ACDF -- post surgery recovery/similar symptoms

I am 55 and active.  I am on week 12 of ACDF C5-C7.  My shoulders/upper back are super tense, and still have nerve pain down left arm.  I am scheduled to go back for another 6 weeks  PT course.  I have been out of my collar since week 10.  The surgeon said I need to improve my range of neck motion.  I do the exercises (at home) that the first round of PT had me doing.  But continue to be tight and have radicular pain... The Surgeon believes that it may be Ulnar Nerve, carpal tunnel or that I waited too long for surgery and have possibly permanent nerve damage.

I trust this surgeon as he performed (July 2019) multi-level/bi-lateral decompression on L3-L5.  But he seems irritated that I am feeling similar nerve pain to pre-surgery (Nov 2019).  We reviewed xrays and compared the before and after and it shows 4-5mm nerve highway (space for nerve, where there was nothing before).  He also was "happy" with what he saw in regards to the Fusion...

Also still waiting for neck pain to subside... using heating pad etc... but Doctor still has me off of NSAIDS as they are detrimental to the fusion process.  

Is this normal for Week 12?  Am I over thinking?  Do I just suck it up, and pray for nerves to settle down.  I am on 75 mg Lyrica 2x daily.  



  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,480

    Welcome GJH_22 to the Veritas Health Forum!

    While you’re waiting for a reply to your first post, please take a few moments to review the Code of Conduct and FAQ section, located under Forum Tools. There you will find important information about posting in the forum and helpful tips for new members.

    Here’s a great article about ACDF surgery on Spine-health that you might want to check out: ACDF: Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion. The article outlines what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. I hope you find this information helpful.

    Again, welcome to the Veritas Health Forum.
    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

  • Sorry you are dealing with this, I had ACDF C4-C7 2 years ago, I had some of the same tightness that you are talking about, I was very lucky that most of my nerve pain was gone as soon as surgery was over, but surgery happened within a month of the onset of pain, I was also not required to wear a collar unless I was in a car, surgeon said he had found that it was very hard on your muscles to wear the collar for any period of time. PT was my best friend when it came to getting my range of motion back and getting rid of the tightness in my shoulders and neck.

    Take care and keep us posted


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  • Two months since my last post, and feeling so much better.  Sticking with 2x Daily exercises for neck (motion w/o resistance and No motion with resistance).  These were the basic stretches that my PT started me on and I can tell that they are making a difference...  Because I can feel it if I skip a day or two!

    I see Surgeon on April 30th (6 month follow up) to review the fusion status!  

  • Glad to hear things are better


  • Could you give more details on the PT you are doing? With Corona I can't get access to PT. 

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