't until the PT that I really turned the corner. My surgery was the end of June, and I didn't start PT until mid January the next year. It was 6 months...I would say a good 8 months until I felt really good...

People don't want to hear that. Bottom line, if you ask your docs they will tell you 6 months to a year. It's a long recovery.

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Mike,

One other thing that is important. This whole process is mentally debilitating. You live with the pain for so long, that the mind starts to trick you. You become sort of a hypocondriac (SP).

I vowed to have a positive attitude, and try not to think every little pain was a problem. I tried to understand what my body was telling me. Soon, I found out, that much of the pain was stress related. I had a ton of spasms. All through the recovery. I found ways to get that under control, and surprisingly, there wasn't much pain left underneath. I remember feeling weak and dizzy, for the first 4-6 weeks. Then gradually, things got better. I know, it wasn't until the PT that I really turned the corner. My surgery was the end of June, and I didn't start PT until mid January the next year. It was 6 months...I would say a good 8 months until I felt really good...

People don't want to hear that. Bottom line, if you ask your docs they will tell you 6 months to a year. It's a long recovery.

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Wow.

Wow.

WOW.

Your mindset and the way that you posted.... It is SPOT ON on how I have been feeling and where my mind is going. It is EVERYTHING that my wife has been beating into my head and I flnally started trying to take that approach since I have been having a "better" week.

WOW.

I don't think I could have asked for a more encouraging and WELL put post in this thread.

Take pride in knowing that you helped at least one person with that post.

VERY much.

My wife will thank you as well!
Mike,

I'm glad that helped. The mind is really tricky. If you suffered with the pain for long before the surgery, it's even worse.

Just remember, this is [B]major[/B] surgery. Today, we all expect "quick fixes" to everything. Everything is so fast. This isn't.

You should feel improvement every day. Soon, you won't think about it anymore, and you will get to the point where your normal life comes back. Oh, you will think about it when you turn your neck to see if any cars are coming before you merge onto the freeway :-) The fear that you might turn to far...but, surprisingly, that goes away too. You get used to moving your torso with your head, and you don't even know your doing it.

Take it slow, and keep watch over the important stuff. If something is really wrong, you will know it. The nerves and the muscles will settle down, it will take a while, but it will happen. If your spasming, use the alternating hot and cold packs for 10-15 minutes each. I used that on my shoulder area, and it worked wonders. Try to position yourself with good support when your watching TV or resting. I got three of the contour foam pillows, and I still use them. If you can get your neck into the proper position when you sleep, it makes a big difference. I used two of them for that. I bought a new recliner just before surgery. I sat in every chair in the store (over 100) until I found one with good lumbar support. They don't make many that have good support. Try to do everything you can to [B]help[/B] the process. I hope your taking calcium. My docs switched me to Citrical, because it is absorbed better by the body.

I can't think of anything else, but if you have questions, post out here, and I'll try to help.

Dennis
Dennis,

I couldnt agree more, being alone in my head is a scary place. All sorts o' critters come out. My symptoms had symptoms! Who feels like they have cold water running on the inside? It took some sorting through to get to the meat. Most of them dissipated over time. I'm still left with some serious stuff, but most of it is gone.

I did feel vindicated when they finally did the MRI and found reasons for what was left, I thought I was nuts for awhile. I really like my new doc but I'm uneasy with a couple things. I have a new herniated disc at c-3/4 which he doesnt think will be a problem, my old surgeon said the same, as well as workers comps Dr. But listen to the reports from the MRI and ct scan;

MRI
C3/4 there is a left paramedian disc herniation which contacts and slightly compresses the cervical cord. the disc height is well maintained. the c-4 neural foramina are widely patent.

CT
At the c-3/4 level there is degenerative disc disease. there appears to be a small blood based midline disc herniation. this results in mild central spinal canal narrowing. there is no foraminal stenosis.

See the conflict? I have the films as well. Looking at these the herniation definitly pushes the cord, not just the sack, in and to one side. This is at the top of the fused section and I assume it takes a beating. I dont want to go back under the knife after this next one.They'll be removing loose screws and possibly the plate(anterior) and c-5/7 fusion posterior. Also using autograft from hip. I want it to be the last time!

I would love to get another MRI before surgery to see if c-3/4 has settled down, just to be sure.

I also think(hope) some of the neuro symptoms will be relieved, but he says no. I show nerological deficits at all 4 extremities. I hope he is just painting the worst case scenario. I'll believe it when I see it, but that could take quite a while to get a clear picture.

I wonder, since you were part of a study if your Dr. was any more conservative than he would be normally. Was the study sponsored? I dont know how that stuff works.

Dennis, I've read every word you've written on this site, no research needed. That goes for most of the others I've talked to on here. It's a good group.

I cant tell you all how much I enjoy the fellowship.

as always....take it slow
[QUOTE=mb100]I couldnt agree more, being alone in my head is a scary place. All sorts o' critters come out. My symptoms had symptoms! Who feels like they have cold water running on the inside? [/QUOTE]

That is funny!

My surgeon was doing the study in conjunction with a major University, and I honestly don't think they would have been overly conservative to get better results. He was working with a group of surgeons at the time to get FDA approval for the use of BMP. He was very open with me about the approach, because he kept telling me that he would take the collar off at the next visit, and then it would come and he would say you need to wear it until the next visit. I think the third time I got impatient and said "I thought you were going to let me take it off!"

He showed me the films and pointed out exactly where the fusion was and wasn't. You could see that the bone was still changing color, and frankly it looked quite fragile. Sure I had the hardware, but I posted in another thread, that only supports the front of your neck on some small screws. He said, "Maybe this is taking longer, because you were a smoker." (I quit smoking 6 weeks before the surgery). So, I couldn't disagree with him, and went off wearing my wonderful, hard, hot and nasty collar.

So, I think, my situation may have been a little different...with the exception that most of his patients wear the collar for at least 10 weeks...I had it on for 4 months (well, he let me wear a soft collar to bed the last month).

The problem I have, is I can't complain...it worked.
MB100,

How long since your surgery?

Dennis
Just thought I would chime in for my little update today.

Been a rougher one - lots of spasms, but everything is certainly better than it was the previous week.

Off to do some more heat / ice!

(and I am off the valium 5mg as of the past two days... I am going back to the skelaxin to see if I can get enough relief with just that... So far, not too bad. I'm in pain, but its managable. No way I could have done this a couple of weeks ago!)
[QUOTE=mb100]I couldnt agree more, being alone in my head is a scary place. All sorts o' critters come out.[/QUOTE]
I think I may get the award for the most ridiculous critter.

This thought actually occurred, although briefly:

"Will the titanium plate result in an increased risk of a lighting strike?" :eek:
MB100,

How long since your surgery?

Dennis

4-22-04
Does your guy seem conservaive compared to most? Holy cow!
MB100,

You had your surgery just a couple of months before me. So your having all of these problems now...?

Did the hardware fail?

Dennis
Dennis,

Loose screws c-7 and looks like one loose at c-4, failed fusion c-6/7(bone plug mostly gone) and a new herniation c-3/4. Also lucency around and through bone plug at center c-5/6. level c-4/5 has a solid fusion.
I wish you could see the ct scan, it's way cool. You travel down the center of the spine from the skull to t-2. great view.
Funny,

I like the lightning strikes, typical golfer mentality eh?
[QUOTE=mb100]Dennis,

Loose screws c-7 and looks like one loose at c-4, failed fusion c-6/7(bone plug mostly gone) and a new herniation c-3/4. Also lucency around and through bone plug at center c-5/6. level c-4/5 has a solid fusion.
I wish you could see the ct scan, it's way cool. You travel down the center of the spine from the skull to t-2. great view.[/QUOTE]

Do you know how / why the hardware failed? Were you simply too rough or it just is "one of those things"?

I have to admit, that is one of my great fears in this whole process...

And in regards to my doings... Yesterday was rough. Only :

3x 1000mg tylenol
3x 800mg skelaxin

But... I survived.

Not sure I could have done that two weeks ago or so.

Not sure of that at all!

So... I see that as a positive.
Hey Ouch,

You'll likely have those bad days for a while, but they should fade with time.
Hope today is better.

As to the hardware, Doc said it could happen for a number of reasons. Probably overdoing the home pt and to stop until problem is fixed. After seeing my films, he said I definitly needed additional workup. I felt so much better after I stopped, I couldnt believe it. I had no appetite before and was down to 146 or 7 from 170 to 175. Was getting roughly 2 to 5 hours sleep a day, which has improved. I would holler out in pain in my sleep alot, bringing my kid running, and that is alot less. Actually, I fell asleep in the movies with my girlfriend and disturbed the whole movie house. She had to wake me up to shut me up!

I feel like an *** talking about all of this now, it's so much better than last summer. And there are so many that are so much worse off.....

I havent done any rehab since the first week of September, and the difference is night and day.

I cant wait to get this over with and climb back on the horse...Ya know.

It's great to hear your story, just keep in mind it can take a long time to heal for some, less for others. Theres no rush, this aint no race, no prize for finishing first, blah blah blah

Take it slow....Mike
[QUOTE=mb100]Hey Ouch,

You'll likely have those bad days for a while, but they should fade with time.
Hope today is better.

As to the hardware, Doc said it could happen for a number of reasons. Probably overdoing the home pt and to stop until problem is fixed. After seeing my films, he said I definitly needed additional workup. I felt so much better after I stopped, I couldnt believe it. I had no appetite before and was down to 146 or 7 from 170 to 175. Was getting roughly 2 to 5 hours sleep a day, which has improved. I would holler out in pain in my sleep alot, bringing my kid running, and that is alot less. Actually, I fell asleep in the movies with my girlfriend and disturbed the whole movie house. She had to wake me up to shut me up!

I feel like an *** talking about all of this now, it's so much better than last summer. And there are so many that are so much worse off.....

I havent done any rehab since the first week of September, and the difference is night and day.

I cant wait to get this over with and climb back on the horse...Ya know.

It's great to hear your story, just keep in mind it can take a long time to heal for some, less for others. Theres no rush, this aint no race, no prize for finishing first, blah blah blah

Take it slow....Mike[/QUOTE]

Today is a little bit better than yesterday so I'm hoping to just chalk it up to it is what it is... So... Just enjoying the thoughts of being out of the woods in a few months if possible!!!

Time to go get a little ice in there.

And I really wish you the best with the hardware! What will happen? They just need to remove it?
Ouch,

It is what it is, or "Momma told me there'd be days like this".

We want everything to happen yesterday, ya know? My first exray was at 7 weeks, therapy must have started at about 8 weeks. I felt better at about 10 or 12 weeks.

You'll get there......

Just

Take it slow Mike
Almost forgot,

Doc say's he can just remove the loose screws if the whole plate isnt loose. He wont know until he gets in there, otherwise, it will all come out.
[QUOTE=mb100]Almost forgot,

Doc say's he can just remove the loose screws if the whole plate isnt loose. He wont know until he gets in there, otherwise, it will all come out.[/QUOTE]

You are right about the post above.. I would just love for this all to be over with but guess I have to wait it out just a bit longer...

(I do think today has been a better day than yesterday on the whole.)

And in regards to your hardware, I'll certainly be hoping for the best for you!!! I guess either way, they have to go in?

It's not something that can just fix itself I assume?
Yeah, they're headed for the windpipe so they have to go. I can feel at least one of them I think.

It's all good, I'm not too worried about it.
[QUOTE=mb100]Yeah, they're headed for the windpipe so they have to go. I can feel at least one of them I think.

It's all good, I'm not too worried about it.[/QUOTE]

That's good to hear you have it under control.

Hopefully you will have a quick recovery!
Wow.

6:26 and I haven't run over to the computer discussing how my day has been.

That's actually a VERY good sign to me!

Matter of fact, I walked my 1.5 mile today and went to the store with the wife and kid...

Did a bunch and its at the "not that bad" level.

Does it hurt? Not really - more of a sore / muscle kinda thing going on.

Numbness? Sure.... That's there, but that's a "very common thing" so I'm not too concerned about that one.

Dunno what to say - I'm pretty floored about how well today has been going compared to where I was a few weeks ago when I first started this thread.

Again, I almost feel like I need to hold back in posting this, but to EVERYONE out there going through the same thing as me - there IS a light at the end of the tunnel.

Perhaps those that "wake up with no pain" didn't have it as bad as I did? Perhaps they aren't as sensitive as me? Perhaps their muscles were well under control.. Perhaps 2303283082 things.

But like other "vets" have said.

It DOES get better.

Just take it slow and let your body recover. Just be sure to keep that positive attitude.

Same meds today.
Good to hear, Ouch!

Day by day...
Rougher day today... Not so much on the pain side but I have these WILD headaches that I have never had... Started yesterday, but continued into today.

Guess it could be related ... Maybe not.

Guess I'll just see how things go!

I know some people get / got headaches from the cerivcal stuff, but that never was one of my things... Perhaps it is now? :)
Ouch,

I never had the headache problem either, although some do.

Hey, maybe it was the walking.
[QUOTE=mb100]Ouch,

I never had the headache problem either, although some do.

Hey, maybe it was the walking.[/QUOTE]

Perhaps!

Just KILLIN me the past couple of days.

I'll give it a bit and see how it goes...
[QUOTE=acdfouch]Perhaps!

Just KILLIN me the past couple of days.

I'll give it a bit and see how it goes...[/QUOTE]

Headache has still been with me off and on today, but I'm 1:14 mins overdo for my tylenol / skelaxin cocktail!

So.... Not too bad.

Think I'll take it shortly to help get some zzz's.

Had a few bad moments today but nothing that I didn't get over...

I try and keep seeing that light out there!!! :)
Ouch I have headaches daily. If you find the answer tell me the secret. My doctor wants me to wean off of prescription meds, but heck they didn't work anyhow. I hope you catch some zzzzzzzzzzzz's for me too.
Ouch & Kelly,

message from the queen of cervical headaches....

1. Lay on an icebag as long as you can
2. Don't over-do advil/motrin or tylenol as they can cause rebound headaches which makes it compound (they don't help anyway.)
3. Gabapentin took a 7-9 (painscale) headache I had from Oct. 1st thru mid-Dec. down to a 3-5, which I still have. (After breast-feeding for Kelly, tho.)
(Gab/Neurontin is a long-term, raise the dose slowly 'til it works, serious drug. But I really couldn't live with all the pain anymore & it helped a great deal.)
4. Lay in a dark room while your baby naps. If you don't have a baby, lay in a dark room when your wife's in a bad mood. :D

'Hope this helps!

Jackie :wave:
Yikes.

Having some good pain again today (on top of the fun headaches).

I *THINK* I am starting to understand it a little better now tho.

Given my recent MRI report, even though I feel the numbness / tightness in my right arm, there is no nerve related issue as to why that should be. I am all-clear on that side.

SOOOOO, being the internet doctor I am, that says to me I am having muscle spasms. Further more, when I rub any of the areas that hurt, they are sore. Pretty darn sore.

So, new lesson of the day for me. You don't need to "feel" the spasms to be having them? IE like the pulsating...

Mmmmm.... Now if I could just lick this problem... I would be doing pretty well overall.
Your right on that one.

Spasms most time are just a tension in the muscle. Tightening. They will feel like a sprain, or a pulled muscle most of the time. There rarely is any twitching so to speak.

What's happening is the body is trying to help the healing by "helping" in another place...like your neck is sore and weak, so the shoulders take on more of the burden. The problem is, these muscles are doing something that is not natural, so they tense up.

Also, in my case, I was "hunching" my shoulders up to compensate and protect that surgery area. This took a long time to bring back to normal. It's like getting into the "fetal" position, trying to protect yourself. Once I started working with weights, I let them hang to my sides and relaxed the shoulders, and after a while the pain went away.

Remember, we talked about how thes spasms can be hard to pinpoint and will mimic other types of pain. For me 90% of my pain was spasms...and at times, I would swear that they nerves we acting up...it wasn't though.

Massage those areas that you can feel tension in. Try to stretch your arms and back to relieve the tension. Use some Ben Gay or Flexall rub on there too. Hot and Cold. All the stuff we talked about. Again make sure you have the best posture you can and support your body when sitting or lying down. Try to get your spine in the best "normal" position you can.

Once you get to the point where you can do more excercises, this will get better. I still get them when I am stressed, driving for a long time or miss my excercise.

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Your right on that one.

Spasms most time are just a tension in the muscle. Tightening. They will feel like a sprain, or a pulled muscle most of the time. There rarely is any twitching so to speak.

What's happening is the body is trying to help the healing by "helping" in another place...like your neck is sore and weak, so the shoulders take on more of the burden. The problem is, these muscles are doing something that is not natural, so they tense up.

Also, in my case, I was "hunching" my shoulders up to compensate and protect that surgery area. This took a long time to bring back to normal. It's like getting into the "fetal" position, trying to protect yourself. Once I started working with weights, I let them hang to my sides and relaxed the shoulders, and after a while the pain went away.

Remember, we talked about how thes spasms can be hard to pinpoint and will mimic other types of pain. For me 90% of my pain was spasms...and at times, I would swear that they nerves we acting up...it wasn't though.

Massage those areas that you can feel tension in. Try to stretch your arms and back to relieve the tension. Use some Ben Gay or Flexall rub on there too. Hot and Cold. All the stuff we talked about. Again make sure you have the best posture you can and support your body when sitting or lying down. Try to get your spine in the best "normal" position you can.

Once you get to the point where you can do more excercises, this will get better. I still get them when I am stressed, driving for a long time or miss my excercise.

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Yup, yup and yup!!!

I haven't tried the ben gay / flexall stuff yet, but I have been doing tons of the hot cold.

And I've been very VERY attentive to the way I am carrying myself (in the literal sense).

I also spent a good hour or two this weekend going through some of the old threads.

There are some great ones out there - with similar results as me ... Even with the horners.

It was VERY encouraging to read some of them. The unfortunate side is that most of them have moved on with their lives and since this board doesn't appear to support private messages, I can't send them a thank you and let them know that their posts DID help another person.

On the other hand, in going through a lot of them I did see you pop up quite a few times.

So I must extend a thank you to you again in coming back and supporting others out there that are in it for the first time! It is appreciated!

I hope to do the same at some point.

And here is a great thread for others that feel like I do.

[url]http://www.healthboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=249949&page=1&pp=5&highlight=muscle+spasm[/url]
New burning question of the moment! :)

Pins and needles feelings in the areas where the nerves made me feel numb before... Specifically the thumb and index finger...

Is that a good sign? Is that a sign of the nerve "coming back to life / waking up"?
Ouch I never really had pins and needles feelings or numbness, at least not in my terms. I always had the icy hot feeling. I now get shooting pains down my arms and legs and of course continue with the achy and icy hot feelings and I think like you it is the nerves waking up. I have noticed that the twitching in my elbows has lessoned. No change on neck and headache(more dull and achy like a hangover) pain. Are you getting PT? I am waiting for W/C to approve that and I will start....
Hey Ouch,

I heard the same thing about the pins and needles coming back. Dont know if thats true.

Sounds like you had a rough few days, dont let it get you down. It takes time as you well know.

Keep us updated

Take it easy....Mike
[QUOTE=Backinthesaddle]Ouch I never really had pins and needles feelings or numbness, at least not in my terms. I always had the icy hot feeling. I now get shooting pains down my arms and legs and of course continue with the achy and icy hot feelings and I think like you it is the nerves waking up. I have noticed that the twitching in my elbows has lessoned. No change on neck and headache(more dull and achy like a hangover) pain. Are you getting PT? I am waiting for W/C to approve that and I will start....[/QUOTE]

Going to find about PT tomororw when I go see the NS!
[QUOTE=mb100]Hey Ouch,

I heard the same thing about the pins and needles coming back. Dont know if thats true.

Sounds like you had a rough few days, dont let it get you down. It takes time as you well know.

Keep us updated

Take it easy....Mike[/QUOTE]

Yea... Seems to make sense to the non-doc, right? :)

I'm doing a little better today - only 1 skelaxin .. no tylenol. Not sure if that has been actually providing any relieft so I'm just gonna see if I can skip that...

We'll see!
All in all, one of the better days...

3x skelaxin, 1x tylenol

Headaches seem to be going away - perhaps the lack of tylenol?

One thing that is starting to creep up on me is my throat.

I've been battling with soreness / that stuck feeling for the past few days but it seems to have kicked into high gear this evening.

I *think* I have narrowed the source of the problem to the incision. Its almost as if the scaring / healing in that area is now putting a little pressure / push on that area of the throat.

Guess that is to be expected from what I gathered in oher posts...

Fun fun fun! :)
Ouch what did the NS say about PT?

I do not take anything now regularily. An occasional Naperson and muscle relaxer but truely nothing works so why bother. I almost thought I was going to have a semi painfree day. At least I did in the morning for a bit. That was nice. Sigh I really want a 2 hour massage. Must look into that.

Hey Ouch or other friends is it me only or did/do you all have jaw pain?
[QUOTE=Backinthesaddle]Ouch what did the NS say about PT?

I do not take anything now regularily. An occasional Naperson and muscle relaxer but truely nothing works so why bother. I almost thought I was going to have a semi painfree day. At least I did in the morning for a bit. That was nice. Sigh I really want a 2 hour massage. Must look into that.

Hey Ouch or other friends is it me only or did/do you all have jaw pain?[/QUOTE]

Today was actually a very good day at the NS.

He said that my fusion was happening - FAST ... Like surprisingly fast.

I say its becasue of my diet - I am strict veg these days with only fish as my source of meat... And I take great supplements and vitamins (and when I get my soy milk) ... Sooo Shrug! I guess all that matters is that it is happening!

In regards to PT, I have a script so I start whenever I can.

Gonna call around tomorrow.

In regard to jaw wierdness, I had face numbness as well with mine.. And a bit of dizzyness... A lot (if not most) has been resolved since surgery in that realm. Matter of fact, I didn't realise it until today that that was the case.

I also got my MRIs back from the doc now that surgery is over.... I took a look at em and it is VERY clear that my thecal sac indentation was RIGHT there on the spinal cord... So this may have been worse than I was led to believe before I met my NS...

I also feel this may be attributed to why it is taking me so long....

But generally speaking, today was a pretty good day - I do see small improvements day to day.

I also got a script for flexeril. Apparently this will knock me on my butt so I probably won't take it until this evening before bed.

Other than that... Takin it one day at a time. But like I said, there is a distant, dimly lit light at the end of the tunnel that I am starting to see!

It's actually very exciting.

Best of luck to everyone that is reading this thread and shares the longer-than-typical recovery!!!
[QUOTE=acdfouch]New burning question of the moment! :)

Pins and needles feelings in the areas where the nerves made me feel numb before... Specifically the thumb and index finger...

Is that a good sign? Is that a sign of the nerve "coming back to life / waking up"?[/QUOTE]

I had that.

I still get a tingle in my left index finger if I move a certain way.

My surgeon said that that was common, and that it will probably be there for the rest of my life. It's not very strong. I figure it is nerve damage.

Dennis
Wow you guys are lucky if flexeril makes you sleepy, I could only dream of that. Seems Ambien doesn't even make me sleepy. None of the meds I have taken make me sleepy.

I also had a decent day. Word of warning----do not hold the phone up with bent elbow while fighting with banking software company, makes ones arm numb and sore for hours....Other then that I had less pain the usual. Of course as I sit down after the baby is in bed I feel more oweeeeeee's but better then yesterday......

Jaw still hurts but so be it...........
[QUOTE=Backinthesaddle]Wow you guys are lucky if flexeril makes you sleepy, I could only dream of that. Seems Ambien doesn't even make me sleepy. None of the meds I have taken make me sleepy.

I also had a decent day. Word of warning----do not hold the phone up with bent elbow while fighting with banking software company, makes ones arm numb and sore for hours....Other then that I had less pain the usual. Of course as I sit down after the baby is in bed I feel more oweeeeeee's but better then yesterday......

Jaw still hurts but so be it...........[/QUOTE]

Very good news!!

I hope everyone else out there is having a good day. :)

I'm having an up and down day, but not a bad overall day..

Gonna try the flexiril in a bit - see how that goes.

The NS's nurse idea with that was take it at night to help settle down any stuff that may act up while I sleep to help with the waking hours.

Sounds like a reasonable enough plan to me.

See where things go from here!
Well.

I tried the flexeril.

Didn't make me as drowsy as I hoped ... I only took a 5mg dose - I was given a 10mg.. But didn't want the full thing first night while still doing skelaxin.

Anyway, about an hour into it, my neck and arm spasm'd in the way I could feel and see it.. I guess that's a good thing? :)

Never the less, I woke up about the sameish but did sleep a little better.

Overall, the day has been pretty good (relatively speaking).

I've taken it easy - very rainy out today so not too much to do but I've only take skelaxin 2x and no tylenol needed to get me through doses. I see that as a positive.

I also did some past thread reading in regards to the throat thing... Some people swore up and down it was scar tissue / swelling related and to use vitamin e (the "real" stuff is best in the gelcaps I'm assuming) and rub it all over the scar and above and below to let the scar heal and also apparently break up internal scar tissue (?) I'm skeptical, but a few people swore by it.

And I have to say - I don't have quite the same throat issues that I was having.. Coinkydink? Dunno. Am I gonna stop Vitamin E? Nope! :)

In regards to therapy, I start Monday.

To the vets and dennis et all, what should I be doing? Very light stretching? Some heat / ice? That's about it? I don't want to overdo it - mb100's case has me... very.... take it slow ... So, I just would love to compare therapy notes before going.

I was surprised to see my script for therapy didn't even have ultrasound checked ... Just moist heat and ROM stuff. I pretty much have all that info from my go from when I was trying to avoid surgery :)

So, I've been doing LIGHT movement of my neck side to side .. Not too much up and down... that's a little too freaky still for me ...

I welcome comments :)

I REALLY hope this helps someone out there someday!!!
Hi Ouch,

I'm in a hurry but i just want to say that up & down...especially UP, is a big no-no. :nono:
K?

Jackie :wave:
Ouch,

Hey old buddy, this thread has likely helped everyone thats read it. It touches on about every aspect of acdf recovery. It sure helped me.

What should you be doing? Whatever the therapist tells you basicly. But beware.....if it hurts, he he he, you know.

Interview the therapist, he probably wont have you do much the first time anyway. Mine charted my rom, strength, stuff like that. took my history. He's gonna take that data and determine what needs work/strengthening

Ask him how many patients he has worked with that had the same problems, And ask how they did. Did they have trouble? That would be good to know. If you're the first, I would ask for another therapist. (thats not too likely)

You SHOULD start seeing some significant improvement now. If for no other reason than you're doin something physical. ya know?

Best of luck to you man and let us know

As always

Take it slow

Mike
[QUOTE=JackieH]Hi Ouch,

I'm in a hurry but i just want to say that up & down...especially UP, is a big no-no. :nono:
K?

Jackie :wave:[/QUOTE]

Really.

Down too?

I'll have to keep that in mind!

I'll see what they have to say this afternoon..

I'll report back.

And I am noticing small improvements everyday... I am starting to be able to turn my neck without worrying too much about it...

And a lot of my pain has been replaced by stiffness it seems ... I made it through another day of no tylenol yesterday - just muscle relaxants...

I'm sure today will be a different story if I do more than paperwork (after PT).
[QUOTE=mb100]Ouch,

Hey old buddy, this thread has likely helped everyone thats read it. It touches on about every aspect of acdf recovery. It sure helped me.

What should you be doing? Whatever the therapist tells you basicly. But beware.....if it hurts, he he he, you know.

Interview the therapist, he probably wont have you do much the first time anyway. Mine charted my rom, strength, stuff like that. took my history. He's gonna take that data and determine what needs work/strengthening

Ask him how many patients he has worked with that had the same problems, And ask how they did. Did they have trouble? That would be good to know. If you're the first, I would ask for another therapist. (thats not too likely)

You SHOULD start seeing some significant improvement now. If for no other reason than you're doin something physical. ya know?

Best of luck to you man and let us know

As always

Take it slow

Mike[/QUOTE]

I think I am pretty confident in the pt's abilities... I was actually going to them prior to the whole surgery so they know my history.

Hopefully that will count for something at the end of the day and help me recover easier / faster!

(and I really do hope all this chatter helps someone!)
Good luck, I'm sure it will be fine.
Had my first PT.

Same guy as before which was good.

Didn't lose too much in terms of motion, but my left arm is weaker than it was... Not too surprising considering where I was headed w/o surgery.

I am doing light stretching... That's about it.

Phew.

That was a heck of a workout today! :)

And he has me looking up slightly.... Is that a bad thing? He feels that won't do anything bad...

Keep in mind, this guy has seen me before in the past and did a pretty good job... But if everyone else says WOAH - looking up?!?!? Then perhaps he is too ambitious?

I'd appreciate comments...
Is it the flexeril?

Is it time?

I don't think its PT bc I just started that yesterday...

BUT - WOW!!!

I am ACTUALLY....

*STARTING TO FEEL BETTER*

It's SUCH an amazing feeling.

Instead of being happy here and there, I am starting to find myself almost.... forgetting at times that I had done what I did... And the pains I was having.

It's not an all day thing - I'm reminded if I move the wrong way... A little tingle in the fingers... Etc..

But - wow!

It's great to write this!

Now - on to my weirdnesses :)

I still have throat issues. I'm trying the vitamin E regiment to see if it gets helped with that... (rubbing it around the cut etc)

And now I have a tingling in my leg as well... Odd. I used to have the occasional calf tightness / soreness prior to surgery.... I'm hoping its something waking up down there again that was affected by the C5/6 thecal sac stuff... I'm not sure I'm ready to hear I have lower back problems too :)
Hey Ouch,

Glad to hear you're feeling better. Could be a combo of all the stuff. Keep us posted.

I must of missed something, or forgot, whats your throat issue again? It would take to long to go through this thread to find out!!!

Mike
[QUOTE=mb100]Hey Ouch,

Glad to hear you're feeling better. Could be a combo of all the stuff. Keep us posted.

I must of missed something, or forgot, whats your throat issue again? It would take to long to go through this thread to find out!!!

Mike[/QUOTE]

Hahah.

Yea, once I am done with all of this, I am planning to summarize or something on the first page for those that find it years from now :)

In regards to the throat - here's where things are at :

About a week ago, I started having a pretty good lumpy / something caught in the throat feeling. It was slightly above the incision area.

In looking for some help, (I told the NS nurse and she shrugged it off saying that if I felt better before, it just doesn't add up that it started bothering me again) I found that someone swore up and down that using vitamin E on the cut and above and below will break up scar tissue inside and outside.

I've been doing that religiously for the past few days (once in the morning / once in the evening) and I think that is providing some relief.

Other times, my throat issues will come in the form of a sore throat, but that is very unusual.

When I drink and eat, I tend not to feel the stuck feeling.

Cepacol / throat drops sometimes help, but not all the time.

On occasion, I feel like a double-swallow (?) feeling when there is something stuck in the throat.

I never had any of these issues pre-surgery.

So - Mike - I guess what scares the hell out of me is the possibility of my hardware being broken / whatever?

I'm assuming when it does get messed up, its an all the time kind of feeling? And more something internally funky feeling?

Can you easily describe yours so I can compare?
Hey Ouch,

You said you didnt have swallowing issues pre-surgery and it feels like you have something stuck in your throat occasionally, uh, thats because you do have something stuck in your throat!! Sorry, I'm easily amused. I'll feel like an *** if it is a problem. I apologize in advance. (we have to keep a sense of humor and I have a warped one sometimes)

I went through the typical sore throat/swallowing issues initially. Then about a month ago I was looking up (at one of my MRI films, what a suprise huh?) About an hour later I was brushing my teeth and noticed my throat hurt a little. You know how your windpipe moves side to side, well, I was rubbing around my incision and when I moved my windpipe a little I felt it snag on something and then kinda tear loose. Thats the best way I can describe it. It was tender for a week or so. On of the screws in C-7 is backed out about 3/8ths of an inch and I assume thats what it snagged on. Scared me a little, but its ok now. I can feel it when I gently move my windpipe. I go to the Dr. tommorrow for my pre-surgery appointment so I'll tell him then. It has been kinda weird swallowing from the beginning though, I kinda have to bob my head when I swallow, it's not a big problem and it's to be expected since theres a plate in there!

I would guess yours is PROBABLY nothing to worry about. You feel better, move your head more, more physical activity in general, yadda yadda, you'll probably just have to live with it.

Insert my usual disclaimer here

Heres to your continued recovery and as always.....take it slow

Mike
I am one of the lucky ones.

Once the swelling went down, (less than a month), I was eating and drinking like normal (before the surgery). I was singing in about five weeks (I run a Karaoke show). Doc told me that I might have a problem with my voice. I told him that if he was going to mess me up to make me sound like Joe Cocker...he made me sound more like Kermit the Frog...at first anyway. :)

Every once and a while I get a funny "sore" throat. It's like a muscle strain on the left side of the outside of my neck. I feel it when I swallow. Very weird. I just had a CT scan done to look in there, but nothing showed up. Well, they saw the plate :)

I would suspect that your throat will get better with time, but, some have a residual that hangs on...

Dennis
Hey Dennis,

Why the ct scan? No problem I hope.

Mike
[QUOTE=mb100]Hey Ouch,

You said you didnt have swallowing issues pre-surgery and it feels like you have something stuck in your throat occasionally, uh, thats because you do have something stuck in your throat!! Sorry, I'm easily amused. I'll feel like an *** if it is a problem. I apologize in advance. (we have to keep a sense of humor and I have a warped one sometimes)

I went through the typical sore throat/swallowing issues initially. Then about a month ago I was looking up (at one of my MRI films, what a suprise huh?) About an hour later I was brushing my teeth and noticed my throat hurt a little. You know how your windpipe moves side to side, well, I was rubbing around my incision and when I moved my windpipe a little I felt it snag on something and then kinda tear loose. Thats the best way I can describe it. It was tender for a week or so. On of the screws in C-7 is backed out about 3/8ths of an inch and I assume thats what it snagged on. Scared me a little, but its ok now. I can feel it when I gently move my windpipe. I go to the Dr. tommorrow for my pre-surgery appointment so I'll tell him then. It has been kinda weird swallowing from the beginning though, I kinda have to bob my head when I swallow, it's not a big problem and it's to be expected since theres a plate in there!

I would guess yours is PROBABLY nothing to worry about. You feel better, move your head more, more physical activity in general, yadda yadda, you'll probably just have to live with it.

Insert my usual disclaimer here

Heres to your continued recovery and as always.....take it slow

Mike[/QUOTE]

No worries on the joke.

:)

From the sounds of things, I don't THINK I have the same problem as you do... Probably more of a "there is something in there" kinda thing...

I would assume that when I eat and stuff, I could bring it on...

One thing that does have my curiousity peaked a bit tho is that when I move my neck to the left, I think I can replicate the feeling.

Just hope that's not something backing out on me!

Mmmmm.. So it sounds like you give a vote on not looking up too much :)

What levels did you have done again?
[QUOTE=dennisgb]I am one of the lucky ones.

Once the swelling went down, (less than a month), I was eating and drinking like normal (before the surgery). I was singing in about five weeks (I run a Karaoke show). Doc told me that I might have a problem with my voice. I told him that if he was going to mess me up to make me sound like Joe Cocker...he made me sound more like Kermit the Frog...at first anyway. :)

Every once and a while I get a funny "sore" throat. It's like a muscle strain on the left side of the outside of my neck. I feel it when I swallow. Very weird. I just had a CT scan done to look in there, but nothing showed up. Well, they saw the plate :)

I would suspect that your throat will get better with time, but, some have a residual that hangs on...

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Yea... That's my hopes.

I have a esophagus study on Thursday to see if there is any connection there for the chest pains...

(which have subsided quite a bit over the past weeks)... I scheduled this prior to the surgery.

I guess if there is something to see, something will be seen then!
C-4567

The therapist wont push it too far, I wouldnt think.

Does your windpipe move freely back and forth?

Dont hurt yourself trying it, but let me know.

I dont know about the turning the head thing, maybe because you havent been doin it much huh?

I was suprised at the rom I had from the begining, I didnt know most of your movement was at the first three levels and the doc didnt tell me that, he just told me my rom would only be slightly affected, and he was right.
[QUOTE=mb100]C-4567

The therapist wont push it too far, I wouldnt think.

Does your windpipe move freely back and forth?

Dont hurt yourself trying it, but let me know.

I dont know about the turning the head thing, maybe because you havent been doin it much huh?

I was suprised at the rom I had from the begining, I didnt know most of your movement was at the first three levels and the doc didnt tell me that, he just told me my rom would only be slightly affected, and he was right.[/QUOTE]

... I have to say. I never tried moving it and never thought to.

That said, how does one go about that :)

Literally grab the throat and move it around? :) Or some kinda internal thingy...

And I have just about the same ROM that I did when I first went so I haven't lost much (if any) either... I only had one level done so mine isnt as much as yours.

And I'm sure there is an element of just getting started with PT ... It may be confusing my throat issues and showing up as different things.

Phew.

I am getting some wild muscle spasms now...

Time for that next Skelaxin!

The other thing that my PT said was that I had severe atrophy in my left scapula / shoulder area.. He also mentioned that I was going to be quite surprised at just how little weight is going to set me off.
[QUOTE=mb100]Hey Dennis,

Why the ct scan? No problem I hope.

Mike[/QUOTE]

My GP wanted to be sure that my neck stuff was all okay, before sending me back to my surgeon if need be. Having a weird pain in the neck (so to speak), when you are an ACDF patient, raises red flags. The scan was fine, and the pain went away in a couple of days. It was a new one for me...I either strained it, or it was just a cold or flu bug...I'm fine now.

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]My GP wanted to be sure that my neck stuff was all okay, before sending me back to my surgeon if need be. Having a weird pain in the neck (so to speak), when you are an ACDF patient, raises red flags. The scan was fine, and the pain went away in a couple of days. It was a new one for me...I either strained it, or it was just a cold or flu bug...I'm fine now.

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Good to hear!

As far as me... I'm having a pretty good morning.

Just having a quick bite before the PT.

Feels pretty wild to write that but I think I really mean it :)

Maybe just getting the PT started was enough to help work out some of the VERY unused muscles.

Apparently I got a bit of atrophy on the left side going on (some of the nerve damage, some of it simply being unused).

See how today goes!

It's time for my next skelaxin and if I didn't have PT, I could probably... *GASP* - WAIT!

Wow.

Now THAT's scary. :)

My throat funkyness is still around but I'll just give it time.

I don't think its something like a hardware failure - its just not with me enough.

I have a espohagus study tomorrow.. Now that is gonna be lots of fun.

Just another checkmark off on the non-cardiac chest pain (which seems to be subsiding - again.. I feel the need to put in I think but it feels great to even type that at all).
I know when I started PT it was really hard at first. It took a while before it really kicked in. I think I had sessions 2 times a week for a month or maybe six weeks. Towards the end I started to notice the difference. Some of the excercises were quite hard to do at first.

Now, I do all of the same excercises, every other day. I have increased the reps a little, and increased my weights. It really keeps me in shape and loose.

When I start, I usually lay on the floor, and hold my weights up to my chest. Everyday, I get a few pops from my shoulders and back...sometimes my neck. These are the ones that cause the spasms. If they pop...no spasms. It took a while for things to get strong and loose enough to be able to do that.

Have they done massage on your shoulders and had you strech your arms out while they do it (hard to explain this). My PT people did that after my sessions, and it really helped to loosen those spasms. If they haven't, ask them about it.

Dennis
Hey guys,

Dennis, that's what I meant when talking about Drs. who err on the side of caution. You know alot would just MAYBE send you for an exray, especially with your history of full fusion, let alone a cat scan. Glad to hear your OK.

Ouch, Forget the esophagus thing, I got a skinny neck and it kinda sticks out. Sounds like you got the "I feel so good it ought to be illegal" thing goin on, cool.

It's too nice to sit here typing, talk to ya

Mike
[QUOTE=dennisgb]I know when I started PT it was really hard at first. It took a while before it really kicked in. I think I had sessions 2 times a week for a month or maybe six weeks. Towards the end I started to notice the difference. Some of the excercises were quite hard to do at first.

Now, I do all of the same excercises, every other day. I have increased the reps a little, and increased my weights. It really keeps me in shape and loose.

When I start, I usually lay on the floor, and hold my weights up to my chest. Everyday, I get a few pops from my shoulders and back...sometimes my neck. These are the ones that cause the spasms. If they pop...no spasms. It took a while for things to get strong and loose enough to be able to do that.

Have they done massage on your shoulders and had you strech your arms out while they do it (hard to explain this). My PT people did that after my sessions, and it really helped to loosen those spasms. If they haven't, ask them about it.

Dennis[/QUOTE]

They actually end me with the tens machine so I get cold and the funky pulses to wrap things up.

I had my first round of doing VERY small weights today.

PHEW - I am BEAT.

I mean REALLY.

I have a little atropohy from the collar on the left side of my body but it should come back pretty quick.

Overall, I am really happy with how things are going at this point.

Like said before, apparently everyone recovers and interprets the recovery different but I am seeing relief and the light getting bigger!
[QUOTE=mb100]Hey guys,

Dennis, that's what I meant when talking about Drs. who err on the side of caution. You know alot would just MAYBE send you for an exray, especially with your history of full fusion, let alone a cat scan. Glad to hear your OK.

Ouch, Forget the esophagus thing, I got a skinny neck and it kinda sticks out. Sounds like you got the "I feel so good it ought to be illegal" thing goin on, cool.

It's too nice to sit here typing, talk to ya

Mike[/QUOTE]

Heh... I guess I can't do that then :)

I'm down to 177, but I can't quite do manipulative things of that nature :)

And I'm pretty beat from my day of PT today but its a good thing .... Feel like it was a step in the right direction.

So... Good stuff!
Welp, esophagus is a negative check on the chest pain.

Not too much left now :)

Guess I just need to see if time helps improve it with the fusion... I *THINK* it is too!

Had to not take my muscle relaxant for the test this morning - that was a little rough.. And I'm starting to do more stuff... Soooo.. Having a bad muscle day, but nothing like before so...

Not too much to report, but good stuff at the moment!
Just wanted to chime in quickly to say that I have had three PT's appt's now.

Phew - big workout that is.

I am starting to feel better all day long now...

The new thing is tingly-ness all in my arm and fingers / wrists and stuff...

Guess those nerves are comin back to life!
Hey Ouch,

Sounds like it's all systems go! Do they have you doing any therapy at home yet? As you know, I felt so good after a couple weeks of therapy. Aches and pains but felt great. Just dont fall into the "bulletproof" mentality, Thats for the teenagers!!!!!

Take it slow....Mike
[QUOTE=mb100]Hey Ouch,

Sounds like it's all systems go! Do they have you doing any therapy at home yet? As you know, I felt so good after a couple weeks of therapy. Aches and pains but felt great. Just dont fall into the "bulletproof" mentality, Thats for the teenagers!!!!!

Take it slow....Mike[/QUOTE]

Hahhaa...

Yea - I'm basically trying to do all of my stretches at home 2x a day.

I am doing some very lightweight muscle building exercises to try to recover from the atrophy there too - but I'm doing that there only so not to overwork etc stuff.

I think in general I am :

Up / Down / Side / etc stretching
Arm cycling type machine thing - 5:00 min at level 3
Chest press 12.5 pounds
Pullback 12.5 pounds
Pulldown 12.5 pounds
Bicep curls 3 pounds
Shoulder shrugs 3 pounds

Doesn't sound like much, but then with the heat before and ice / tens machine afterwards... Thats a good hour of work at PT!

Yea... things certainly seem to be improving!

Lots and lots of tingly-ness .... In some new areas too but I'm just putting that in the didn't-know-i-lost-it-there category at the moment.
Keep chugging forward, Ouch!

Tough work, but you can overcome anything after the past month and a half! :bouncing:
[QUOTE=funny4mony]Keep chugging forward, Ouch!

Tough work, but you can overcome anything after the past month and a half! :bouncing:[/QUOTE]

Thanks.

I thought I would be tough and just try to take a skelaxin when I "really needed it rather than before"...

Well, made it to 2:30 pretty uneventful (around when it was time for the next round) but then an hour later I cried uncle.

Feels good knowing this is all I need at the moment tho to keep things reasonable.
Just in case someone makes it to this version of the thread...

I am having this INTENSE C6 nerve root pain - all in places where I felt numbness prior to surgery and now some more "classic" C6 places like the elbow, wrists etc...

The pain is INTENSE - like 7/8 type pain and its 100% nerve - those of you out there know you can just tell.

So - to all of you vets... Is this part of the "reversal" (?) proccess?

It makes sense to me that it would be... Just want to make sure I'm not fooling myself though :)

If it is part of the way things go - I must be really close to no pain! :D
Thought I would continue my "normal" thread.

First day back at work...

Got up and left the house around ~6:30. Got to the office around 7:00.

Fun fun fun!

Been having lots of throat problems for whatever reason today, but nothing out of the ordinary.

I've had brief moments of no pain, followed by lots of spasms.

All to be expected I guess.

I know the first day will certainly be the hardest!!!

....
[QUOTE=acdfouch]Just in case someone makes it to this version of the thread...

I am having this INTENSE C6 nerve root pain - all in places where I felt numbness prior to surgery and now some more "classic" C6 places like the elbow, wrists etc...

The pain is INTENSE - like 7/8 type pain and its 100% nerve - those of you out there know you can just tell.

So - to all of you vets... Is this part of the "reversal" (?) proccess?

It makes sense to me that it would be... Just want to make sure I'm not fooling myself though :)

If it is part of the way things go - I must be really close to no pain! :D[/QUOTE]

Ouch,

I never had that.

Not sure why you would be feeling this at this point.

Keep a close watch on it.

When is your next visit?

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Ouch,

I never had that.

Not sure why you would be feeling this at this point.

Keep a close watch on it.

When is your next visit?

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Not until May 9th.

I put an SOS out to the nurse to make sure everything was on the up an up...

I'll see what they have to say.
Thought I would do a little more of my daily update kind of thing in this thread.

Yesterday was a big day.

Hour worth of driving and about 8 hours on the job.

All in all, it wasn't THAT bad - or, not as bad as I thought it would be.

I'm back in the saddle again today and have a bit of tingling / numbness going on, but.... Not too bad overall.

My left scapular area is a little sore / numb / tingly, but that of course could just be from the workout too. I can't quite discount that.

See how today goes!
Oh yea - to those of you that only monitor this thread...

Here's a little post I put out there about the horners!

Last night, as I walked into the bathroom, I saw what was an amazing sight!!!

Before turning on the lights, as I usually do, I glance over at my eye in the mirror to see a very small pupil on one side, and a very large one on the other... But something was different!

The one on the right actually GREW - granted, it was not 100% even with the other one, but you could easily tell (if you have ever seen horner's... its pretty wild to say the least - search images.google.com for horner's syndrom) that something was getting better!

Felt great.

I hope this is a win for not only this issue but any others I am healing from internally as well!
Thought I would put a little update in here again.

It's about 10:30 and I've been at work for good few hours.

My drive is about an hour + both ways...

Yesterday, I left work early again as I was having REALLY bad pains - like the nerve stuff again.

Could it be all the driving? Could it be the work I do (sitting at a computer - I do try to get up at LEAST every hour now)? Could it be the PT? Could it be all of em? Dunno.

But I hope to have some type of relief soon.

This morning, had the "intense" nerve pain again.

Elbow tingling / hurting which is passing down the forearm and connecting to my wrist with pain.

Have some in the scapular area as well... And the base of my neck hurts like hell too.

Got some fun feelings in the thumb and index finger too (tingling etc)....

I also get these new sensations that I can only describe like this :

It's as if my hair was standing up on my arms and you get that..... feeling from that happening there. Only - this feeling is happening running down my forearm. Very odd.

Any thoughts / opinions out there?

My wife called the secretary of the NS office and when she described my issues.... She got to the point of saying his pain is "nerve pain" and she cut her off (apparently very rudely) and claimed NERVE PAIN???? As if to say impossible.

Shrug.

Feeling like I'm in the dark is the worst part of all of this.

I just hope I'm fusing as well as I apparently was and PT isn't messing any of this up...

Perhaps I am just doing way too much? I'm at about 8 weeks out now.

It actually hurts to bring my hand up to my shoulder - right in the elbow...

(which from my understanding is a "classic" C6 thing - but I never had that before surgery)
[QUOTE=acdfouch]Could it be all the driving? Could it be the work I do (sitting at a computer - I do try to get up at LEAST every hour now)? Could it be the PT? Could it be all of em? Dunno.

It's as if my hair was standing up on my arms and you get that..... feeling from that happening there. Only - this feeling is happening running down my forearm. Very odd.

Any thoughts / opinions out there?[/QUOTE]

Ouch,

It could very well be that all of the "new" stuff you are doing is causing the problems. Driving is one of the worst. Especially backing and merging or turning corners. You have to turn your head to see. I found that if I turned my upper torso, and my head less, it put less stress on my neck. If you drive a truck or a car with sport suspension, this puts downward stress on the neck also. Sitting at a computer...what do I say...that's the worst.

I had that hair standing up on my arm thing too...I forgot about it until you mentioned it.

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Ouch,

It could very well be that all of the "new" stuff you are doing is causing the problems. Driving is one of the worst. Especially backing and merging or turning corners. You have to turn your head to see. I found that if I turned my upper torso, and my head less, it put less stress on my neck. If you drive a truck or a car with sport suspension, this puts downward stress on the neck also. Sitting at a computer...what do I say...that's the worst.

I had that hair standing up on my arm thing too...I forgot about it until you mentioned it.

Dennis[/QUOTE]

I'm sure all the new stuff could be adding to the mix as well.

I just am trying to get through the week the best I can. :)

I'm waiting to see what the NS nurse has to say - my wife is waiting for a call back.

I'm hopeful for an Xray and an MRI just to help put my mind at ease at this point.
I sure hope you can press your doc into taking a look, as not knowing can be so worrisome and exhausting. We forget that the docs hear our kind of stuff every day, and they forget that we're individuals who have valid concerns.

Your symptoms sound like me before surgery. Being at the computer and driving were easily the two biggest triggers for my symptoms. Reaching for anything over my head was a pretty good one, too.

Obviously I know the least about post-op here, but I sure hope to hear that your body is just reacting to the new activities. I'm guessing that you haven't spent that much time driving in quite a while, and that getting back to work is taking some adjusting, as well.

Take care, good luck, and keep us informed.
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Ouch,

It could very well be that all of the "new" stuff you are doing is causing the problems. Driving is one of the worst. Especially backing and merging or turning corners. You have to turn your head to see. I found that if I turned my upper torso, and my head less, it put less stress on my neck. If you drive a truck or a car with sport suspension, this puts downward stress on the neck also. Sitting at a computer...what do I say...that's the worst.

I had that hair standing up on my arm thing too...I forgot about it until you mentioned it.

Dennis[/QUOTE]

When you say you had the hair standing up thing feeling.... Was the before or after surgery?

Just curious.

Thanks!
[QUOTE=ember919]I sure hope you can press your doc into taking a look, as not knowing can be so worrisome and exhausting. We forget that the docs hear our kind of stuff every day, and they forget that we're individuals who have valid concerns.

Your symptoms sound like me before surgery. Being at the computer and driving were easily the two biggest triggers for my symptoms. Reaching for anything over my head was a pretty good one, too.

Obviously I know the least about post-op here, but I sure hope to hear that your body is just reacting to the new activities. I'm guessing that you haven't spent that much time driving in quite a while, and that getting back to work is taking some adjusting, as well.

Take care, good luck, and keep us informed.[/QUOTE]

I am getting an Xray tomorrow - my own choice.

NS office never called me back... I still have a script from them for an Xray that I didn't have to use - I went into their office and they gave me a new one...

Sooooo.. I'm going to use this other one and get myself an Xray. If they aren't going to ensure that I am ok, I sure as hell am if I have the means.

So, tomorrow I'm getting an Xray of the stuff. I'm no doctor, but I do play one on the internet and there are tons of fusion images to compare out there... I can also look for the obvious llke plate / screw issues.

And as far as it just being one of those it is what it is issues... Could very well be. I know I had some good atrophy going on with my muscles from wearing the collar. And I haven't driven like I have been this week in about oh... 7 weeks. So... I could certainly see how things are acting up.

What has me concerned is that I never had these particular feelings prior to the surgery. Mine was focused more in the back and fingers....

So - here I am left twiddling my thumbs and analyzing / researching on my own. Is it that scar tissue that was seen on the MRI from before? Maybe there is more of it? Maybe I am moving stuff around in there and breaking it up? Maybe I'm just having some "issues" due to all the stuff I am doing?

Who knows.

Wish I did!
Hi!
I'm new to this board...not sure how to post a question, so I hit "Reply to a post"

I'm 40, about 25 pounds overweight...been diagnosed w/DDD and cervical stenosis and a protruding disk (C6-7) causing nerve pressure.

Pain started in October '04 (now it's April '05)...5 weeks of total, constant (24 hours/day) numbness on the entire right side of my body, including legs and face/head..exceptionally bad in right thumb and pointer finger.

I get incredibly intense pain in my shoulder and arm....medications taken (with no relief) are: vicodin, percocet, neurotin.

I had an MRI done and am now in my 3rd week of PT w/an appointment with a neuro surgeon in June.

I'm getting incredibly frustrated...I'm a single mom w/my own business which requires a lot of traveling and it's affecting my business and my son!

ANY suggestions/comments would be greatly appreciated!!!

THANK YOU!
Hi Jen,

It sounds as if you're on the right path. Try to take it easy, no heavy lifting And try not to look up. Take care of yourself, basically. You might also go ahead and seek out another opinion,It's always a good idea to get several.

Best of luck...Mike
Jen,

Your symptoms are consitant with C6-7. I had much the same, then had ACDF surgery in June of 04 on C5-6 and C6-7.

Your course of treatment is pretty normal.

You should post on the front page if you can...you won't get lost in another thread.

Dennis
Dennis -

Out of curiousity, what stretching excersies do you do / did you do?

Was / is anything off limits?

I'm concerned that the looking up and down exercises (hold for 15 sec 2x) may be adding to my issues? (my PT says there is no harm but its not his body)...
Well.

Got my Xray back - no screws or funkyness so I'm very happy.

I'm also no doc as said always, but I really dont see any empty spaces at all. So.. Wow. I guess I really did fuse quick. I'll see what the report has to say in those regards for the "real" word but it looks good!

And the NS office nurse called back.

She was dumbfounded and had no real advice for me. Just said some people need more time than others and perhaps I was mistaking pain for tingles. I really PERSONALLY dont think thats the case.. But who knows... I'm just going to try to take it easy and nuke the up and down look exercise and stick with the other stuff.

See if any of that helps.

Only two skelaxin and 1 tylenol dose today - the day was pretty okish and I had PT... So.. Maybe this "stuff" in the other C6 spots are just... Who knows.

Time will tell!

Perhaps this is the downside of me posting all this? Paying too much attention to every detail?

I do it for you - the people!!! :)
Ouch,

Happy to hear about the X-ray.

You've been through a heckuva lot and have come a long, long way.

Kudos to you for enduring all the issues. They happen.

And I darn well would be charting every bodily sensation, too, if I had a complication such as Horner's, which was the result of nerve retraction during surgery. That's a healthy and natural perspective in my book.

Keep up the good work! :bouncing:
[QUOTE=funny4mony]Ouch,

Happy to hear about the X-ray.

You've been through a heckuva lot and have come a long, long way.

Kudos to you for enduring all the issues. They happen.

And I darn well would be charting every bodily sensation, too, if I had a complication such as Horner's, which was the result of nerve retraction during surgery. That's a healthy and natural perspective in my book.

Keep up the good work! :bouncing:[/QUOTE]

You hit the nail on the head.

Apparently my NS team doesn't quite grasp that.
[QUOTE=acdfouch]Dennis -

Out of curiousity, what stretching excersies do you do / did you do?

Was / is anything off limits?

I'm concerned that the looking up and down exercises (hold for 15 sec 2x) may be adding to my issues? (my PT says there is no harm but its not his body)...[/QUOTE]

This might take a little bit to explain.

I work with hand weights. I use 5lb weights, but was started with 3lb. Some of the excercises I could use more, but most, this is adequate. I do 20 reps of each excercise.

I start on the floor, with knees up and back flat to the floor (that's very important).

It's important to relax as much as possible.

The first thing I do, with the weights in my hands, is slowly bring them to your chest. I only do this a couple of times, just to loosen up. I usually get a pop in the shoulder from this. It helps to try and get your shoulders flat to the floor once the weights are at your chest. You can just rest them there for a minute while you get the "kinks" out.

I place the weights at my side, and straighten one leg at a time and lift it to about 30 degrees from the floor. I hold that as long as I can, usually a minute or so. Alternate to other leg. Only one time each. This helps to strengthen the abs and back. I have a problem at S1 and L5, so this helps that. It also keeps you loose.

Next I do 20 crunches straight forward (you need to know how to do these correctly to make sure you don't put pressure on your neck). Then 20 crunches each to the right and left.

Now take the weights and stand up with the weights in your hands and feet spread at shoulder width. Bring the weights to shoulder height from your sides, then down, then to shoulder height if front of your face, then down, then from your sides, go back as far as you can. 20 reps of this sequence.

Next I hold the weights at my sides and relax and let the weight pull my shoulders down. This is something I added, because after the surgery I was holding my shoulders up (I still do it sometimes). This was an unconciuos action that I think was caused by the trauma of the surgery. The weight really helps to pull your shoulders to relax and take a normal position. I get some pops out of the shoulders when I do this.

Next I do 20 standard curls with the weights.

Next, you take one weight in your right hand and with your right leg straight, put your left leg on a bed or chair or couch with knee bent (this is a tough one to explain in words). Your back should be angled forward about 30 degrees. Now you do "saws". The motion with the weight is like sawing with a manual rip saw. Try to keep you arm and elbow tight to your body. 20 reps each side.

In the same position as above, put your arm straight down at your side (even with the leg), and then bring the weight back as far as you can. 20 reps each side.

Next, I lay on the bed with my head over the corner of the bed, and the weights on the floor, and take the weights in each hand and then bring them up as high as you can. The weights should be out approx. shoulder distance as you do this.

Next, in the same position on the bed. Put the weights down, and put your arms straight out in front of your head, in line with your body position, hands straight out. In the "superman flying position". Lift your hands as high as you can (it won't be far). 20 reps.

That's it. It takes me 10-15 minutes. You should only do this every other day, so the muscles can recover.

This is pretty standard PT stuff. It works though. You have to become religious about it for it to work. I have pretty much followed all of my doctors orders since my surgery 2 years ago. Your body will get stronger, and particularly your neck. My docs told me this is the best way to sheild against the dominoe theory, the effect caused by pressure on the vertibrae above and below the fused ones.

I lost 25 lbs and gained muscle after about 6 months. Physically I feel 20 years younger. I'm almost 54.

Hope you can understand this. Remember take it slow. Do only the number of reps you can at first. The 20 rep number is a target, because that's the number you will feel the most burn. You have to get the muscles to burn, before there is a significant effect. Initially, you want to get loose, and calm down the spasms, so that should be your target.

Ask you PT and doc if it's okay for you to do these.

Dennis
All of what you typed was not a loss.

Just want to make sure you realize that.

I will literally be printing this out and taking it with me.

Some of the things you do, I am doing today... I woudl say about three of them.

At the moment, I can only tolerate about 3 pounds for 2 of my exercises and 2 pounds for the other.

Terrific information.

One last specific question.. Do you flex your neck still ... Like strecthing exercises? Side to side 15 sec hold... Up / down is the one I was told was ok (same 15 sec hold 2x) but am very weary of.
[QUOTE=acdfouch]One last specific question.. Do you flex your neck still ... Like strecthing exercises? Side to side 15 sec hold... Up / down is the one I was told was ok (same 15 sec hold 2x) but am very weary of.[/QUOTE]

You may not like this.

The answer to your question is NEVER.

My doc would not let me go on the neck machines, and never asked for neck flex excercises. The idea of the excercises they gave me was to strengthen the neck without putting pressure on it.

Personally, I think you are too early in your recovery to be doing any of the stuff that puts stress on the neck. I have been hearing more and more people on here talking about this and other things that I would consider "risky" at earlier and earlier points in recovery.

I was told that the bones are not fused for 1 year. Why put stress on it before it is fused?

The most important thing I can say is, "You know your own body...listen to it." If something doesn't make sense or feel right you should make the decision.

When I went to PT, my doc told me to not get on the flex machines. When I got there, the first thing they said was "We'll put you in this machine to flex your neck." I said, my doc said no. "Oh, some are okay with it and others aren't."

I thought to myself, 'If I hadn't said anything...'

You read what you want into that. I think there is a gap in communication, as well as mistakes being made wanting to please patients who want "Instant Results".

I'm on a soap box here, but the way I felt about it, is that I did not want anything to happen to mess things up. I didn't want to go through the surgery again.

One last story about getting things right. I am alergic to aspirin and ibroprophen. It almost killed me. So, I am being prept for surgery, have my alergy wrist band on. The anastegiologist (sp) comes in and is telling me about what they will be doing. I ask him if he is aware that I am alergic to aspirin and ibroprophen? He turns white as a sheet and stares at me with a blank look. "Boy, it's a good thing you asked that question, because one of the things I was going to give you contains aspirin."

Take control, make your own decisions. Listen closely to what's being said. Don't assume that everyone knows what their doing...

Dennis
Ouch,

I did do isometrics on the neck, somewhere in there. These were stationary isometrics. Holding pressure against your head, sides back and front.

Never any flexing. My surgeon was very careful even checking range of motion until one year.

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Ouch,

I did do isometrics on the neck, somewhere in there. These were stationary isometrics. Holding pressure against your head, sides back and front.

Never any flexing. My surgeon was very careful even checking range of motion until one year.

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Interesting!

Perhaps there is some differences due to the amount of levels I had (1) to yours (2? if I remember correctly)
[QUOTE=acdfouch]Interesting!

Perhaps there is some differences due to the amount of levels I had (1) to yours (2? if I remember correctly)[/QUOTE]

I don't think so.
[QUOTE=dennisgb]I don't think so.[/QUOTE]

Ok, I'll buy that too. :)
Welp, another day, another day of misc pains and soreness.. But that light is CERTAINLY at the end of the tunnel.

When I first started documenting all of this, my pain was PAIN - unbearable gimme that pain killer med pain.

Now... I think I am probably almost over-sensitive. Anytime I get a little tweaked, I get tense which of course adds to things.

My muscles are still pretty tight and getting back to working again... I had the collar on for 3 1/2 weeks and was doing VERY little for about 7 1/2 weeks. I think any one - surgery or not - would have some issues to speak of.

So, this is what I am going to do.

I'm going to try to only update this thread with the "major" stuff - if there is any to report.

I think by now, I am starting to focus too much on the little things by cramming it all in here and forgetting about the good.

I'm also trying an experiment today - just tylenol - no muscle relaxers.

See how it goes!

(as I type this, I feel pretty tense / tight... may not last very long... but at least I have gotten two hours in there! :D)
Ouch,

Post as you see fit. Meaning, just be you.

Your insights are valuable and your experience unique.

If you need to get something out of your system, don't bury it within yourself.

Hoping you continue to feel better. :wave:
[QUOTE=dennisgb]You may not like this.

The answer to your question is NEVER.

My doc would not let me go on the neck machines, and never asked for neck flex excercises. The idea of the excercises they gave me was to strengthen the neck without putting pressure on it.

Personally, I think you are too early in your recovery to be doing any of the stuff that puts stress on the neck. I have been hearing more and more people on here talking about this and other things that I would consider "risky" at earlier and earlier points in recovery.

I was told that the bones are not fused for 1 year. Why put stress on it before it is fused?

The most important thing I can say is, "You know your own body...listen to it." If something doesn't make sense or feel right you should make the decision.

When I went to PT, my doc told me to not get on the flex machines. When I got there, the first thing they said was "We'll put you in this machine to flex your neck." I said, my doc said no. "Oh, some are okay with it and others aren't."

I thought to myself, 'If I hadn't said anything...'

You read what you want into that. I think there is a gap in communication, as well as mistakes being made wanting to please patients who want "Instant Results".

I'm on a soap box here, but the way I felt about it, is that I did not want anything to happen to mess things up. I didn't want to go through the surgery again.

One last story about getting things right. I am alergic to aspirin and ibroprophen. It almost killed me. So, I am being prept for surgery, have my alergy wrist band on. The anastegiologist (sp) comes in and is telling me about what they will be doing. I ask him if he is aware that I am alergic to aspirin and ibroprophen? He turns white as a sheet and stares at me with a blank look. "Boy, it's a good thing you asked that question, because one of the things I was going to give you contains aspirin."

Take control, make your own decisions. Listen closely to what's being said. Don't assume that everyone knows what their doing...

Dennis[/QUOTE]

I agree 110%.

If I'm not comfortable doing something, I'm not doing it.

I have no intention of going through this ordeal again if I can do anything to avoid it!

I try and have as much proper posture as possible - a VERY big leap from where I was before with things.

I was a typical "rounded-shoulder", drooped-head type person. Matter of fact, I can remember when I went for one of my first massages to see if I could find any relief that way... They told me to stand up and looked me over to see if they had an indication as to why I was there.

They hit the nail right on the head.

My head dropped to the right as to protect the area of my injury. I never even noticed myself doing it.

Now I sit at the computer looking straight ahead using my eyes - not my head to look at the screen.

I think a lot of things had me progressing backwards the past week or so.

I started PT two weeks ago. I started work one week ago... I went from 0 to 60 in about .5 seconds.

And my body said no.

So I'm listening.

I do appreciate your comments as always.

I would love to bounce this off my NS / team but unfortunately, their perspective on it at this point is that I am in the hands of the PT and what they feel is proper is ... proper.

Gotta love it.
[QUOTE=funny4mony]Ouch,

Post as you see fit. Meaning, just be you.

Your insights are valuable and your experience unique.

If you need to get something out of your system, don't bury it within yourself.

Hoping you continue to feel better. :wave:[/QUOTE]

I had a pretty decent weekend overall....

My wife and I had a conversation in regards to the amount of medicine that I have been taking "just to take" to keep a regiment of sorts going.

So, I tried changing that.

Saturday I had two doses of 500mg Tylenol. One dose of Skelaxin and one flexeril before sleep.

Sunday I had one dose of 1000mg Tylenol and one Skelaxin. One flexeril before sleep.

That's a pretty big cutback actually.

Did I have rough moments leading up to some of those doses? You bet. But I did it...

Perhaps I am getting better than I realise at times...

Back at work today though.... I'm sure that is going to bring on its own stress on the neck but I'm giving it my best again!

Have a little bit of tingling, but nothing I can't deal with at the moment.
[QUOTE=acdfouch]I try and have as much proper posture as possible - a VERY big leap from where I was before with things.

I was a typical "rounded-shoulder", drooped-head type person. Matter of fact, I can remember when I went for one of my first massages to see if I could find any relief that way... They told me to stand up and looked me over to see if they had an indication as to why I was there.[/QUOTE]

Posture is so-o-o-o important.

Your description sounds like me. It's very hard to regain proper posture, but it is an important step to this. It's especially hard when you had bad posture your whole life, like me.

I applaud you for understanding all of the "right" things to do.

You will be rewarded for this in the future. If you can keep on this path, you will see the results, and look back and say "am I ever glad I did this".

I have a friend that has been suffering for years with this, and is afraid to take the corrective step, partly because he was there through my recovery, and is scared to death to go through it. He asks me all the time how I am and I say "couldn't be better, and I'm glad I did it." He's somewhat envious of this, and is getting closer to the point where he can't bear the pain...and will have to do something soon. I always tell him, that I wished I had done it sooner, because my quality of life was so poor for so long.

Just keep plugging, it will all be worth it.

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Posture is so-o-o-o important.

Your description sounds like me. It's very hard to regain proper posture, but it is an important step to this. It's especially hard when you had bad posture your whole life, like me.

I applaud you for understanding all of the "right" things to do.

You will be rewarded for this in the future. If you can keep on this path, you will see the results, and look back and say "am I ever glad I did this".

I have a friend that has been suffering for years with this, and is afraid to take the corrective step, partly because he was there through my recovery, and is scared to death to go through it. He asks me all the time how I am and I say "couldn't be better, and I'm glad I did it." He's somewhat envious of this, and is getting closer to the point where he can't bear the pain...and will have to do something soon. I always tell him, that I wished I had done it sooner, because my quality of life was so poor for so long.

Just keep plugging, it will all be worth it.

Dennis[/QUOTE]

That's what I'm hoping for!

Thanks for the kind words...

Ugh.

I started having intense nerve pain / tingles in all my old areas today...

I took some tylenol - see if that helps knock it down a bith.
..... and im back.

lots and lots of c6 nerve pain.

feels like it is almost... hypersensitive? like its tingly + pain.. if that makes any sense.

ive done a LOT of reading and if there is nothing going on (?), perhaps this can be the regeneration phase of my nerve recovery.

i have an appointment with my neurologist (not NS) tomorrow and i am REALLY hoping he has a lot of time for me.

i also called in for the OR report from the NS, but it has yet to show up.
or report came across the fax.

nothing of great interest - which I find good.

so... who knows :)

i had a PT appt earlier today ~3:00 and I was HURTIN after.

took a skelaxin and laid down... since about oh - 6 or so I've been pretty happy.

my wife reminded me to look at the good - not the bad... and she is right.. my horners is getting better... i am having times of little to no pain... so... like some people say ... its not the individual ups and downs but the overall curve.

i do have to say - i am VERY envious of you pepole that just "woke up" better! :)
annnnnnd i had my neurologist appointment.

he helped put me at ease a bit.

he saw me in the hospital with all of my crazy stuff like the horners, heart rate etc etc after the surgery and when i was let go from the hospital that did the surgery.

in concern to the continuing pain - he said very clearly - give it 3-6 months. some people wake up and they go on with life its such a drastic change for them. some don't. he said give it time.

so, im comforted with that statement and intend to do just that.

matter of fact, i have not taken any medicine today just to see how I fare. im home from work (working from home) so... why not?

in regards to my "new" pain, he believes it may be ulnar nerve but almost for sure, not from the surgery. and to further that thought - hes not even sure its ulnar.. perhaps something got banged around / messed up during PT and i have a "normal persons" injury (my words, not his! :D) but the pinky numbness is what is concerning so ... .emg it is - wont have it until late may tho... my neurologist office is pretty good and busy because of that.

wow, does it never end for me?

at least i am looking at it with new eyes.

and he felt that my horners albeit VERY slow, is coming along.. he doesnt remember my eye not being quite so droopy but ... i guess thats another time one...

he said that he also agrees it should go back if i am seeing small improvements... but suggested i could get surgery to lift the eyelid if it doesnt go back all the way.

uh - no. dont think so :) i can live with it! :)

thats it for now...
[QUOTE=acdfouch]in regards to my "new" pain, he believes it may be ulnar nerve but almost for sure, not from the surgery. and to further that thought - hes not even sure its ulnar.. perhaps something got banged around / messed up during PT and i have a "normal persons" injury (my words, not his! :D)[/QUOTE]

One of the biggest problems is wanting to get back to things too fast. I know that you have been pretty careful and are trying to take it slow, but I would caution that your body has been at "rest" for a couple of months, and those bones and muscles haven't been doing much. Then there is the neck...

As our good friend Mike has said..."Take It Slow".

There is no "Too Slow" in this. Make sure you feel alright when doing the excercises. It shouldn't hurt you to do them. If they hurt, don't do them for a while until you feel like you can do them. Don't press your body to do more reps than you can. The "muscle burn" that I talked about should come at the point where your body can take it.

I remember doing the crunches the first few times at PT...I think I did maybe five. That was it. That was all I could do. Too bad. The trainer looked at me like I was some old man...well, I was, and I was an old man that had been through a serious surgery. I just laughed.

Do what you can. Try just a "little" more each time.

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]One of the biggest problems is wanting to get back to things too fast. I know that you have been pretty careful and are trying to take it slow, but I would caution that your body has been at "rest" for a couple of months, and those bones and muscles haven't been doing much. Then there is the neck...

As our good friend Mike has said..."Take It Slow".

There is no "Too Slow" in this. Make sure you feel alright when doing the excercises. It shouldn't hurt you to do them. If they hurt, don't do them for a while until you feel like you can do them. Don't press your body to do more reps than you can. The "muscle burn" that I talked about should come at the point where your body can take it.

I remember doing the crunches the first few times at PT...I think I did maybe five. That was it. That was all I could do. Too bad. The trainer looked at me like I was some old man...well, I was, and I was an old man that had been through a serious surgery. I just laughed.

Do what you can. Try just a "little" more each time.

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Sounds like a reasonable enough mantra to me.

I explained the possibility of the ulnar thing to my wife and we were both like... Ugh. :)

I'm just going to continue doing my best to keep up my exercise regiment and "take it slow".

I already threw out the up and down look stretches. I think that is out of the question until AT LEAST I know I have fused 100% as per NS.

Other than that, I am doing the :

side to side hold 15 sec
head to shoulder hold 15 sec (of course it doesnt get very far)
same as above but hold wrist and head to shoulder opposite side 15 sec
hand on top / side head - head to shoulder 15 sec

Those are my stretches at the moment....

Thoughts on those specific ones? So far, they seem to be ok and just stretching me....

I poked around the web for ulnar exercises and I'm going to throw those into the mix as well.

Just in case :(
Just wanted to give my quick update...

I took one - yes one skelaxin today.

That's it.

Wow.

And I'm not even sure I needed it - I just was looking for some "help" with some tight neck muscles.

Granted - I didn't stay in the office long today (7-9:45) ... had my appt... But I did my driving etc etc....

And I'm just riding it out until my flexeril 5mg before bed.

WOW.

Even if today is just a "good" day... That's all I need to remain positive.

I think talking with a doc (that listened) today really help put the mind at ease and allow me to take a look at where I really am.

Wow.

It looks like it DOES get better.

I was even re-reading the entire thread and I can remember a lot of the pain I was in when I was writing the posts... And its nothing like then at all.

WOW.

Ain't that something.
Having another pretty decent day.

Got pluggin at 6 and didn't need the skelaxin until 11:30.

Same kinda situation as yesterday, only this time I am at work.. So - I consider that an even bigger win for me to have gone as long as I did.

Heat and ice are still my bedside friends but to be able to function like I am is great...

If month 3 is where I start seeing some real progress - sign me up!
Little quick update directed to dennis :

Dennis,

I asked my PT about the stretching ... Here's what he had to say :

The "gentle" stretches that I have been doing are just that - gentle.. And he said that I have more possibility of doing "damage" doing daily things - things that would make me jerk my neck around in a rapid motion - not turning my head side to side slowly or up and down...

I'm interested to hear your thoughts!

What do you make of all that?

It kinda leads me to a question I was going to ask you before this conversation.. Would you say that you never look up and down? Or are you cautious to eliminate it as much as possible? Just curious - thanks!
There will be good days and bad. We all have to remember Mike's "take it slow" - I had some odd pains in the 4-6 week range, but they passed. I've had some odd numbness spells in my (good side) pinkee finger - they last about 45 minutes and go away -- I just realized that I haven't had one in about 4 weeks. Tremors and numbness on my right side are way down. If only my walking would improve!!! I wish I had kept a more detailed diary as you are doing on this thread -- I did write up some notes the other day to summarize some previous notes.
[QUOTE=sunshine221]There will be good days and bad. We all have to remember Mike's "take it slow" - I had some odd pains in the 4-6 week range, but they passed. I've had some odd numbness spells in my (good side) pinkee finger - they last about 45 minutes and go away -- I just realized that I haven't had one in about 4 weeks. Tremors and numbness on my right side are way down. If only my walking would improve!!! I wish I had kept a more detailed diary as you are doing on this thread -- I did write up some notes the other day to summarize some previous notes.[/QUOTE]

The pinky thing .... Very interesting!!! I get tinglies on my "bad" side in my pinky from time to time...

I'm writing it off as well for the moment.

And the writing of this thread is a mixed blessing. It's great to go back in time and see how things have improved but it CAN make you view each little thing in a very big light. Overall, I'm happy with what it has provided me.

Did you ever post your summary? I'd (and others) would love to see it.

How far out are you again?
[QUOTE=acdfouch]Little quick update directed to dennis :

Dennis,

I asked my PT about the stretching ... Here's what he had to say :

The "gentle" stretches that I have been doing are just that - gentle.. And he said that I have more possibility of doing "damage" doing daily things - things that would make me jerk my neck around in a rapid motion - not turning my head side to side slowly or up and down...

I'm interested to hear your thoughts!

What do you make of all that?

It kinda leads me to a question I was going to ask you before this conversation.. Would you say that you never look up and down? Or are you cautious to eliminate it as much as possible? Just curious - thanks![/QUOTE]

Ouch,

Well, my opinion is still the same. If you are moving your head, even "gently" to the ends of rotation, I don't think it is good at this point in your recovery. If your not going that far, then it's okay, and will help strengthen the neck.

As far as my situation, at some point, I was able to move my head in all directions. I can't remember when that was exactly, but today, my movements are normal, without pain, and to be honest, I can't tell the difference from before the surgery, even with 2 levels fused. I think thats because I had so much pain before my movements were limited.

As far as limiting movement conciously...I don't...I don't think about it anymore. I am careful of shock type things, like roller coasters, off roading, hitting waves with my boat...

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Ouch,

Well, my opinion is still the same. If you are moving your head, even "gently" to the ends of rotation, I don't think it is good at this point in your recovery. If your not going that far, then it's okay, and will help strengthen the neck.

As far as my situation, at some point, I was able to move my head in all directions. I can't remember when that was exactly, but today, my movements are normal, without pain, and to be honest, I can't tell the difference from before the surgery, even with 2 levels fused. I think thats because I had so much pain before my movements were limited.

As far as limiting movement conciously...I don't...I don't think about it anymore. I am careful of shock type things, like roller coasters, off roading, hitting waves with my boat...

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Very well put!

I thought this would be the way you were leaning (no pun intended! :D) but I wanted to get your thoughts on things too... I do value it!

I'm anxious to see what the NS thinks of the fusion. I have the scan from last week and it looks pretty far along if not fused to me... I compared it to images on the web and theres not too much black, if any, in between the two levels.

And that is great to hear still that you simply "forget about it".

Can't wait for that day!
Quick update as I haven't.

Friday was the pits.

I did a bunch of new stuff at PT the day before .... higher weight / isometrics .... - which I guess made me put up my new thread outside of here .... And I am going to be evaluated by a spine PT place on Wednesday... More on that when it happens.

Anyway, Friday (my birthday of all) I was down and out. I had pains just like I did before the surgery.. The chest / the arm / the everything. It was all there.

So... I came home from work early - bummed - VERY. Somewhere around 3-4 my wife suggested I walk for 30 mins as she felt it helped before.

Well what do you know.

It did.

I guess I was having a VERYYYYYYYY bad muscle spasm.

Now its Sunday and all that stuff is gone but I have been dealing with a HORRIBLE headache LITERALLY since Thursday / Friday timeframe.

I should mention I gave up on Flexeril at night before bed. I feel like I've been doing it too long and Flexeril is something I don't want to continue taking.

Soooooooo - here I am. Not too bad but this INSANE headache thing.

It's like a pressure between the eyes ... And directly behind my head I have a similar pressure / pain feeling. Guess its a tension headache... ?

I've tried ice.

I've tried heat.

I am able to sleep... Laying down seems to help it but within 10 mins of standing - its there again.

I've tried walking - that seems to have taken it down a notch but man oh man.

Not fun!

I guess another day in the healing process for me :)

My wife is going to try a little massage in a bit.

See how that goes.

So - to anyone that has had tension headaches - want to describe it to me?

Also, I can't help but think that maybe there is a little bit of flexeril withdrawl type thing going on too? I just cut it out alltogether and saw that it should be weaned off... Oops. Four days too late!

I guess I'm trying to figure out what came first - the withdrawl type stuff or the spasms or what.. Or are they all looping.

FUN!

But overall, if it wasn't for the headache and the crazy spasms Friday, I would be pretty good - I don't have a lot of "stuff" that I had say four weeks ago.

And the numbness / tinglies in the thumb and index seem to really be fading...
Ouch,

I had headaches. Mine were from the collar pressing on my neck. Made me dizzy to. It took a while for them to go away, even after I got out of the collar. They were'nt quite as bad as you describe tho...

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Ouch,

I had headaches. Mine were from the collar pressing on my neck. Made me dizzy to. It took a while for them to go away, even after I got out of the collar. They were'nt quite as bad as you describe tho...

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Yea...

Not everything has to be surgery related of course, but the mind wants to lean that way - doesn't it?

Anyway, I have a doctors appointment tomorrow with my "normal" doc.

See if anything comes out of that...
And not too bad of a day yesterday.

Didn't take any medicine other than an alavert to see if that would help with the headaches etc...

I think it helped more with some throat stuff that I had going on rather than the headache but maybe its "not-a-surgery-thing".

See if I can get some more info today at the doc appointment.

Having some pretty decent soreness type stuff today but that's been ongoing.

I think its to be expected - surgery and or PT related.

Kinda excited to see the new PT tomorrow as well.... Hopefully it will be a better fit.
Ahhh.. another interesting milestone.

Doing the office thing today - get goin around 6:30... half hour drive... computers ... yadda yadda.

Same time as last week ~11:15-11:30 WAMMO.

Muscle spasms from hell.

So I guess my current threshold for "normal" life is about 5-6 hours.

This time, I literally rode it out hoping it would get better.

So I iced. I used heat. And relaxed.

And... I'm happy to say... at 1:00, I'm doing fairly well all things considered!

I'm trying to really do away with the meds. 2 months at full speed can't be good for anyones body.

I think if I could get these spasms to go away for good.. I would be pretty happy.

And the headache / pressure thing came around stronger (was there mildly before but not like now)... So...Maybe there is some relation.

See what the good doc has to say about my crazyness today.
And the results are in.

Sinus, allergies or something more serious if it doesnt go away by Friday.

So, got some antibiotics, some allergy meds and off I go :)

She normally wouldnt have wanted to do a full round of antibiotics but considering what I have been through (her words - not mine).

WEEEEEEEEEEEE! :)

She said this far along into the surgery I was more than able to take the occasional NSAID to see if it helped stuff.

Took the suggested 600mg and BLAM. Stomach hurt like hell.. Guess it's been way too long from NSAIDs and that was too high of a dose for me.

Getting better (stomach) but the headache is still there.

Oh well. Another day....

The interesting thing is this will be my second sinus infection during this whole proccess... Allergies or infection that never quite cleared up or just a wacky twist events.

Who knows.

Dunno if I ever will!

As long as I am up to it, the new PT appt is tomorrow so hopefully that will bring some new joys.
That's a bummer. Dealing with other crap while dealing with this is really more than a person should have to deal with.

At least you know what's going on.

Keep Plugging!
[QUOTE=dennisgb]That's a bummer. Dealing with other crap while dealing with this is really more than a person should have to deal with.

At least you know what's going on.

Keep Plugging![/QUOTE]

Sure is.

Not to mention the horner's and all of that kinda crap that I have from my 1 in 500 chance (thats the stats I was able to find too btw :D)

I think I have some drainage going on finally so maybe the sinus route / allergies (?) is a winner.

Next few days should tell.
New PT rocks.

Hands down.

Short version is this :

He has me doing "GENTLE" stretching exercises to start with.

From there, we will be focusing on nerve loosening exercises (dunno yet - we start this later) and he doesn't believe in weights for someone with a fusion.

"Why put more stress on something when you can just utilize your own body to provide the same result"

I was sold again.

Apparently, if I heard him right, I will be doing some type of ball type exercises or something along those lines for the strengthing.

I'm REALLY liking this guy.

And hes going to push me to keep perfect posture... AND he's not only teling me to do it - hes going to show me how to do it.

Sounds silly to a "normal" person but I think we all know how much we all really need this education!

All in all Im VERY VERY happy.

He doesnt feel that I overdid anything per say in my past few weeks, but it is not his method..

He even has cervical fusion patients.. And quite a few!

And this guy is the owner and operator.

Doesn't take more than like 3 - 4 people at a time and he has one additional person on staff.

PERFECT.
Thought I would reply here too in case anyone is looking for updates.

Second appointment yesterday.

Another good feeling.

My stuff involved :

Stretches -
Head left - 10x 5 sec each (gentle pressure on chin with two fingers)
Head right - 10x 5 sec each (gentle pressure on chin with two fingers)
Head to shoudler - 10x 5 sec each (gentle pressure on chin with two fingers)
Head down - 10x 5 sec each
Head up - 10x 5 sec each

A really good one.. This might be hard to explain.. Sit on end of chair. Sit slouched... From this position, get the best possible posture of all time... chest out... natural curves etc etc etc... Now lean off 10%. Hold for 10 sec. Repeat 10 times

Rowing machine
5 min forward
5 min backward

Weights
2 pound shoulder shrug 10x 2 rep

Stretches
Red band
Bicep type curls 10x time 2 rep
Tricep type down to side 10x 2 rep

Stretching by PT
On table
He gently :
Moved left right held
Had me chin to chest
Had hands under neck and ... pulsed his hands (hard to describe)
And a few others...

I think that was about it...

How do I feel today?

Sore.

Sore as hell.

And I think I have a little nerve irratation but nothing that is sending me home from work... It could also be me feeling the "burn" as a ... "burn".

I know you all out there know what I mean.

So - comments / thoughts?

I see him again Monday / Wed / Friday.

Very excited still.
I keep watching for updates :) . My turn is 05/18 :D ! I need all the information I can get :wave: .
[QUOTE=kross426]I keep watching for updates :) . My turn is 05/18 :D ! I need all the information I can get :wave: .[/QUOTE]

I love to hear that it helps people out there!!!!

That seems to make all this worthwhile!

Well - I still have a bit of the sinus stuff going.. I *SWEAR* I never used to have this allergy / sinus issue before surgery... Is it possible to inherit allergies??? :)

Anyway..., Past few days I have had good and bad times... But the good have been... REALLY good.

And the bad have been pretty bad... But Im acutally starting to see a good ratio of 50/50 ...So... That's a LOT of progress to me.

MATTER OF FACT... Told the wife these exact words :

"... I'm so used to being in pain 24x7 of some type... Never a 0 on the level.. Well. It didn't last hours BUT for the first time in recent memory... I had 0! *0*!"

So... I guess there is hope out there!

I have had a bit of pain off and on and I attribute that to doing the "right" stuff in PT... I'm hoping in a few weeks I'll be even better!

So - all of you out there.... Another word of warning from the new me.. Get the right PT!!!

It can help if you have a harder recovery than most!

(congrats to dennis on giving this advice over and over :D)
[QUOTE=acdfouch]Well - I still have a bit of the sinus stuff going.. I *SWEAR* I never used to have this allergy / sinus issue before surgery... Is it possible to inherit allergies???[/QUOTE]

Ouch,

Allergies are a very strange things. You could be having a reaction to medications.

Here is an interesting story. I began having serious immune system fluctuations that caused angiodema to occur on my face and neck, that my doctors were unable to explain. This was about 8 years ago. This was a severe allergic reaction that manifested itself in large hives. My head and face looked like I had been hit multiple times with a baseball bat. It was very painful too. After a month or so, it got worse, to the point that my respitory system and heart were involved. I would have episodes that would last for a few hours sometimes longer. These were life threatening, as the large hives would also get into my throat, lungs and heart. I would have to go to the emergency room and get adrenilin (SP) and massive doses of Pepsid AC and Benedril. I was on Benedril constantly for about a year. I started a journal to try and figure out what was causing this. I wrote down everything the I was eating and injesting. After a while, I found a link between pain killers I was taking for my neck and back pain. All of the sudden, I was allergic to aspirin and ibropropen. I had been taking these for years without a problem. So, I stopped taking them and my episodes subsided, although I still had some residual effects and stayed on Benedril for some time.

So, about a year later, I was at the Chiropractor for my neck adjustment, and he decided to do my back. He was feeling around, and felt a lump in my back. He took x-rays, and called me and told me to get to my doctor right away.

My doctor told me that this did not look good. It could be one of about three things, all of them bad. The choices were cancerous blood disorders to bone cancer. To say the least, this was devastating to me.

So, I go for a bunch of tests and scans, and a biopsy.

Here's where this get's really interesting and strange. During the biopsy, the doctor says, "I'm not supposed to do this, but this is not cancer, I don't know what it is, but it's not cancer."

What I had, was a broken rib, broken during a surgery I had, that had healed (I thought), that looked like a sponge on bone scans. Essentially, the bone was being eaten away.

The decision was made to take the rib out, and test it to determine what was going on. This was a thrilling surgery...a lot more painful than the ACDF.

After testing and retesting the sample, we come to find out that I had a staph infection (from the previous surgery). I was given a ton of high potent antibiodics, and haven't had a problem since.

The interesting part is the allergic reaction that I was having prior to this discovery. This was my immune system trying to fight this infection, but failing. Eventually the body started to attack itself, because it was not winning the fight against the infection. Once this was known, all the doctors said "Now we understand." During the time I was fighting the boughts with hives, they said they didn't know why this was happening. Makes you feel real good about medicine...

This is not written to scare you, just to show how allergic reactions are really pretty common, rarely as severe as mine, and that most likely things will settle down, once your back to normal.

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Ouch,

Allergies are a very strange things. You could be having a reaction to medications.

Here is an interesting story. I began having serious immune system fluctuations that caused angiodema to occur on my face and neck, that my doctors were unable to explain. This was about 8 years ago. This was a severe allergic reaction that manifested itself in large hives. My head and face looked like I had been hit multiple times with a baseball bat. It was very painful too. After a month or so, it got worse, to the point that my respitory system and heart were involved. I would have episodes that would last for a few hours sometimes longer. These were life threatening, as the large hives would also get into my throat, lungs and heart. I would have to go to the emergency room and get adrenilin (SP) and massive doses of Pepsid AC and Benedril. I was on Benedril constantly for about a year. I started a journal to try and figure out what was causing this. I wrote down everything the I was eating and injesting. After a while, I found a link between pain killers I was taking for my neck and back pain. All of the sudden, I was allergic to aspirin and ibropropen. I had been taking these for years without a problem. So, I stopped taking them and my episodes subsided, although I still had some residual effects and stayed on Benedril for some time.

So, about a year later, I was at the Chiropractor for my neck adjustment, and he decided to do my back. He was feeling around, and felt a lump in my back. He took x-rays, and called me and told me to get to my doctor right away.

My doctor told me that this did not look good. It could be one of about three things, all of them bad. The choices were cancerous blood disorders to bone cancer. To say the least, this was devastating to me.

So, I go for a bunch of tests and scans, and a biopsy.

Here's where this get's really interesting and strange. During the biopsy, the doctor says, "I'm not supposed to do this, but this is not cancer, I don't know what it is, but it's not cancer."

What I had, was a broken rib, broken during a surgery I had, that had healed (I thought), that looked like a sponge on bone scans. Essentially, the bone was being eaten away.

The decision was made to take the rib out, and test it to determine what was going on. This was a thrilling surgery...a lot more painful than the ACDF.

After testing and retesting the sample, we come to find out that I had a staph infection (from the previous surgery). I was given a ton of high potent antibiodics, and haven't had a problem since.

The interesting part is the allergic reaction that I was having prior to this discovery. This was my immune system trying to fight this infection, but failing. Eventually the body started to attack itself, because it was not winning the fight against the infection. Once this was known, all the doctors said "Now we understand." During the time I was fighting the boughts with hives, they said they didn't know why this was happening. Makes you feel real good about medicine...

This is not written to scare you, just to show how allergic reactions are really pretty common, rarely as severe as mine, and that most likely things will settle down, once your back to normal.

Wow.

Wow.

Interesting to say the least!!! :)

I agree - my situation is no where near as serious as yours was. Matter of fact, over the past few days I have had quite a bit of drainage out the sinus area so I'm thinking that perhaps my old infection I had a month or two ago never quite went all the way away and came back on again... Dunno.

But wow.

I'll keep all this in the back of mind if for nothing else just to do so!

And yea... I anticipate as the months go on this goofy thing will fade too....

Dennis[/QUOTE]
Another quick update.

Wow.

It's been a few days since my last update...

I had another PT appointment yesterday....

Same stuff as last one but a few new things added.

10 mins on the treadmill walking at a very slow (embarrasing?) pace.... and a new stretch I think with the bands.

I seem to be doing a little bit better every day now... It's a VERY slow progression and I still have my bad times .. but. Things are on an upward trend.

Here's another fun NS fact for today.

I'll be going to see him for a followup and guess what... He doesn't know about the xray I had... So.. My wife called to see what I should be bringing to the appointment... Perhaps an xray / get one?

Nope!

????

This is unheard of, isn't it?

And I *SWEAR* I am going to an IVOY league university hospital (some of you can probably figure it out now if you put it all together) .... unbelieveable! You would think I was going to some back alley place or something.

Maybe he has something in mind that I am just not getting / understanding... We'll see.
Quick update.

He did take the time to look at my films and I have indeed fused.

Horrah!

He also assured me that my muscle was merely stretched (along with the sympathetic nerves in turn) and that my eye will continue to get better.

It's funny - I did a little reasearch on my own (surprise!) and found the muscle to be the longus coli (sp? / name wrong... its along those lines)... Well, anyway I mentioned the word and he lightened up to me a bit and actually explained WHY what happened happened.

Apparently that muscle in my neck is VERY tight - much more so than the average person... I got the impression its a birth thing - not underused... Anyway, when they retracted it to get at C5/6, they had to stretch it MORE than the usual person... So, in turn, my sympathetic nerves got stretched more.

Very comforting to hear the full explanation!

Some people are fine just hearing "it will go back...." I think for people like us out there that seek more help / knowledge advice... It's not good enough to just put blind faith in the doctors words. I personally need to understand the reason behind the words.

Anyway, all in all, he was very happy with the progress I have made and also agreed with me that I had a rougher than usual recovery proccess but feels strong that if I keep doing what I am doing, I will come out of this very happy.

So.

That's what I'm trying to do!

And he said stick with PT.

He has no real restrictions other than the obvious stuff like over the head etc etc... but deffers to my PT as my progress continues.

So. All in all a good visit. I go back in three months time. I really hope to have a large difference in the way I feel at that point!

And how do I feel today? Little rough. Having some shoulder / chest stuff going on, but I took some tylenol and it took it down a little bit.

I also asked about the nerve regeneration proccess and if things could happen such as hypersensitive etc etc... he said "its all possible and there are reports of people feeling "strange" senstations throughtout the recovery proccess".

So - I'm just doing what I can.

He also feels the scar tissue is nothing to be concerned about and does form after every surgery. He also feels that since it is early on, PT could help potentially break it up.

So, there ya go all my followers!

(you are still out there, right?)
Ouch,

Still here. Good news!

Take it slow...

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Ouch,

Still here. Good news!

Take it slow...

Dennis[/QUOTE]

I figured you were :)

Man.. This new PT is putting a wollop on me. More so than the last guy did.... But it all feels '"right". 10 mins of arm rowing machine... 10 mins of walking... stretches... etc...

I'm excited to see where I am in a month from now.
Just thought I would put a little something out there for my fans today.

The tingle has become something... different.

And I don't think its a bad thing...

It's .. hard to describe but almost as if the tingling in my fingers is becoming... a weaker tingle? Somewhere in the middle of a hairs standing up feeling to a tingle.

I think its a step in the right direction.. Its very quiet too ... Like as if someone turned the dial down on a tingle sensation. That's a good way of looking at it... Like it went from a 7 tingle intensity to a 3 or something.

Nifty.

:)

And my eye is improving quite a bit as well.

My droppy eyelid isn't quite so droopy anymore... Its just slightly down.

Another nice thing.

I am excited to see what the upcoming weeks can bring in terms of relief.
Hello,
I think I just read your entire thread...WHEW!!...now I see why people where responding to my "old pain" issues 5 days after surgery as me doing too much too soon..
Question, do you have hardware (can't remember), did you wear a collar, and how long after surgery did u start PT?
Thanks!
Jennifer
Here's hoping for a better tomorrow!!
[QUOTE=acdfouch]And the NS office nurse called back.

She was dumbfounded and had no real advice for me. Just said some people need more time than others and perhaps I was mistaking pain for tingles. [/QUOTE]

That made me laugh out loud, because my orthopedic surgeon's nurse has the exact same reaction to every symptom I report. Stunned, STUNNED I TELL YOU! that I could possibly be experiencing actual pain.

Posting in this thread because I like it, and would feel lonely out front. =)

I'm just over two months post-surgery. I wore a collar for two weeks, then was back on the job - the job being "sitting around for 8-12 hours a day", so it wasn't anything more strenuous than I'd get at home. Possibly less! =) My two week and 1.5 month x-rays have shown that fusion is proceeding as it should. I don't smoke, don't drink, don't do drugs. I was doing a ton of walking at first, but when my chest pains started, I quit for a while to find out what was going on. I'm trying to get back into it now that I have an all-clear from the GP.

My pain was hard to regulate, enough so that it kept me in the hospital an extra day while they figured out that the only drug that helped my pain before the surgery (oxycontin) was also the only drug that helped my pain after the surgery. But it was all pain I "recognized" at first as being related to having someone cut me open and poke around in my neck. The pain I'd gone in for - intense shoulder pain on the left side by the shoulderblade, just at the point of my shoulder, and slowly radiating down my left pain - was gone when I woke up and hasn't come back.

Weirdly, my pain got better up to a point - about a month ago. And then it changed and started getting worse. I must have called the nurse and the surgeon a hundred times asking them, "Is this normal? Is this supposed to feel this way?" and each time they were surprised, but said yes, it was normal, and I'd get better, give it time.

Specifically, the new pain is in my upper back - pretty much all of it - and in my chest wall. if I lean forward, my breastbone and right ribs hurt. If I lean back, pain shoots through every muscle from mid-back to the base of my neck. It's like I have no muscle strength at all anywhere in there anymore, so anything requiring the slightest support of my head - anything that pulls me slightly off balance - hurts. (btw, thanks for the description of what a "spasm" may actually feel like - I kept thinking my muscles would need to be twitching to have one, but apparently just incredible tension and achiness is also on the menu.)

My neck feels fine. I don't have any pain in the area where the surgery occurred, and no pain in the incision area (which is almost all healed up now - visible but not broken at all). I have a wide range of motion - I can look at my ceiling without pain, and from side to side about as much as I remember doing before. It's just that my entire torso *aches*.

I've started PT, and I'm really hoping that will help. I had to pretty much bully my surgeon into prescribing it. I'm on for a month of it, twice a week, until my next appointment with the surgeon where we'll re-evaluate.

For those of you who have gone to PT - did they test your upper back strength? My guy had me lie down on my stomach and hold my arms out to each side. Then he said, "I'm going to push down; try not to let me move your arms." But the second he touched them I folded - I literally had no strength to resist at all. I imagine that's part of what's causing the pain?

What I'm not getting is -- how could my muscles atrophy so much in *two weeks* (the time I was in the collar)? I had some pain pre-surgery, a lot of it actually, but only in two specific areas.

On the other hand... I never had an injury. The pain I had pre-surgery I've had for years and years, and always wrote off as "sleeping wrong". It would hurt a bit then go away. Only this last time it hurt like hell and didn't go away, and they carted me off to surgery after an MRI showed trouble at two levels. So maybe the weakness was always there, but now the muscles are trying to protect the area and don't have the strength for it?

My GP says the chest wall pain could be costochondritis brought about by the position they have you in during surgery - kind of butterflied, so they can get at your neck better. Unfortunately the only useful treatment for that is anti-inflammatories, which I can't take because I'm still fusing. Bah! =)

Other things that I've loved in this thread? The description of what this surgery can do to your *brain*. I read the pamphlets going in, the ones that tell you that minor depression afterwards is normal. I had no idea they'd mean THIS. I've turned into a total hypochondriac; every new symtpom has me convinced I'm dying. The chest pain was the worst of all - heart attack! CANCER! something awful, anyway, and I was convinced for days. It took negatives on a chest x-ray and ekg to convince me I wasn't about to keel over.

I live in an apartment with beautiful lake and city views, but have to close the blinds at night because the skyline - distant and dark - is too *depressing* for me. I went into this surgery with an almost obnoxiously cheerful personality and came out of it fighting to keep myself from descending into despair on a regular basis. It helps to know I'm not the only one out there predicting doom every time her fingers get tingly. (I did, for a brief period, think I had Parkinson's disease because my head would twitch minutely when I got really tired or cold. Doom!) I still have my sense of humor, thank god, but it's getting twice the work-out I normally give it. When you've had a heart attack, cancer, Parkinson's, and MS -- all in the same day -- a good sense of humor is imperative!

Anyway, mainly I wanted to post because I'm so relieved to finally find a place where people are talking about this stuff, and to know I'm not all by myself in it. I think my recovery is probably fairly normal at this point, but it's scary and lonely and weird, so reading this thread has been great for me.

And if anyone wants to tell me about how they also had chest and back pains and after a few months they went away... that would be okay, too! =)
Well first .. Thanks for taking the time to read the whole thread!

And yea.. 5 days is wayyyy too soon. Take it easy :)

I do have hardware - 4screws, 1 titanim plate
Wore soft collar for 3 1/2 weeks
I did therapy.... mmmm.. About .... 1 1/2 months after.

Ask ask away!
I wanted to read your entire note this morning before I responded.

First - I can't say how great it is to hear that someone else was able to find some comfort and information in my thread. REALLY makes me feel good!

As for the chest stuff... I've had it prior to my surgery... it's the chosto related stuff... It comes in waves for me.. Some days, I have it. Some days, not so much. And I don't have a great tolerance for motrin either so I have to "live with it". I do find that a heating pad - 10 min, 10 min off does seem to help. For whatever reason, ice does not! It is an inflammation so ... I would suggest trying that... But careful of the ice.

And in regards to the neck muscles.... I would say that is quite common to have a muscular pain right square in the middle at the base of the skull that goes down about.... Mmm... 1/4 of your back?

It's not fun, but that particular thing is fading away on me too.

I'll have to do a quick update later today.

It's been a pretty good few days since my last post... Went to NY to see GNR... Didn't groove my head too much to the music... But, I was able to go which was a big step for me.
And ... as promised here is my small update.

I had physical therapy last week - Thursday. Another beating but felt good :)

Added 10 mins at 2.0 for the walking portion of my cardio exercising. Not that intense, but intense enough for me!

.. Then off to NY on Friday to see GNR. Had my moments, but I also had moments of little pain.. Even had a few of those "no pain" moments... Saturday - I was pretty beat down. A full day took its toll on me but certainly not at my worst.... Stayed up late Saturday night with the wife and paid the price again a little in the morning Sunday... but OVERALL, things seem to be on a great upwards trend.

And as a side note, the headache / sinus thing is improving. I went through all the antibiotics and I'm also doing Allegra.... Cause and effect? Who knows. But... at least its nothing serious.

Got another PT in a bit... I *REALLY* wish I just listened to others and questioned my PT more and found this guy earlier.... I think the PT (right PT) with the combination of time has been really good for me.

For the first time today since I have been back at work I didn't just "make it to leaving time".... I actually am just "here".

Wow.

That's a BIG change.

Tomorrow could be different, but... this is another big milestone!
Wow.

I am posting less and less....

That HAS to be a good thing.

Just keeping up with the physical therapy and my strectches... Etc etc...

I think this upcoming week I am going to be starting "the ball" so I can work on the rest of my back to keep that in as good of shape as they are getting the cervical in...

And its not to say that I don't have my "moments".... I had one I think it was two nights ago... Lasted about.... 1 hour? Sucked. Sucked REALLY bad.

But I made it... And over the past few days I thought about taking a tylenol only a few times but found that I just didn't need it. It's a GREAT feeling.

So to all of you out there reading my thread and hoping for the best or hoping that there is a light at the end of the tunnel - there is! Some people just move a little slower to it than others.

I'm about a week or so away from the three month mark. I think I found at one point that you should be seeing a progressive swing around the two - three month mark... If you do, you should continue... Looks like that fit me pretty well!

Furthermore, I found that the scarring happens exactly when I hit my low - 6 weeks... And I believe that is where I found my stat about getting better... If you suddenly have a hit at 6 weeks, it should start progressing better another 6 weeks out once things calm down...

Ah - everyones different but it does feel good to type this out!
Hi Ouch,

Great to hear you are moving forward and improving.

I was on vacation (fishing in the North country), so didn't get to a computer for a while...that's a good thing sometimes.

The poster's here who are experiencing back shoulder pain, should understand that this is normal...muscle spasms...it will get better...why it feels so much like the old pains...no one knows.

What is GNR? I'm an old man you know...I know CCR, CSN, CSN&Y, and a few others, but don't know GNR...oh, I just figured it out Guns & Roses...shoot, I'm a DJ on the side, should have been able to get that...I'm a little weak on 80's and 90's tho...

Take it slow, no dancing to Axel :eek:

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Hi Ouch,

Great to hear you are moving forward and improving.

I was on vacation (fishing in the North country), so didn't get to a computer for a while...that's a good thing sometimes.

The poster's here who are experiencing back shoulder pain, should understand that this is normal...muscle spasms...it will get better...why it feels so much like the old pains...no one knows.

What is GNR? I'm an old man you know...I know CCR, CSN, CSN&Y, and a few others, but don't know GNR...oh, I just figured it out Guns & Roses...shoot, I'm a DJ on the side, should have been able to get that...I'm a little weak on 80's and 90's tho...

Take it slow, no dancing to Axel :eek:

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Heh.. nah - no dancing to axl at all. Just kinda stood back and enjoyed the show :) Not comfortable enough to get in there like I may have back in the day... Sigh.

I guess that's just one of those "new" life things.

Of course, after I posted this great feeling message I got hit with a pretty good case of some ouch time. These things happen.. I just can't wait to get a little further along and have longer periods of no pain to little..

And vacation is always a good thing!
Ouch,

I see I even spelled his name wrong! :eek:

Tells you how out of it I am. My son likes them...he's 32

Oh well...

You will have your up days and down days...keep plugging!

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]The poster's here who are experiencing back shoulder pain, should understand that this is normal...muscle spasms...it will get better...why it feels so much like the old pains...no one knows.[/QUOTE]

That's the most important thing anyone has said to me about the recovery process from ACDF. Ouch said it a while back, and hearing it off and on throughout these threads has saved my life. Or at least, my [I]quality[/I] of life! Being afraid that I was regressing, or that my pain was abnormal and meant there was something else terribly wrong, or that it would never get better, consumed the better part of the last month for me. It's only since finding this board and starting PT that I've begun to feel like myself again.

So, thanks for saying that. I'm going to have to make sure I find someone to say it to, myself.
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Ouch,

I see I even spelled his name wrong! :eek:

Tells you how out of it I am. My son likes them...he's 32

Oh well...

You will have your up days and down days...keep plugging!

Dennis[/QUOTE]

There are some live recordings going around too... You should let him know to keep an eye out! :)

And no worries on the spelling of the name. Heh. And sounds like hes right at my age!

Yea... The bad days really get annoying when you have good ones!

I went through a lot of your old stuff too... I think 6 months was a big mark in your recovery from what I gathered.
[QUOTE=merryish]That's the most important thing anyone has said to me about the recovery process from ACDF. Ouch said it a while back, and hearing it off and on throughout these threads has saved my life. Or at least, my [I]quality[/I] of life! Being afraid that I was regressing, or that my pain was abnormal and meant there was something else terribly wrong, or that it would never get better, consumed the better part of the last month for me. It's only since finding this board and starting PT that I've begun to feel like myself again.

So, thanks for saying that. I'm going to have to make sure I find someone to say it to, myself.[/QUOTE]

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

It's THIS kind of post that makes me feel like all of this ranting was worth something!! I REALLY appreciate it (and I'm sure dennis does as well).

I saw your post on the lasik side when I poked around, and figured out that you had your surgery sometime in jan / feb timeframe? How are you doing overall? Better than the previous month etc etc? What kind of PT are you doing...

Just curious if you have time!
[QUOTE=acdfouch]
I saw your post on the lasik side when I poked around, and figured out that you had your surgery sometime in jan / feb timeframe? How are you doing overall? Better than the previous month etc etc? What kind of PT are you doing...

Just curious if you have time![/QUOTE]

Thanks for asking!

The lasik went great, I had some issues at first but they've all resolved. The weirdest thing was that my dry-eye from the Lasik was apparently cured by my two night hospital stay for the ACDF! =) I went in needing eye drops hourly, and came out not needing them at all. No idea how THAT happened.

The Lasik was in December, mid-month; the neck problems (which I thought were back problems) started to intensify at the end of February. I was out of work from about the 23rd of that month to the 21st of March. Actual ACDF was 3/6. I have to say, there's nothing like a round of cervical herniation to take your mind off your eye troubles!

I'm doing really well, I think, now that I'm in the PT. I checked out your other thread, and I seem to be doing a lot of what you were with your first therapist -- just without any weights.

a) 4 minutes on the hand-cycle, low intensity, just to loosen up

b) about 10 minutes of deep tissue massage to loosen up whatever's spasming (he's finally stopped being shy and really works me over - and it's helping a LOT)

c) various strengthening exercises with the pulleys, with no weights. The thing like you're trying to start a lawnmower, then pull-backs, and pushes; there's an area of my thoracic spine with almost no mobility, so he wants me to do things that loosen that up some - 3 reps of 15

d) the thing where you pretend someone is holding a pencil against your spine and you try to hold it there with your shoulder blades. I do that with stretchy things in my hands for resistance now, I've graduated from teal to blue. I do that with elbows bent, and then with arms straight down - 3 reps of 15

e) holding my arms out in front, clasped, elbows straight, trying to pull my hands apart - which stretches across my shoulders. 3 of those, 15 second hold.

f) something he calls "the cat", where I'm on hands and knees and arch my back up by segments, then lower it by segments - starting with head tucked, ending with head up and butt sticking out (it's VERY dignified.) as many of those as I feel like I can handle

At home, he's got me doing 3 sets of 20 punches, lying on my back and punching up from the shoulder; 3 sets of 15 with the stretchy bands, elbows bent and elbows straight; a pec stretch I do standing in a doorway; and a thing where I lay on my side with my arms out in front of me, and swing one arm up, following it with my head, until it's just back over my shoulder; 3 sets of 15 on each side.

I also do some isometric stuff - the pressing your head against your hand, front back and sides, about 5 seconds 5 times. And finally, I get iced; that's my favorite part.

I'm going every Tuesday and Thursday morning for an hour. Writing it all out it seems pretty extreme, but it's actually pretty gentle. I'm not doing any PT for my neck at all; just for my back, which was horribly weakened by the surgery. I was feeling pretty awful right before I started the PT two weeks ago - taking darvocet every night to sleep, and baclofen as well some nights, and tylenol on days I didn't take the darvocet. Now, most days I don't take anything, and it's achy, but not the scary "something is wrong!" ache - more like the "ow, but I can tell it's getting better" ache.

I have occasional random numbness in my fingertips, and I have muscle twitches in odd places - under my left arm, where I had a significant weakness (that's what made them do the surgery), left thigh... but not really often. I had a weird head-twitch thing for a little while that was never enough for anyone to notice but me, but it was scary - I thought I had nerve damage, or worse. That's gone now; it comes back when I'm chilled, but I'm pretty sure it's a normal part of the shiver reflex for me.

I realized today that in general, my pain is positional - "it hurts when I do this" rather than "it hurts all the time". Sitting around, standing around, even walking, my pain scale is a zero. It's just that there are still some normal things - like leaning back, or tilting my head back a little bit - that I wish I could do, and so far I can't. Not because of my neck, which seems to have a full range of motion; because of the muscles in my back.

Weird, huh?
[QUOTE=merryish]Thanks for asking!

The lasik went great, I had some issues at first but they've all resolved. The weirdest thing was that my dry-eye from the Lasik was apparently cured by my two night hospital stay for the ACDF! =) I went in needing eye drops hourly, and came out not needing them at all. No idea how THAT happened.

The Lasik was in December, mid-month; the neck problems (which I thought were back problems) started to intensify at the end of February. I was out of work from about the 23rd of that month to the 21st of March. Actual ACDF was 3/6. I have to say, there's nothing like a round of cervical herniation to take your mind off your eye troubles!

I'm doing really well, I think, now that I'm in the PT. I checked out your other thread, and I seem to be doing a lot of what you were with your first therapist -- just without any weights.

a) 4 minutes on the hand-cycle, low intensity, just to loosen up

b) about 10 minutes of deep tissue massage to loosen up whatever's spasming (he's finally stopped being shy and really works me over - and it's helping a LOT)

c) various strengthening exercises with the pulleys, with no weights. The thing like you're trying to start a lawnmower, then pull-backs, and pushes; there's an area of my thoracic spine with almost no mobility, so he wants me to do things that loosen that up some - 3 reps of 15

d) the thing where you pretend someone is holding a pencil against your spine and you try to hold it there with your shoulder blades. I do that with stretchy things in my hands for resistance now, I've graduated from teal to blue. I do that with elbows bent, and then with arms straight down - 3 reps of 15

e) holding my arms out in front, clasped, elbows straight, trying to pull my hands apart - which stretches across my shoulders. 3 of those, 15 second hold.

f) something he calls "the cat", where I'm on hands and knees and arch my back up by segments, then lower it by segments - starting with head tucked, ending with head up and butt sticking out (it's VERY dignified.) as many of those as I feel like I can handle

At home, he's got me doing 3 sets of 20 punches, lying on my back and punching up from the shoulder; 3 sets of 15 with the stretchy bands, elbows bent and elbows straight; a pec stretch I do standing in a doorway; and a thing where I lay on my side with my arms out in front of me, and swing one arm up, following it with my head, until it's just back over my shoulder; 3 sets of 15 on each side.

I also do some isometric stuff - the pressing your head against your hand, front back and sides, about 5 seconds 5 times. And finally, I get iced; that's my favorite part.

I'm going every Tuesday and Thursday morning for an hour. Writing it all out it seems pretty extreme, but it's actually pretty gentle. I'm not doing any PT for my neck at all; just for my back, which was horribly weakened by the surgery. I was feeling pretty awful right before I started the PT two weeks ago - taking darvocet every night to sleep, and baclofen as well some nights, and tylenol on days I didn't take the darvocet. Now, most days I don't take anything, and it's achy, but not the scary "something is wrong!" ache - more like the "ow, but I can tell it's getting better" ache.

I have occasional random numbness in my fingertips, and I have muscle twitches in odd places - under my left arm, where I had a significant weakness (that's what made them do the surgery), left thigh... but not really often. I had a weird head-twitch thing for a little while that was never enough for anyone to notice but me, but it was scary - I thought I had nerve damage, or worse. That's gone now; it comes back when I'm chilled, but I'm pretty sure it's a normal part of the shiver reflex for me.

I realized today that in general, my pain is positional - "it hurts when I do this" rather than "it hurts all the time". Sitting around, standing around, even walking, my pain scale is a zero. It's just that there are still some normal things - like leaning back, or tilting my head back a little bit - that I wish I could do, and so far I can't. Not because of my neck, which seems to have a full range of motion; because of the muscles in my back.

Weird, huh?[/QUOTE]


Not so wierd at all.. And I dumped that other PT so I'm very on track with things that you are doing these days so no more weights for me (except 2 pounds on shoulder shrugs)

Sounds like you are on the road to recovery - quickly too!

Congrats! :)
And another few days down..

Had a BUSY saturday. Had to watch the little guy all by myself for the first time after surgery...

And he wants to be mobile .... So there was a lot of picking up and stuff that I just haven't been doing.. And boy - I paid (am paying the price!).

First time in a while I took one tylenol on Saturday and I just took another round a few moments ago.

.... all in all, things seem to still be in that upward trend.

I believe today my PT might increase a bit today.. He wants to start to get the rest of my back in good shape.

We'll see how it goes!
[QUOTE=acdfouch]And another few days down..

Had a BUSY saturday. Had to watch the little guy all by myself for the first time after surgery...

And he wants to be mobile .... So there was a lot of picking up and stuff that I just haven't been doing.. And boy - I paid (am paying the price!).

First time in a while I took one tylenol on Saturday and I just took another round a few moments ago.

.... all in all, things seem to still be in that upward trend.

I believe today my PT might increase a bit today.. He wants to start to get the rest of my back in good shape.

We'll see how it goes![/QUOTE]

Another strange problem is when you use muscles you haven't used in a while...they start to hurt.

That's a good thing tho, as your getting back to a "normal" life.

Again, it will get better...if you keep up your excercise, you should be "using" all those muscles at some point.

Hey, a couple of tylenol? That's nothing compared to where you were a few weeks ago.

BTW, I still take tylenol occasionally...

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Another strange problem is when you use muscles you haven't used in a while...they start to hurt.

That's a good thing tho, as your getting back to a "normal" life.

Again, it will get better...if you keep up your excercise, you should be "using" all those muscles at some point.

Hey, a couple of tylenol? That's nothing compared to where you were a few weeks ago.

BTW, I still take tylenol occasionally...

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Yea... If I just had the occasional tylenol and not much else to speak of.... I consider that a big win! :)

And it is amazing to think a little more than a few weeks ago (a couple of months) I was struggling to make it from dose to dose of the heavy stuff.

And a lot of my real pre symptom stuff like this unrelenting pain the back and chest are fading for sure....

I added a new thing in pt today. Get on one of those balls - stomach on top with head titled downward. Life one arm out and opposite side leg out. No surprise, it was hard on the left (my affected) side. Apparently this will be good to help stengthen the thoracic area.

I'm going to have to make an investment in some supplies when I'm all done pt!

I'm spending the evening relaxin hoping I can give these overworked muscles / nerves a break!

The blackberry is a wonderful tool! :)

Now I just have to watch my thumbs :(
[QUOTE=acdfouch]I added a new thing in pt today. Get on one of those balls - stomach on top with head titled downward. Life one arm out and opposite side leg out. No surprise, it was hard on the left (my affected) side. Apparently this will be good to help stengthen the thoracic area.[/QUOTE]

That's a good one. The variation is described in my list of excercises. They had me lay on the corner of the bed on my stomach, head over the edge of the bed, both arms straight out (the superman pose), and lift the arms up as high as you can...you can't move them far...20 reps. You could add the legs to this too. I do the legs on the floor. This eliminates the need for the ball. Ask your PT people if that can work for you.

The stretching that you get in the arms and shoulders, not only strengthens, but loosens those spasms.

These PT guys are on the right track.

Dennis

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]That's a good one. The variation is described in my list of excercises. They had me lay on the corner of the bed on my stomach, head over the edge of the bed, both arms straight out (the superman pose), and lift the arms up as high as you can...you can't move them far...20 reps. You could add the legs to this too. I do the legs on the floor. This eliminates the need for the ball. Ask your PT people if that can work for you.

The stretching that you get in the arms and shoulders, not only strengthens, but loosens those spasms.

These PT guys are on the right track.

Dennis

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Exccccccccccccellent!!! :)

I actually forgot all about your older post regarding the exercises. I'll have to rescan that information to see what the future holds for me!

I have to admit. Its getting to the point of frustrating when I have a "good" day and a little bit of pain or nerve twinges hit me. I see that as a positive as it means mentally I'm anticipating good days rather than bad! Wow. How's that one for a change!

Unfortunately, I have to wonder how much further along I could be if I choose these guys first. Oh well - live and learn.

I have to say though.. If it wasn't for the advice that I find on these boards AND the success stories that come back to help out the new generation....

I may never have.

And for that dennis and the collective group, I give a very sincere thanks. Hopefully you can tuck that one in your pocket and feel really good. You all helped somoene. It is worthwhile.
[QUOTE=acdfouch]Exccccccccccccellent!!! :)

I actually forgot all about your older post regarding the exercises. I'll have to rescan that information to see what the future holds for me!

I have to admit. Its getting to the point of frustrating when I have a "good" day and a little bit of pain or nerve twinges hit me. I see that as a positive as it means mentally I'm anticipating good days rather than bad! Wow. How's that one for a change!

Unfortunately, I have to wonder how much further along I could be if I choose these guys first. Oh well - live and learn.

I have to say though.. If it wasn't for the advice that I find on these boards AND the success stories that come back to help out the new generation....

I may never have.

And for that dennis and the collective group, I give a very sincere thanks. Hopefully you can tuck that one in your pocket and feel really good. You all helped somoene. It is worthwhile.[/QUOTE]

Ouch,

I don't think you lost much time, you were only with that first one for a short time. Besides, some of the stuff they were doing probably helped a little.

Your in the stretch that takes a while anyway. You will be getting to a real "normal" soon. Then it is small steps after that. You will still notice little "weird" things for a while. I still feel that funny tingle in my finger, and while it doesn't hurt, it makes you stop and think...hmm. Once you get to the point where you wake up with little or no pain, even after doing something like picking up after the little one, that's when it will all make sense.
Somewhere around six months is when you forget how long it took.

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Ouch,

I don't think you lost much time, you were only with that first one for a short time. Besides, some of the stuff they were doing probably helped a little.

Your in the stretch that takes a while anyway. You will be getting to a real "normal" soon. Then it is small steps after that. You will still notice little "weird" things for a while. I still feel that funny tingle in my finger, and while it doesn't hurt, it makes you stop and think...hmm. Once you get to the point where you wake up with little or no pain, even after doing something like picking up after the little one, that's when it will all make sense.
Somewhere around six months is when you forget how long it took.

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Real normal you say????? I don't remember that phrase... Explain ;)

Six months. Ok - I'll tuck that in my pocket and keep pressing on!

(I really did mean everything I said so I hope you took it to heart... Thanks.)
[QUOTE=acdfouch]Real normal you say????? I don't remember that phrase... Explain ;)

Six months. Ok - I'll tuck that in my pocket and keep pressing on!

(I really did mean everything I said so I hope you took it to heart... Thanks.)[/QUOTE]

Ouch,

I appreciate your comments, but I don't think about it that way. I know it was so important to have support through this...particularly from those that have or are going through it. I am just giving back what I got.

What I meant by real normal, is that there is a point you reach, where you can measure where your at by a time in your life when you felt better. I'm not sure it's ever "exactly" the same. I had a period where I still felt kind of foggy, and had weakness, pain, even some dizziness...this was long after I stopped taking the pain meds. i would be fatigued if I over did things, even a little bit. I would have muscle spasms, if I swept the garage floor...I remember that clearing away, and I started to feel like myself again. As I gained strength through PT and then on my own, I made small steps, that were hard to measure. I guess it's the point where you are finally "healed", and your body starts to feel like it can take the daily routine. This is really hard to explain. When you get there you will know.

I measure it today, in a few different phases. The first couple of weeks, then the first two months, then six months, and finally a year. I saw different progress through each of those periods. For me, six months was when my PT ended, and I was on my own. The next six months saw progress, but it was harder to measure. Gradually, I didn't have any of those trailing effects. Then at one year my surgeon gave me the all clear that I was fused, and could do pretty much what I wanted. By then, I felt like I do now.

What I'm saying, is that you may not feel great until about a year. That assumes that you keep doing the things your doing to help and improve yourself.

Boy, that was a garbled up mess...I hope you can understand it :rolleyes:

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Ouch,

I appreciate your comments, but I don't think about it that way. I know it was so important to have support through this...particularly from those that have or are going through it. I am just giving back what I got.

What I meant by real normal, is that there is a point you reach, where you can measure where your at by a time in your life when you felt better. I'm not sure it's ever "exactly" the same. I had a period where I still felt kind of foggy, and had weakness, pain, even some dizziness...this was long after I stopped taking the pain meds. i would be fatigued if I over did things, even a little bit. I would have muscle spasms, if I swept the garage floor...I remember that clearing away, and I started to feel like myself again. As I gained strength through PT and then on my own, I made small steps, that were hard to measure. I guess it's the point where you are finally "healed", and your body starts to feel like it can take the daily routine. This is really hard to explain. When you get there you will know.

I measure it today, in a few different phases. The first couple of weeks, then the first two months, then six months, and finally a year. I saw different progress through each of those periods. For me, six months was when my PT ended, and I was on my own. The next six months saw progress, but it was harder to measure. Gradually, I didn't have any of those trailing effects. Then at one year my surgeon gave me the all clear that I was fused, and could do pretty much what I wanted. By then, I felt like I do now.

What I'm saying, is that you may not feel great until about a year. That assumes that you keep doing the things your doing to help and improve yourself.

Boy, that was a garbled up mess...I hope you can understand it :rolleyes:

Dennis[/QUOTE]

All made perfect sense.

Today I'm having one of those lingering days... I think I may have tried to do a little too much yesterday (as it was a "good" day) and now am paying the price a little...

I have my PT today so hopefully getting in there and moving things around will help a bit!

I can tell where I am at today may stick around a bit... I'll have my good days and I'll have my bad... But the gaps between the two will improve and feel better overall.

I'm looking forward to that 6 month marker! Seems like I have been going down a similar path as you so far.
[QUOTE=acdfouch]All made perfect sense.

Today I'm having one of those lingering days... I think I may have tried to do a little too much yesterday (as it was a "good" day) and now am paying the price a little...

I have my PT today so hopefully getting in there and moving things around will help a bit!

I can tell where I am at today may stick around a bit... I'll have my good days and I'll have my bad... But the gaps between the two will improve and feel better overall.

I'm looking forward to that 6 month marker! Seems like I have been going down a similar path as you so far.[/QUOTE]

I was thinking, that there are three things going on. One is the healing from the surgery...the cutting and stitching part. The second is the muscle atrophy (sp), from lack of use, and damage done while in pain before surgery. The third is the recovery of the nerves. Part of that is from the time they spent being pinched and abraded. The other is from the manipulation of them during surgery. I really think these are three completely separate parts of what our bodies are dealing with. I think the nerve recovery is responsible for some of the "weird" feelings...some of which is very different from what we were used to before the surgery.

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]I was thinking, that there are three things going on. One is the healing from the surgery...the cutting and stitching part. The second is the muscle atrophy (sp), from lack of use, and damage done while in pain before surgery. The third is the recovery of the nerves. Part of that is from the time they spent being pinched and abraded. The other is from the manipulation of them during surgery. I really think these are three completely separate parts of what our bodies are dealing with. I think the nerve recovery is responsible for some of the "weird" feelings...some of which is very different from what we were used to before the surgery.

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Now that time... You put it in perfect words that demonstates my viewpoint on everything as well.

If I had to guess, the first healing probably is the first two months point.

The second is the sixth month point.

And the third is (hopefully) by year 1.

How about you?
[QUOTE=acdfouch]Now that time... You put it in perfect words that demonstates my viewpoint on everything as well.

If I had to guess, the first healing probably is the first two months point.

The second is the sixth month point.

And the third is (hopefully) by year 1.

How about you?[/QUOTE]

I think that's right, except that when you start, your dealing with all three at the same time, then two, then one...it makes sense.

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]I think that's right, except that when you start, your dealing with all three at the same time, then two, then one...it makes sense.

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Agreed.

So when does the how-to-recover-from-acdf book come out? :)
[QUOTE=acdfouch]Agreed.

So when does the how-to-recover-from-acdf book come out? :)[/QUOTE]

Problem is everybody is a little different. Plus I think the different levels have different problems...you and I are pretty close to the same..................

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Problem is everybody is a little different. Plus I think the different levels have different problems...you and I are pretty close to the same..................

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Agreed again.

I'm having a rougher day today but I'm making sure I get up and walk...

I've also been trying some of the nerve stretching stuff that I picked up recently... closed fist to center of chest.... move arm back as far as it can go.... then do the same with the wrist - extend backwards... feel pull in middle finger...

Seems to knock it down a level.
It is so nice to read when you two write since I am right there with ya. I had several great days and began to wonder if it was in my head and was I finally healed>>>>>>>>>>HA of course I overdid it, riding, yardwork, walking and some light weights. By yesterday afternoon I remembered the pain. I took a muscle relaxer and sat with the heating pad and allthough sore not as bad today.

I had my 3rd PT appt today. So far all I do is that rowing shoulder bike (and boy do I go slow), 1lb bicep curls, 1lb raise where you bend over like doing a row but go backwards and then sorta like a row but with your arm out more to the side. Then I get 15 min of neck manipulation. This is supposed to strengthen my shoulders. My left arm from the blade to wrists still has that icy hot burning feeling. My wrists inside and out ache and it just depends on what I am doing either my ring finger or middle finger or between my thumb and pointer hurt. And hey you guys had this? My ab muscle on the same side aches and I get sharp pains in my calf. I still have about 85% jaw and neck pain and headaches but I have had 15% of great time in between.

K
[QUOTE=acdfouch]Agreed again.

I'm having a rougher day today but I'm making sure I get up and walk...

I've also been trying some of the nerve stretching stuff that I picked up recently... closed fist to center of chest.... move arm back as far as it can go.... then do the same with the wrist - extend backwards... feel pull in middle finger...

Seems to knock it down a level.[/QUOTE]

That sounds kind of like what I do with the weights on my chest. I try to push down to get my upper back between the shoulders to go flat to the floor...pop! And then I kind of rotate my shoulders with the weights there. Any of these extended movements, that stretch stuff a little more against the grain, will loosen those nerves and spasms.

The arms back do some of the same stuff. Once you find what works for you, it makes a huge difference. Try to lay on the floor and force your upper back down...you can't do it without the weights resting on your chest. It will blow your mind once you get it to pop. Knocks my pain down instantly. Be careful not to force your neck down...just the mid back. Try it.
[QUOTE=dennisgb]That sounds kind of like what I do with the weights on my chest. I try to push down to get my upper back between the shoulders to go flat to the floor...pop! And then I kind of rotate my shoulders with the weights there. Any of these extended movements, that stretch stuff a little more against the grain, will loosen those nerves and spasms.

The arms back do some of the same stuff. Once you find what works for you, it makes a huge difference. Try to lay on the floor and force your upper back down...you can't do it without the weights resting on your chest. It will blow your mind once you get it to pop. Knocks my pain down instantly. Be careful not to force your neck down...just the mid back. Try it.[/QUOTE]

I'll have to give that a whirl.

Sounds like the PT guys really are in sync with your old ones!

Good stuff!

I do have one question for you - do you remember off hand having a lot of spasms / aches in the upper back below the neck when you started superman? I woke up in a not so happy place this morning and I'm attributing it to that .... I'm sure there are some muscles that got worked in there that haven't had much love in quite some time!

:)
[QUOTE=acdfouch]I'll have to give that a whirl.

Sounds like the PT guys really are in sync with your old ones!

Good stuff!

I do have one question for you - do you remember off hand having a lot of spasms / aches in the upper back below the neck when you started superman? I woke up in a not so happy place this morning and I'm attributing it to that .... I'm sure there are some muscles that got worked in there that haven't had much love in quite some time!

:)[/QUOTE]

Sorry for the delay, I am traveling.

I remember most every new PT thing added caused me pain the next day until it became a regular routine and the muscles got worked and stonger.

If I recall, most things help to reduce the spasms...rather than add or make them worse. Give it a few times before you get too concerned tho.

Dennis
[QUOTE=dennisgb]Sorry for the delay, I am traveling.

I remember most every new PT thing added caused me pain the next day until it became a regular routine and the muscles got worked and stonger.

If I recall, most things help to reduce the spasms...rather than add or make them worse. Give it a few times before you get too concerned tho.

Dennis[/QUOTE]

Hahahaha!!! No worries on the delay. I didn't even see it as that. :)

And yea... I'm looking at it that exact way - gonna give it a good week and see how things progress from there with it.
Ouch I also had a bad day and still am for that matter. I had a stand in PT and she hurt me! She was very rough with my neck moving it side to side and had me do exercises with heavier weights 2-3lbs) then I have been. She also added a few things like tricep extensions and nerve stretches. I hurt from the neck on down. My shoulders ache and burn and my arms from the top to the fingers all hurt bad. Like before bad. I have had a horrible headache too. I am not happy! I am so tired of my fingers and wrists huring too. I think the only one that doesn't hurt is .... hmmm well none really they all hurt. I can tell it is muscle and nerve pain. I want to know does it end?

Dennis how did you deal with the phychi of it? I think sometimes I am loosing my mind. I am almost ready to want to go to work so I have something different to do but know that I can't yet. Not until the good days out number the bad ones. I am always in a B*it*hy mood. The only one who gets my good side is my 9mo. Poor dh is always getting growled at.

Ouch does your neck still feel swollen? Mine does. Do you ever feel a ache in your ab muscles when you are in one of those everything hurts days? Im not sure if I am having back issues too but my legs hurt and abs hurt. When I was in good shape my back issues stayed at bay but im so out of shape now it could be that too.

I go back to the doc on Tuesday for Xrays and will chat with him about this too. I do PT twice next week. I would do 3x but I do not think I can handle that. I would be in pain all week.

At what point does one wonder if something else is going on? I do know I have C5/6 problems also that doc wants to address next year with a disk replacement. Could they contribute is is all this nerve stuff from the compression? And has anyone had a nerve test done to see if there is any permanent damage and if so what, and what can be done?

Sorry I am in a woe me vent mood..... :)
Wow, Other that actually having surgery, sounds like a recording from my life..... I have had 3 complete cardiac workups.......spent ungodly amounts of money, (mine and insurances) not to mention the toll it takes on the famliy. At times I would believe that it was all in my head....well, I guess I was close....it's apparently in my neck! Good luck to you, success stories are what keeps us going.....I hope your problems get better and you become one. Looks like my happy ending is in the near future....I hope so anyway. BTW, does the collar pose much discomfort? I am clastrophobic....and the thoughts of something around my neck..well...lets just say, just thinking about it brings on a sweat! Thanks, Robin
Hi Robin I only had to wear the collar when I drove. So I didn't wear it much at all. It didn't cause me any problems other then discomfort. I am a tad clastrophobic too.

I often wish it was only in my head, then I could pop a pill and feel better. :)
And hello to everyone.

I guess I'll start with a quick update and then head into some replies for people.

Wow.

What a great weekend it was weather wise...

On the last day of PT this past week (Friday or Thursday.... forget now), they introduced another new ball thing. And MAN... this one was TOUGH for me... The "superman" used to be tough but a week has passed and that is getting much better...

Anyway, the exercise is this :

Get on the ball.... chest or so in the middle of the ball. Walk out using hands and roll over the ball (body) as I move out... Then do the same thing, just backwards. Rough rough ROUGH for me!

And how was my weekend? Amazing! It was as if when I hit my three month marker that someone tapped me and said - ok, you will begin your new recovery....

For the first time in recent history, I actually believe I had more GOOD than BAD during each day this weekend. It was amazing. Granted, I didn't do too much other than just enjoy myself, but I tried to stay away from the computers.... Which in turn, keeps me away from straining my neck...

Over all, I was VERY happy with how I was feeling... The numbness and tingles in the fingers are starting to fade too.

I got a little too excited perhaps and picked my son up - alot. I think I'm paying for it a bit today, but, it was great to be able to do it again!
[QUOTE=Backinthesaddle]Ouch I also had a bad day and still am for that matter. I had a stand in PT and she hurt me! She was very rough with my neck moving it side to side and had me do exercises with heavier weights 2-3lbs) then I have been. She also added a few things like tricep extensions and nerve stretches. I hurt from the neck on down. My shoulders ache and burn and my arms from the top to the fingers all hurt bad. Like before bad. I have had a horrible headache too. I am not happy! I am so tired of my fingers and wrists huring too. I think the only one that doesn't hurt is .... hmmm well none really they all hurt. I can tell it is muscle and nerve pain. I want to know does it end?

Dennis how did you deal with the phychi of it? I think sometimes I am loosing my mind. I am almost ready to want to go to work so I have something different to do but know that I can't yet. Not until the good days out number the bad ones. I am always in a B*it*hy mood. The only one who gets my good side is my 9mo. Poor dh is always getting growled at.

Ouch does your neck still feel swollen? Mine does. Do you ever feel a ache in your ab muscles when you are in one of those everything hurts days? Im not sure if I am having back issues too but my legs hurt and abs hurt. When I was in good shape my back issues stayed at bay but im so out of shape now it could be that too.

I go back to the doc on Tuesday for Xrays and will chat with him about this too. I do PT twice next week. I would do 3x but I do not think I can handle that. I would be in pain all week.

At what point does one wonder if something else is going on? I do know I have C5/6 problems also that doc wants to address next year with a disk replacement. Could they contribute is is all this nerve stuff from the compression? And has anyone had a nerve test done to see if there is any permanent damage and if so what, and what can be done?

Sorry I am in a woe me vent mood..... :)[/QUOTE]


BITS,

For me, I think things are ending... I hope! I have had a great weekend and a lot of my numbness and tingling are starting to go away.

At the moment, I have a bit of a burn thats going down the back of my arm, but its nothing that I can't deal with at the moment.

And if you think PT is too much at the moment - it probably is... You wrote this a few days ago... Are you feeling any better? And I have had my bad days too - quite a few - during the PT thing... But, I have also been having good ones which makes it all worthwhile...

I actually JUST had a follow up EMG (nerve study where they can actually represent nerve damage in numbers....). Originally, my bicep and tricep showed nerve damage.

Apparently, only my tricep is showing... Unfortunately, I don't know the numbers (I think its a scale of 1-3?) but any improvement sounds good to me....

So, yes, maybe a trip to a nuerologist is in order - they can typically do the EMG test right the office and give you an idea if you have any "damage" and perhaps also guide you as to how things will recover.

Last, I was told recently at my last PT session a few tidbits I had known but some clarity. One of the guys there at the moment is an intern, so he has a lot of book smarts at the moment...

As per teacher / books :

Nerves grow one inch per month, 1 foot per year
GENERALLY speaking, what you get after two years of healing is what you get... So, if you had your stuff cleaned out and there is no pressure on the nerves, you have a lot of room for hope and recovery apparently!
[QUOTE=texredbird]Wow, Other that actually having surgery, sounds like a recording from my life..... I have had 3 complete cardiac workups.......spent ungodly amounts of money, (mine and insurances) not to mention the toll it takes on the famliy. At times I would believe that it was all in my head....well, I guess I was close....it's apparently in my neck! Good luck to you, success stories are what keeps us going.....I hope your problems get better and you become one. Looks like my happy ending is in the near future....I hope so anyway. BTW, does the collar pose much discomfort? I am clastrophobic....and the thoughts of something around my neck..well...lets just say, just thinking about it brings on a sweat! Thanks, Robin[/QUOTE]

The collar wasn't too bad. It wasn't a discomfort issue for me as it was more of an... annoyance? I found that I just wanted to be out of it. Some NS's may not require it... Some believe hardware is enough and that muscles atrophy unused... I'll leave this in your NS's hands however of course!

But, no, I don't think you will feel claustrophobic over it... It's not covering your entire head! :) It's like a little shelf for your chin that follows you everywhere. :)
[QUOTE=Backinthesaddle]Dennis how did you deal with the phychi of it? I think sometimes I am loosing my mind. I am almost ready to want to go to work so I have something different to do but know that I can't yet. Not until the good days out number the bad ones. I am always in a B*it*hy mood. The only one who gets my good side is my 9mo. Poor dh is always getting growled at.[/QUOTE]

Sorry for the delay...it's holiday time...I'm out fishing :)

Ooooh! What a question!

I remember being prepared by my doctors for this to take a while. I know, that I was down more than I was up, but in my case the pain was so bad before surgery, and the change after was enough for me to help my attitude and press on. The first couple of months were hard, because I was out of work (I really didn't want to go back to work then), but things got so boring, watching daytime TV and such. I honestly believe, that this can be detrimental both mentally and physically. About two weeks after the surgery, I asked my wife to take me up to northern Minnesota and drop me in my cabin up there and just leave me there...this really helped. I kept all my bird and animal feeders filled, so I could watch all of nature out my window. I walked by the lake a lot, and that gave me some excercise. It was very peaceful, and relaxing. I couldn't let the little things bug me, because there are not doctors up there that could help me anyway. My surgeon okayed this as long as I was careful on the ride up there and took a few breaks. I came back only for my check-ups...I stayed there until I was ready to go back to work.

I know this is not practical for everybody, but you do need to get away from the hectic day to day stuff at least once in a while to keep peace with yourself...this is a tough road, so it's important to "regenerate" if you can. Personally, I feel that no matter your health, you need to take breaks like this as often as you can anyway.

Otherwise, if you can't get a little break in there, try your best to keep a positive attitude...it will get better.

Dennis
I just wanted to post a comment on the collar.

I had to wear the hard collar 24-7 from the end of June until the first part of October. If you go back and read my old posts you will find that I had a collar burning ceremony! I hated it.

The day I woke up from surgery, I was in it...and the air conditioning in the hospital went out. It was like 100 degrees in the shade outside, and I thought I was going to die. I was sweating and the collar was itching, and I wanted to rip it off and throw it at the doctors!

I did eventually get used to wearing it, but I still hated it.

Dennis
I missed you guys! Ouch I did not have a good weekend. Matter of fact since Thursday when I had the relief PT gal I was in pain for 4 solid days. The only think I can figure is the way she jerked my neck around and had me increase the weight I was doing from 1lb to 3lbs. I am a glutten for punishment so I continued to walk with my baby in the morning and had a day or two of a short easy ride. Dang if I am going to be in pain I am going to do my fun part early before it all sets in. ( I had prior approval for all I do from my doctor). But the past few days have been aweful. My arms, shoulders, wrists hands and fingers hurt. Not tingle, not numb HURT! My left tricep felt like I had a broken bone and my forearms just felt like I had a bruised bone. All fingers hurt. Typing on this computer is a chore.

I did some jr. sluething and looked into having my ulnar nerve injured. Since I have so much pain around my elbows. I asked my doc today about that and he said it could be. He is going to order a EMG. Since this is workman's comp he isn't sure they will say I had these issues before hand. Which I have proof I didn't via films and 2 prior PT's who never heard me complain about this until this second injury and then I told 3 PTs about it. Plus I keep getting asked if I have TMJ since my jaw aches. I never have had it before and I do now.

Doc told me today that I may never be relieved of the pain. He keeps saying this type of injury should have been done asap. Not my fault. Yes I got preg 6 months after I started this entire thing. I blame the physiatrist(sp) who kept having me do PT and a PT who didn't believe it was my neck but thought shoulder. It took until the nerves in my forearms hurt so had I was unable to straighten my arms. I was then sent to NS who did MRI and said I needed immidiate surgery. It was WC who turned him down since he was retiring post 3 mo and it took 6-8 weeks to get into his replacement. Walla I was pregnant. I even had approval from my periontologist that during the second trimester the surgery could be done but noone wanted to go there. So dang it I did all I could do right and am made to feel that because I got pg I am in the shape I am in.....................ugh!

Dennis you were so lucky. I wish I could take my baby and my horses and be dropped off at a lake with mountains around so I could walk, stroll or ride and get some peace of mind back. Do not get me wrong I am not ready for work yet. I know I will go back to work and when physically I can I will. My mental side is just so concerned about right and wrong and if I will have WC following me when I walk down the road. I would love to be a stay at home mommie but I am not one. I am just blessed with being able to be at home so I can't get into a grove with that either. How long were you out of work?

Here I go again whinning................waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa but I just feel like I need to.

Thanks
[QUOTE=Backinthesaddle]I missed you guys! Ouch I did not have a good weekend. Matter of fact since Thursday when I had the relief PT gal I was in pain for 4 solid days. The only think I can figure is the way she jerked my neck around and had me increase the weight I was doing from 1lb to 3lbs. I am a glutten for punishment so I continued to walk with my baby in the morning and had a day or two of a short easy ride. Dang if I am going to be in pain I am going to do my fun part early before it all sets in. ( I had prior approval for all I do from my doctor). But the past few days have been aweful. My arms, shoulders, wrists hands and fingers hurt. Not tingle, not numb HURT! My left tricep felt like I had a broken bone and my forearms just felt like I had a bruised bone. All fingers hurt. Typing on this computer is a chore.

I did some jr. sluething and looked into having my ulnar nerve injured. Since I have so much pain around my elbows. I asked my doc today about that and he said it could be. He is going to order a EMG. Since this is workman's comp he isn't sure they will say I had these issues before hand. Which I have proof I didn't via films and 2 prior PT's who never heard me complain about this until this second injury and then I told 3 PTs about it. Plus I keep getting asked if I have TMJ since my jaw aches. I never have had it before and I do now.

Doc told me today that I may never be relieved of the pain. He keeps saying this type of injury should have been done asap. Not my fault. Yes I got preg 6 months after I started this entire thing. I blame the physiatrist(sp) who kept having me do PT and a PT who didn't believe it was my neck but thought shoulder. It took until the nerves in my forearms hurt so had I was unable to straighten my arms. I was then sent to NS who did MRI and said I needed immidiate surgery. It was WC who turned him down since he was retiring post 3 mo and it took 6-8 weeks to get into his replacement. Walla I was pregnant. I even had approval from my periontologist that during the second trimester the surgery could be done but noone wanted to go there. So dang it I did all I could do right and am made to feel that because I got pg I am in the shape I am in.....................ugh!

Dennis you were so lucky. I wish I could take my baby and my horses and be dropped off at a lake with mountains around so I could walk, stroll or ride and get some peace of mind back. Do not get me wrong I am not ready for work yet. I know I will go back to work and when physically I can I will. My mental side is just so concerned about right and wrong and if I will have WC following me when I walk down the road. I would love to be a stay at home mommie but I am not one. I am just blessed with being able to be at home so I can't get into a grove with that either. How long were you out of work?

Here I go again whinning................waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa but I just feel like I need to.

Thanks[/QUOTE]

I personally don't see it as whinning. You are looking for a place that you can express your feelings that are VERY difficult for others to understand. Go on with your bad self.

That said, I have had ALL of your symptoms. The jaw stuff. I have recently attributed that to my head exercises.... And I was recently told that I have TMJ (new to me) at a dentist appointment. If you look for another post I started outside of here, I had CRAZY bad pain in my elbow, wrist and fingers.... This was at about... week 7. It's subsided quite a bit and I thought the SAME exact reason as you - ulnar nerve. I have since had EMG and I do not have any evidence of this. (Things have been better too in this respect however).

You mention head jerking and the like.. Perhaps it is just simply too much? In a short paragraph or two - or even compare it to mine or dennis's workout... What are you doing in PT? Do you feel its too much?

Good luck and take it slow! :)

I also find that walking at LEAST thirty mins a day helps me as well.
[QUOTE=Backinthesaddle]Dennis you were so lucky. I wish I could take my baby and my horses and be dropped off at a lake with mountains around so I could walk, stroll or ride and get some peace of mind back. Do not get me wrong I am not ready for work yet. I know I will go back to work and when physically I can I will. My mental side is just so concerned about right and wrong and if I will have WC following me when I walk down the road. I would love to be a stay at home mommie but I am not one. I am just blessed with being able to be at home so I can't get into a grove with that either. How long were you out of work?[/QUOTE]

I was out of work for 8 weeks, and only worked half days the first two weeks back.

I'll tell you tho, if you can just get away just for a long weekend, it would help to move you out of the "waiting to get better" funk.

Dennis
Hi guys. Today wasn't so bad. Plus I am taking my muscle relaxers again. I walk with the baby in the mornings for close to an hour or so. We are in the somewhat country and we just cruise the back roads. What I noticed the most today is that I am so tired. I took 2 naps with my little one and I rarely do that. I am just so wiped out. My arms feel so heavy. When I walk I am wiped out for the rest of the day. My forearms still hurt and especially around the elbows. I hope the EMG shows something or else it will be like I afeel like I have no help.

My concern is that I have been complaining about my arms and fingers hurting since August of 2004. Now the Ortho said that WC may not see that those problems are because of this accident. Well, duh I was perfectly fine before that even post the Decomp C6/7. I do hope that with more time the pain will just get less. The days that are like a 4-5 I can live with. It is when I am at a 7 and looking to chop my arms off that are not OK.

Dennis I thought you were out of work longer. I would be in trouble if i had to go back at 6 weeks. Thank God so far I haven't. The doctor doesn't want to see me until Feb. so it will be up to me to decide when I am ready and have him release me. And mentally as soon as I physically feel good I will. I love being a stay at home mom but I am really not one so all I am is a mom who stays at home with her kid. I can only do some much within the rules of being on Injury leave.

Ouch my PT hasn't been bad. I do the shoulder bike, front raises, tricep ext, lat rows and a one arm deal where squeeze the shoulder blade, and then end with punches. I get a few minutes of massage. Usually to put the first rib back into place. It doesn't feel to much right now.

You mentioned TMJ I have been asked several times if I have that. I saw no since I do not have the symptoms. All I get is a sore jaw but it is the neck muscles that make it sore. What symptoms did you have?

My right arm spasms from the tricep to below the elbow. It doesn't hurt it is just a nuisance.

Now I worry if workman's comp is going to be following me around while I am walking my baby or trimming the roses to say "aha you are OK". Really all I want is to be good enough. I will never be great again, but good enough will work and I can make that work for me.

whine whine..........K
In response to the TMJ stuff... I've just had some unrelenting jaw pain from time to time... It's been with me for a while and it wasnt until I recently switched dentists that I was told I had it.

So .... that's about my experience with it :)

Right where the jaw connects on the left side I will occasionally get some pain... Or if I press too hard on the side of the face when doing my stretches.. (it doesnt take much).

It also can be present just below and to the side of my ear... I think those two areas are the "classic" spots from what I have seen.

And yea, it doesnt sound like your PT is doing anything but the right stuff.... Perhaps with time...

Hope today is one of the better days.

For me, I had a not-so-good past couple of days, but found that after PT yesterday... I was feeling better.

Perhaps all my stuff was just in protest from not getting my PT in.

I do walk 30 mins - every morning. It's part of my new health regiment.
.... And some days you hit a bump in the road.

Been some time that I felt the need to take off from work but today is one of those days.

I had a grrrreat weekend and probably overdid things and I have been paying since.

I took a skelaxin for some extra support today for the first time in weeks.

As I thumb this (on blackberry) I'm waiting to see if it will help.

I actually feel reallllllly guilty I haven't done my walk.

That's a great feeling! Guess I'm really getting into it.

The pain is hovered in the shoulder area and around to my scapuylar area. Anything from a burn to an fuzzy ache.

See what tomorrow and later brings.

I had a great conversation however with my pt yesterday.

Told him I was bummed over feeling this way and asked some questions :

I hurt and I'm bummed. Some people wake up 110 percent. Assuming surgery itself was a success and nothing goes wrong is it safe to say some people have nerve damage while others do not and can this present itself as a longer recovery?

A resounding yes. The sooner you get the surgery, the better chances for getting the initial full relief.

Nerves grow an inch a month - full benefit of two years. Can you equate that to length of referred pain? In other words, the pain in say my shoulder - will that go away in six months.

Great and logical info here. The answer is no. The pain is referred pain from a damaged nerve. In other words, the nerve could be damaged let's say a total of five inches (oversimplifing).... Its the last two (making this up) that is causing all the shoulder reffered pain.... Hence why you should not give up hope all things being equal.

I was having difficulties in the prognosis of 3-6 months recovery until I heard this.

It makes logical sense and gives me something to keep pressing on with.

So - on I go!


I don't know if this info helps anyone else, but its this type of stuff that I personally have a desire to know.

And I'm not out searching for fluff - I need reasoning and I believe I got it yesterday. That in turn makes it easier to press on while things aren't quite 100 percent.
Ouch I was told that too. But who knows how much nerve damage there is? Hard to measure time then. My doc said that to about having the surgery earlier would have saved me most of this pain..but as I state it wasn't my fault I tried!

So you have most of your pain in the shoulders? That is a given for me as is the neck but it is the arms, hands and fingers I don't get. I took both a pain killer and a muscle relaxer last night and had dh rub rub rub. I still didn't get much rest. This morning I woke up great. Baby and I walked for an hour. I feel OK now just very sore in the neck and shoulders and my arms and hands hurt.

As for TMJ I went to several websites and jaw pain is just one of the symptoms. I am now beginning to wonder if I too could have that. I doubt it as I do not have anything other then the jaw pain. Upper jaw below the ear area. I contribute it to the constant neck pain.

Hope you are feeling better after the skelaxin....





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