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I'm doing really well this week...I don't even know what date it is today...:dizzy:

Kabatron, the second day after surgery is always the worst, pain wise. They should have told you that. Once you get past that, it's all up hill. But if you let your pain get out of control on day 2, it's hard to get it back under control for a few days.

Take the pain meds and muscle relaxers in whatever hourly increments they say you can, whether or not your hurt.....the goal is to stay comfortable and not let the pain break through.

Use ice to help reduce swelling. Remember, you'll have swelling around the nerves that were just released by the surgery so expect the numbness and tingling to return and then go and then return and so on.

Sitting up in a nice chair or recliner does help, especially if you can sleep in drains the swelling away from your neck whereas laying down may make it settle in the neck and cause more pain.

Eat ice cream...the cold feels good on the throat. I didn't have an ACDF but others have told me that.

Sleep as much as you can. Sleep is healing and restorative and helps you cope with the pain. Sleep!

It will get better but remember that the course of recovery for a neck surgery is very up and down so expect steps forwards and backwards as you heal. And expect to find yourself feeling somewhat depressed as you heal...normal reaction to the intense and deep anesthesia you had.

REST, REST, REST..................Jenny's orders.
Kabatron...some guidelines(even though I didn't have an ACDF).

After most surgeries involving the cutting or drilling of bone(that I've had a lot of), you'll see a significant drop in pain at 3 weeks and again at 6 weeks.

Swelling...My doc said ice but the truth is, you have to see which helps you the most. Some do better increasing the blood flow with heat and the extra blood helps to take away the extra fluid and some do better with ice to help to limit the amount of swelling. I tended to use both. Ice when I felt very swollen and heat to help take the fluid away when the swelling stopped increasing.

Pain....this is the hard issue. As you heal, the nerves that have been so compressed they were in danger of dying, are starting to come back to life and so the pain will get worse. YES...I SAID WORSE. They will begin to zap and tingle and then roar with pain as they start working properly again. If it is bad, ask about getting some Neurontin or Lyrica or Cymbalta to help modify the neuropathy. It will get better and they will go back to being normal(hopefully). There is never a guarantee that you will be pain free after surgery because no doc knows if the nerves will heal back to normal or stay in the painful damaged state. But without surgery, you are facing paralysis. Pain means the nerves are alive and kicking again and with time, should get better. should be fairly well along in the fusion process by 6-8 weeks(when you can take off the collar) but it isn't well fused until 6 months so you have to careful not to break the fusion. Don't fall! The fusion however isn't really strong until at least 1-2 years post-op. It takes the using of the neck to make the bone strong.

Sleep...if you find that you don't sleep too well, blame your pain meds(especially Dilaudid). You'll sleep better when off of them. The muscle relaxers will help you sleep so use them more than the pain meds.

The body heals best with lots of rest and some basic and regular exercise to help the muscles recover. So sleep a lot and walk daily once you have your sutures/staples/steri-strips off/out. For those of us in snow country, see if you have a warm PT pool nearby where you might be able to go walk in the warm water. It's great! Check your yellow pages for PT facilities that feature water therapy. Then get a script for pool PT if you can. Otherwise, walk on a treadmill or just stand and march in place.

And eat soft food but a balanced diet if you can. Take Vit. B Complex vitamins to help the nerves heal. Drink a lot....dehydration can make dizzy and weak and you don't need to fall.

This is the time when you focus on YOU. Give YOU TLC.

Hello All,
I came across this site trying to find some excercises to do post ACDF surgery and after reading some stories, I figured I would add in my experience as well.
I am 7 days post surgery - 2 level ACDF. The first three days I must say were the absolute worst. The hospital and nurses were great however, I had come down with a cold (sinus crud and coughing) 4 days [B]prior[/B] to surgery. I thought for sure they would reschedule but they did not.
So, after surgery, trying to cough up the crud that was already in my lungs was sooooo painful I thought I was going to blow my neck out.
I also see on here that some people were told to use ice or heat. My release papers didnt say anything about that but now that I think about it, the ice probably would have helped because my throat was so swollen and even more irritated from my cold and coughing fits. Swallowing was so very painful.
Sleeping was very difficult the first few days too. Trying to get comfortable was nearly impossible but the recliner became my best friend for relief.
My biggest thing I agree with all of the posts, is to make sure you take your pain meds every 4-6 hours or whatever was prescribed. Once you let it go and the pain gets out of control, it is miserable and hard to get back under control. They gave me valium while I was still in the hospital after surgery for my muscle spasms to help me sleep - I couldnt relax. However, they discharged me only with Norco for the pain and nothing for the muscle spasms. I am going to try and get something this week at least to help me get some good rest at night only. I am still only sleeping 3 - 4 hours at a time.
They told me I would be in the brace for 4 - 6 weeks but I am hoping to go back to work within 3-4 weeks. Its a desk job so no hard labor.
I know this will be a hard road but with all the success stories, I am hopeful I can return to more of a normal life. I was having very serious weakness in my arms and hands so hoping the damage was not permanent.
Good luck to all of you.

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