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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

Hi Leslie
You are not very long post-op, so congrats on being on the recovery side of this problem! Are any of your pre-op symptoms getting better?

My first ACDF was like yours (C5/6/7) with donor bone and plate/screws. I had a number of symptoms that got a LOT better right after the surgery - pain in the shoulder and shoulder blade, twitching, numbness and weakness in my left arm and hand - all of these were noticeably better by the time I left the hospital.

However, I did have some new pain that was related to the surgery. My NS explained it as due to some stretching and repositioning of various ligaments and tendons that attach to the spine - they push the vertebrae back to their original positions to insert the bone grafts, and then secure everything with the plate and screws. So things are sore while the body readjusts. I had pain if I took a deep breath, a sneeze was like the end of the world, it hurt to move my neck and head. All of this got better, but it took several weeks for most of the pain to go away, and several months to get to the next level of improvement.

After my second ACDF (C4/5), i have some residual pain that I don't think will ever completely go away, but I'm still a lot better off than before the surgeriies.

If your pain gets worse instead of better over the next several days, you should absolutely report this to your Dr. I had this happen after my 2nd one, and he put me on some steroids to reduce some inflammation and swelling.

Hang in there, you are likely over the worst of this and can expect improvement, but a lot of people here will tell you it may take time, like several months, to recover, and some report a year or two for things to get fully resolved. It all depends on how bad your problem was and how long it had been going on before the operation - each case is different.

Hope this helps

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