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ACDF C6-C7

Here is my story:



I had c6-c7 fused on febr 20th.



Immediately after waking up, the burning pain in right shoulder and elbow was gone, so was the tingling in my hand. I did notice the left part of my tongue was numb and some tingling in the tip of my index finger. And my right arm felt a bit weak. 10 days post op, these symptoms remain. They don 't bother me much, but I do hope they will go away.



I haven't taken any pain killers since leaving  the hospital. I do take a muscle relaxant before going to sleep.



I have been walking since day 2. I do a couple of walks each day,  totaling around 6kms a day. 



I hope to get back on my mtb as soon as possible. At first probably short rides on pavement.



I also had difficulty swallowing after surgery. I could eat solid food from day 1, but it wasn't very comfortable. So I have been making smoothies more often. After 11 days swallowing has improved considerably, but still not 100%.



I have also been riding a stationary bike for 30 minutes since yesterday.



*******



2 weeks post op:



I still have tingling sensation in 1 finger. It seems to get worse during the night. My right upper arm feels week and hurts when raising hand above shoulder level. Left side of tip of tongue still numb. I sometimes feel a burning sensation in my neck. I think 1 level below fusion, but hard to tell exactly where.



Stitches have been removed. Swallowing has improved a lot. I have a scar, but I don't mind scars and it's hardly noticable.



I have been walking and/or riding the stationary bike daily. Normally I should be able to ride a bike in 2 more weeks, but I can't imagine riding one now. Lifting my head to look ahead, and also road vibration worries me.



Haven't taken any pain meds since leaving hospital.



*******



3 weeks post op:



I still have the tingling in my finger, weakness in right upper arm and numb tongue. Swallowing is at 99% now. Scar itches a little bit. I have also been experiencing a couple of off days, where I get muscle pain in my back and neck. This seems to move around. Sometimes a sharp pain in the middle of my neck. I think at or 1 level below fusion. Hard to tell.



Surgeon said I could drive a car and ride a bike after 4 weeks. My range of motion still seems limited for this. From left to right is less then normal, so I'm a bit worried for driving a car. But looking up is very limited. So riding my bike seems impossible. I also don't deal well with shocks, like road vibration or any holes or bumps in the road. I'll try riding a city bike first, before moving on to a roadbike. For now, I'm still walking around 7kms daily, and riding a stationary bike for 30min 5 times a week.



Anyone have experience with mtb, running and/or swimming post ACDF?
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Comments

  • OswaldOtte - I've had three ACDFs over the years.  The surgeons told me that ACDFs generally take 9 to 12 months to completely heal.  On the timing of running, I highly suggest having that discussion with your surgeon.  Every case is different.  All three of my ACDFs were different.

  • Last few days have been uncomfortable. Lot's of pain in my neck which seems to move around. Was supposed to see the surgeon beginning of April. But with the Corona our Belgian hospitals only do urgent visits. So my visit may be cancelled. Physical therapists are also no longer treating patients.

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  • OswaldOtte - Sorry to hear your visit was cancelled.  In the part of the U.S. I live, it is kind-of the same story.  My follow-up visit for my SCS implant has been cancelled.  I really don't want to be close to any medical facility right now if I don't need to be.  Our lack of preparedness is crazy.

  • 5 weeks post-op:

    Hand still tingling (maybe carpal tunnel??)

    Tongue numbness almost gone.

    Muscle pain comes and goes, but no big deal.

    When extending my neck, it feels like a nail is poking my vertebrae. This worries me the most.

    So not much to complain about. Going to start working again tomorrow. Only for a few hours a day, from home.

    Been walking and riding my stationary bike a lot. Would like to start PT, but impossible due to Corona lockdown.


  • Might be interesting to know that

    I'm a 40y old male, I'm reasonably fit (used to swim, run and mtb pre op), 70kg for 175cm. 

    I don't drink nor smoke. I have reumatoid arthritis. I have a deskjob.

    The surgeon used a peek cage filled with scrapings from the treated vertebrae. The cage is bolted to the c6-c7, so no plate was used (which may explain why I have no longer difficulty swallowing). 

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  • It sounds like you are doing very well in your recovery, I am fused C4-C7, it takes time to get all or most of the muscle, nerve and surgical pain to go away, just don't try to do too much too soon.

    Take care and keep us posted

    Chip

  • Work was a big disappointment. My upper back and neck muscles are killing me now. Can't wait to take a muscle relaxant and crawl into bed.

  • Maybe a little too soon? It's only been a month, I know after my cervical fusion surgery that I would not have been ready to go back in a month, by 6 weeks, maybe part time.

    Take care and keep us posted

    Chip

  • 6 weeks post-op:

    I will probably need a couple of extra weeks to start work again. Muscles start to ache and I get super tired, just from sitting at a desk all day.

    What bothers me most is not being able to look up. This is a major problem as I am very passionate about cycling. Really disappointed about it. When I extend my neck it hurts and feels like something is poking in my vertebrae. It's not a muscle, it's in the vertebrae. I feel it as soon as I look up. It's impossible to ride a bike like this. Even after raising my handlebar 2cm, to sit more upright, I can only see a few meters ahead. Looking any further hurts too much.

  • Looking up was the hardest for me also, I can't remember how long that lasted, but it was no more than 3 months for me, I am 2 years out now and basically have full range of motion, it took patience and exercise to get that way.

    Take care and keep us posted

    Chip 

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