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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

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Just had my 6 week post op from ACDF C5-6 C6-7. The xrays did not show any bone growth, but they said they did not really expect to. They did not clear me to go back to work. I sadly agree with the decision. I drove 20 minutes to work, then worked in my room for 45 minutes, chatted for 30 minutes and then drove 5 minutes to dr.appt. the 20 minutes to supermarket and another 15 minutes home. My shoulder and neck were sore by the time I got home. OUCH. They said I may not be ready for work until the end of Feb. That bothers me, but maybe if I can strengthen my neck, arm and shoulder muscles then I can do more. I think I can handle the drive, but teaching all day and then I would be a waste when I got home. That would not be fair to my son and husband. At least that made me feel better. I do not have much ROM. Only 5% going up, 45% down, and about 30% right and left. I also feel very weak. We practiced some simple neck excerises since he still does not want me to start PT. He said if it is still an issue at 3 months then he would give me a script. He said if I wanted to go for a massage that would be okay but I needed to bring xrays and make sure they are careful. I am going to borrow 2 pound weights from my son and start with them. I still can not get comfortable in the bed and have been sleeping in the recliner. Sad I forgot to ask the surgeon the name of the plate and cages that they put in. I did request a copy of the medical records so I am sure it is in there. My son (17) wanted a copy of the xray to show his class (Anatomy and Physiology) so they were nice enough to give a copy with hardware and one from a few years ago so they can see the difference. I have a plate and 6 screws. Very interesting to see. They also use BMP (bone protein).

We are going to get another 3-6 inches Thursday into Friday. YUCK !!

Still taking a flexril (muscle relaxer) once in a while, which i did today.
I'll try and keep my chin up (LOL) Have a good night.
I just had my 7 week post op for ACDF 2 level C5-6 & c6-7, titanium plate w/donor bone 'cement'.

I went back to work last week because I am fortunate to work 5 minutes from my home and my employer reduced my hours to part time.

I was surprised to find out that I have lost 20% mobility in my neck. I was really not aware what I was getting into before the surgery because I went into pain management doctor and was sent immediatey to NS and had the surgery within the week. I was in such extreme pain that I was not able to sit at computer and research, which i normally would have done. I would have my husband wake me up before he went to work just to help me out of bed! I just wanted the pain GONE!

I also asked about PT. He said wait another month. I asked about exercise and he said I can do exercises but not any that would move the neck. He said I could use my eliptical machine but I tried it last night and felt a familiar burning feeling in back of neck so I knew I better stop. I don't feel like I'm ready for eliptical.

At the post op I was also told that I can expect another surgery in approx. 10 years from now. I didn't expect that either. NS explained to me that the disc levels above and below are now at risk because they will be getting more wear and tear than usual. I could be dead in 10 years, so I figure why sweat it. In 10 years they might have new techniques. (I actually had a dream last night that I went for my post op and the NS said, [I]"oh, we don't use that bone cement anymore, that doesn't work")[/I]

I had no idea how long bone fusion could take, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. I was in so much pain that I didn't ask any questions before the surgery. I believe I had no other options at the time and still feel this was the only way to go and I am grateful that I'm not on heavy pain meds anymore. I felt like I was being judged by many because I had to keep going back to doctor to get more. There was no way I could continue the way I was before surgery. I was in constant pain. I still feel pain, but not as much as before. I am trying to be patient and take one day at a time.

When told I lost 20% mobility in my neck, I changed that to: I am grateful that I have 80% mobility in my neck. I am trying to be positive about recovery (even though my husband is getting impatient because cleaning has been put on hold). I started a 'Grateful Journal'. Everyday I write at least three things that I am grateful for. Helps me to stay positive.

Wishing you success!
Hi SpineAZ,
I am trying not to push myself to return to work. My employer does believe that I need to concentrate on my recovery. In fact the principal of my school called me today and reassured me not to come back too soon and to take my time. He has been very understanding and helpful since September. I just wanted to know if it was at all possible to come back part time. Unfortunately it is not. But it was worth a try. I have also spoken to a coworker who lives nearby to confirm that I can catch a ride to work with her so that I don't have the stress of driving whenever I choose to return to work. My supervisor at the district office also emailed me not to push myself to come back before I have had sufficient time to recover. Her husband had a single level ACDF a number of years ago. So she has personal knowledge of the recovery. That helps. I am putting the pressure on myself. Thanks for being there to make sure I don't do too much. I am completing some neck exercises that they said I can do to increase ROM. Time will tell. How long does it usually take to start to see some bone growth. Somewhere I remember reading that it could take 3 months for bone growth to begin but complete fusion can occur between 6 - 12 months. Is that accurate?
zoeyzoe; We are now in a deep freeze and do not think I will be walking outside. You need to be really careful when you go outside especially if it is cold and icy.l. (Spoke to my surgeons office 2x because I thought I did damage because I tripped upstairs and 24 hr stomach bug - they told me unless I fall down a full flight of steps or are in a car accident I probably won't do any damage to hardware or neck). But if I wanted to come in I could. Spoke to a couple of friends and I requested that they take me along when they go to the supermarket. Need to get out and have company. Except for 2 friends, people seems to be fading and it has only been 6 weeks. You

I was told that thee burning in the back of the neck and the knots are within the realm of normal! I just don't care for it. Everything is probably adjusting and I'm sure it is okay to write it off as that. I understand why you freak out whenever you get a new pain. I still do the same thing. Glad the moist heat works for you. I just sit back on the couch with my head back and my eyes closed for anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the pain or discomfort level. I am trying not to take prescription meds.

I thought I knew alot about the surgery, which I did just not too much about the recovery. Stupid on my part. I am usually very thorough with research. I only found this site after surgery. Wish I knew about it prior.
Yes our situations seem similar. Remind me, which levels did you have done. ACDF C5-6 C6-7. They thought about 4-5 also but decided against it. I certainly hope they made the right decision because I do not want to go through this again. My husband works odd hours so he is not around much either. In the beginning he was by my side. Aft 2 weeks I told him that it would be okay to go back to his normal schedule. At least one of us should. It is tough when the spouse is not around. Sorry that your daughter is not helpful. My son usually does what I ask him: carry laundry, groceries, drive me, vacuum ...) He also knows if he doesn't, I won't let him drive my car to HS. He is an only child and we hae a pretty good relationship.

You may want to ask about the cervical stim. My dr says it could cut the fusion time in half. Somewhere I read that it is used for multi level fusion or people with high risk not to fuse (smoker) . My feeling is if it may help I want it. At my 6 week they did not see any bone growth and that sent me into a depressive mood, which thankfully my husband got me out of. Every NS is different. There are some that barely have people in the soft collar. I woludn't worry. When I went for 2nd and 3rd opinions they were all different from hard collar for 4-6 weeks then the same with a soft collar to no collar at all. My feeling is listen to your neck. It will tell you when you should wear the collar. As my surgeon told me the plate, screws and cages are the stability that really counts. The collar is more for protection (emotionally and psychology for the patient). He heard my concerns and gave me a hard collar that I only for wore for a few days and then switched to a soft one. Much more comfortable, He told me at about the 2 week post op appt that I didn't need to wear the collar either. I told him I felt more comfrotable wearing it sleeping, in a car, walking in public and when my neck hurts. He told me that was fine and I would not be doing my neck a disservice. Same answer for wearing the collar at 6 weeks. SO that is what I do.

You may want to ask about bone growth, bone fusion and bone stimulator. didn't mention anything about the bone fusion yet. Who would you see if you are done with NS. I along with others have a 3 month appt. on Feb 28th. Maybe an orthopedic spin surgeon is different from a NS. I think mine will continue to track my progress. Who is in charge of your case?

What are you taking for your arthritis? I was told no anti inflammatory for at least 6 months. I miss my meds for arthritis, but will to accept the aches and pains so I do not interfere with bone growth and progress.

Have a good day and try and stay warm in the big freeze.
[QUOTE=frenchfri1003;4667287] Did you go home with a drain in your neck? I had one in for 4 days and it was disgusting.

rx for arthritis: I would be careful with the meloxicam. I was told 6 months not to take anything like that because it inhibits the bone growth. I know I wake up with a sore back and sometimes it is hard to get out of bed. I also have trouble if I bend down to play with the bunny or feed the bird my knees hert when getting up. I can't wait to go back on my meds. I did not do well on meloxicam. Currently, rather prior to surgery, I was on diclofenac 75 mg 3x a day. It was wonderful, no pain waking up in the morning (back not neck) and no problem with my knees. I use to kneel down next to the kids desks so I was at eye level and not bending my neck. I didn't have pain.


frenchfri: no, i didn't have a drain in my neck. hmm, wonder why?

please tell me how the meloxicam affected you in a bad way. i discontinued it until i hear from NS office. i called and left a message today.

so today i was dissappointed to receive a bill from the records department from the hospital stay (a little over 24 hour stay) that i requested. they want me to pay like $60 to get it. i requested one because they treated me poorly in ER. i had to get emergency surgery because i was out of the pain rx prescribed to me and was in extreme pain (crying for over 8 hours). the ER dude in triage treated me like i was a crackhead because the rx bottle was empty! i was taking 2 oxycodon every 4 hours. I HAD TO! (the pain got so bad they put me on fentanyl patch which i could not use at all, i had it on for 5 hours and ripped it off because it made me very sick) i kept asking if my husband could come in the room with me and help me answer questions because I couldn't remember due to the extreme pain! he would not allow him in the room with me! i wonder if you, or any other ACDF patients on this site, had any problems with medical staff treating you a certain way because you were on high pain meds. I definately think they put a red flag on my ER reports that followed me throughout my stay. i went in the hospital around 7 a.m. and received surgery at 3:30 p.m. i was in terrible pain the whole time waiting for the surgery. not sure why they could not get my pain level down, or if i had some sort of red flag from ER. my doctors would not even mention surgery until i was at my worst, unbearable days in pain. before that they kept just giving me pain rx and injections...and PT!

now that all our medical records are going in cyberspace...i wonder if all those notes from ER will follow me for the rest of my life. :confused: [I]i was actually wishing the ER triage dude some of my pain on that day.[/I] i actually asked him (more like yelled at him) if he could possibly have a little bit of compassion because i'm pretty sure he had never felt pain like that before.

i know you said you get a copy of your x-rays. do you also have a copy of your surgery report? if so, how did you go about and get it? anyone??

i would like to start a new post on this subject but don't know how to.

hope your staying's too friggin COLD out!

venting, but still grateful,

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