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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

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Hi there,
I am seeing my surgeon for my 2nd post op visit on Thurs. (at 6 weeks post op). I was told last time that that was when we would discuss P.T. I have been to P.T., in the last 5 years, a minimum of about 7 times and it rarely helped me. The only time it seemed to help was when I went to my physiatrist's P.T. and she had me doing some Pilates stuff. I can really feel a difference not that I have stopped it about 7 or 8 weeks ago before my surgery. My lower back feels really weak again. When I bend over it feels very deconditioned like I could really pull it out. That is just how I felt before I started the Pilates stuff. Anyway, can you post op people tell me just what you did post op at P.T.? I want to make sure I go to one that totally gets the fact that I am post ACDF and not to over-do it with me. I have been in spasm for 5 straight years. No matter WHAT I do, nothing helps it. It is no worse after the surgery than it was before. My physiatrist did trigger point injections.....Botox...muscle relaxers. NOTHING WORKS. I am afraid I will be stuck in spasm for life, since that is seriously all my body knows for 5 yrs. I wish I knew the BEST P.T. to do to help me get out of spasm. Or am I asking to much???? Someone on here mentioned finding a McKenzie method P.T. Unfortunately, I cant find one Cigna carries. Any ideas??? I am starting to really get scared that I am stuck with this spasm forever. I have had commentary from the Drs. and P.T.s that they are amazed that I am STILL so tight. Help! I really do not want to waste my time in P.T. yet again doing some lame things that are a waste of my time. Massage is the one thing that seemed to help, but I had to keep it up once a week forever. Anyone know when its OK to go get massaged after ACDF? (NECK, TRAPS, AND UPPER BACK).
I'll be anxious to see responses to this, as I am in the same boat, although just under 2 weeks post op. I have been in spasm for years, but they are far worse since the surgery. I am hopeful this is a temporary deal, but would be interested to see how and when I can do PT or massage. PT has not done much before, but hopefully now that the disks and bone spurs have been removed, the PT will be more beneficial.

I will keep you updated and of course you will see people's posts on the subject. Hope you are doing well!
My PT sessions started out with simple range-of-motion exercises, gentle stretches and very mild (using ONE FINGER for resistance) isometrics, plus alternating heat and ice. When I started doing weights, I used baby weights, like 1 pound, and no resistance on machines. They did not want me doing anything that hurt or that felt uncomfortable to my spine.

After a while they started doing trigger point massage and myofascial release, and that DID hurt. I got comments every time about how tight my muscles were and how many knots I had. I always had to go home and take a pain pill and a muscle relaxer. But it did help with the stiffness and pain in my shoulders and upper back.

There is a lot of controversy about trigger point massage. Some therapists (like mine) think you should dig in really hard. Others believe mild pressure - in the right spots - is all that's required. I went one time to an "osteopathic therapist" who used only mild pressure and I was amazed at how much better I felt afterwards. Unfortunately, this guy did not accept insurance and cost about $200 per hour, which is why I only had the one visit.

Anyway, I found PT to be very helpful and, although I did have a few backslides and got discouraged at times, I think it helped me to feel better and better.

Go with what your body feels - don't let anyone push you into something that you think is wrong or harmful. If you don't like one place and have the option of trying another instead, definitely do that.

And ask your surgeon about the massage. I'd think you would want to wait a while longer before having someone who might not understand your post-op condition give you a massage.

Hope it goes well.
I have a wonderful massage therapist who is really professional.. he told me that when I was able to lay flat without problems than I should be ready for a massage.. he is aware of the surgery and won't be messing with my neck at all... can't wait to go back.. this has been hard on my low back to (and my L4-5 herniation) I think it is because sleeping on a wedge puts pressure on my hips and since I can't do yoga now.. I am not getting the stretches I need to avoid tight muscles,, but the doctor told me today that I can sleep flat!!! he said as long as it doesn't cause me any discomfort and I know it can't be worse than that stupid wedge.. now when I can sleep on my stoch I'll really be happy.. jean
Ulttrasound Ultrasound:) feels great, along with the heat, tens, and gentle stretching with mild resistance. Yes I was full of knots and yes no one can believe how tight I am. Even my speech therapists remarks on my neck mucles when I do the therapy in front of her.

Put the brakes on your P/T if they try to "force". I have foiled an attempt or two.

Had been going to p/t for 2 months and they go over "chin tucks" well a friend of friend who is a p/t explained if I do them lying in bed into the pillow you get same effect and it's a lot more comfortable. He also suggested doing my range of motion neck turns in the shower with the hot water streaming and boy does that help! Why didn't the professional I am paying suggest that?

Hello all,

I am so happy to know that it isn't just me. I had 2 level acdf surgery on Dec 4, 2006 and pain is still here. The neuro says that i have myofasial syndrome and I am back to PT again. The PT says that my muscles are so knotted and spastic and we are trying ice and heat to see if it helps. Right now it isnt looking to good. My muscles feel like someone has a blow torch on it and feels like it is bruised. I have to say though that my leg pain that i had before surgery is gone but this neck pain seems like its going to be a part of my life now. It's been going on for over 6 years now. Good luck to all!

I feel like I've posted on the spasm subject before, but I think it takes awhile for the spasms to go away. I had minimally invasive surgery- most of you have had more intensive and invasive fusion- and I had spasms for 3-4 months post op. I still have a random flare up now and then, 7 months post op.

I've also thrown out the RX FLEXIRIL was what I was on for spasms, and it definitely seemed to help.

In my laymen's opinion, you need to be patient on the spasms going away.

As for massages, I think my doctors recommended I wait a couple months before having them, and then I had very light massage at that. I'm now back to heavy massage about once a month.


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