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Hi all, first post for me. I'm 5 weeks post-op from ACDF C4-5 w/locking plate and allograph (donor bone). I'm back to work full time and found this site, so I decided to post my experience and ask a couple questions.

First of all, my surgery (3-18-03) went amazingly well. I went to John's Hopkins in Baltimore, MD and have been thoroughly impressed by the entire staff there. I woke up in recovery without a neck brace and haven't used one at all since. My incision site was glued closed (no stitches or steri-strips) and I had a drain below it. I was walking that evening and discharged the next morning at 8AM. I used painkillers for several days, primarily due to very sore trapezius muscles, but managed to get off them within about 1 week. (I had been looking forward to NOT taking painkillers for quite some time!) Of course, I had to deal with a little sleeplessness for several days after stopping, but I expected that (I don't sleep well to begin with). I was walking several miles a day within 1 week of the surgery and feeling really good.

About 2 weeks post-op, I talked with my surgeons office and got the OK to drive, so I did! That evening I paid for it, though. Just a little soreness from my neck telling me to slow it down a bit. Bounced right back within the next few days, though, felt great. Started back to work after 3 weeks post-op; was able to work 6-7 hours without too much problem. I got kicked out of work a few days later when HR found out I was back since my doctors note said I wouldn't be back for 6 weeks!

At 3 1/2 weeks post-op I woke up in the middle of the night with a muscle spasm bewteen my should blades that made it painful to move my neck in almost any direction. Talked to the surgeons office and they said it was quite common and suggested muscle relaxers (which I had a hefty supply of) and also said they would fax a release for me to work to my employer. They also said it would be ok to see a massage therapist so long as I told them about the surgery and to stay off the neck. So, I started on Flexeril 3x daily. The spasm subsided a bit, but was still quite noticeable and painful. I saw my massage therapist a couple of times that week and it did help, but the spasm isn't gone quite yet and its starting to remind me of my chronic pain before the surgery (its now 5 weeks post-op).

Based on some other posts I've read, I'm getting the impression that I may be pushing things a bit harder than maybe I should. Unfortunately I work for a small company and don't really feel comfortable taking any more time off work. I'm back on painkillers to help with sleep for the interim while this muscle spasm is bothering me. Anyone else have similar experiences with muscle spasms following ACDF? Any comments are welcome....


ACDF C4-5 w/locking plate and allograph
Hi Tone,


Sounds like you're doing great. I was way to zapped to get back to work and only recently am I able to keep my normal schedule.

You'll know if you move too much. As my doc told me, when you irritate the site you'll feel it. For me, it aches like it did immediately after surgery when I do too much.

I waited about 6 weeks before I drove - I also bought a bigger car- how's that for a rationalisation? :)

I had a massage three weeks post-op and it irritated my nerves enough to make me uncomfortable for a week. I love deep tissue, but not just yet.

Remember, there's no harm in taking it easy in the beginning. You can do more for yourself by going slow for a little while. You'll see your range of motion comes back gradually and you'll do more without even realizing it.

all the best,

ACDF with plating and donor bone C6-7 (1/29/03)

[This message has been edited by BWL (edited 04-23-2003).]
I just want to say to you, that there is a possibility that you may not fuse.
The possibility is small, BUT if you do too much, you are almost trying to not heal.
this was a bigtime major surgery you had, and it has to heal perfect, RIGHT?
SO just take it easy ok,find a way to do it.
and you will feel better every day.

OH and to answer your question, I didnt really get any spasms until I started reusing muscles that I hadnt used for a long time.
I can sympothise with you,I would get sick to my stomach from them.
ALSO I was concerned at different times in my healing that I was feeling pain that felt like pain before my surgery.
Keep your doctor informed,and if you trust him,and he says you are just feeling healing pains,beleive him and dont worry.

Hey BWL I also got a bigger car after my surgery.
I got a minivan.
I am still afraid to drive too much though,I am afraid of getting in an accident,ALSO when I tried to go in a hot tub even at about 6 months post op,it was horrible.
VERY aggrevating on my nerves.
I was very bummed as I was looking for relief.
Take care and I hope you can get a massage soon.
Sounds good :round:
See ya on the boards.

Carla Sue [img][/img]

ACDF C6-7 11/30/2001
donor bone with titanium plate and screws

[This message has been edited by Carla Sue (edited 04-23-2003).]

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