Post ACDF pain HELP!

I had ACDF on C5/C6 April 19th of this year.  The surgery went great, my 3 month post op x ray looked great my spine surgeon said he has no worries about my fusion and that I had no restrictions. I was still having pain turning my head and laying down flat to sleep so he prescribed a month of physical therapy 3x a week.  I've been going to pt for 3 weeks now and I can now move my head MUCH better than before so there's no doubt that I'm improving.  However, I still can't lay down flat in the bed with any kind of pillow(I've tried all kinds of pillows).  I've been using a wedge pillow to prop me up to sleep.  If I don't use that wedge pillow I can't sleep at all.  When I lay flat I get this horrible pain in between my shoulder blades and the middle of my back and I can't take it.  I can't lay on my side bc my neck hurts too bad when I do that.  They told me today at pt that the wedge pillow is making everything worse bc my muscles in my back are already overcompensating for my weak neck muscles and being inclined all the time (even when sleeping) the last 4 months has gotten my muscles used to always being in an upright position and that's why it hurts so bad.  I don't know what to do about that bc if I don't use the wedge I CANNOT sleep at all!  They also think I have chronic pain.  I just want to be able to lay down without this pain in between my shoulders and down the middle of my back.  I'm still so stiff and sore I'm 29 years old and I'm just ready to live my life again.  I still don't drive out of town and I can't really do anything because I hurt all the time.  I work full time at the computer which I know doesn't help things but I try to practice good posture.  I'm very frustrated I don't know how to make this pain stop.  Does anyone have any ideas of something I could do to stop this pain?  It's like when I lay back and put weight on my back there's a pressure sensor that activates horrible pain for me.  I'm frustrated bc I feel like I traded one pain(nerve pain before surgery) for another pain(this pain I get when I lay down).  I just wanted to see if anyone had any tips or anything on the subject.  I don't go back to the surgeon for 3 months and I only have 4 days of pt left (1 hour sessions).  



  • SukhreSSukhre San Diego, CAPosts: 85

    I myself in a mess. I am sorry about your pain. Sometimes it can take 24 months to heal. 

    For me I did get a CT scan to see if I am fusing. Or if there is a foraminal stenosis.

  • I had ACDF at C6/C7 9/7/17.  I have the exact same pain and I've seen many others mention it here.  Mine is not when I'm lying down, but when I sit or stand at my work desk.  Everything is ergonomic.  No idea why this happens.  I'm worried I went back to working too soon at 8 weeks.  In any case, I have found that the best sleep medication is gabapentin.  I take 900mg every night before bed.  Even though your pain is probably muscular and not nerve related, it might help.  I hope you both feel better.

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