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ACDF C6 & C7 recovery

Hello, I had ACDF surgery May 21 and it is now August 11.  First I need to start with the fact out of the blue I woke with a stiff neck back in April.  I went to see a chiropractor for a quick adjustment and then all hell broke loose.  I had severe radiculopathy pain going down my left shoulder, arm, and hand.  It was something I never want to experience again, I was desperate to find relief.  After a CAT scan and an MRI it was discovered I had a herniated disc between C6 & C7, bone spurs, and it was degenerative.  Since the surgery the nerve pain decreased dramatically however, I still have pain (tingling and numbness) in my left hand (fingers - pinky, ring, and middle) which is constant and occasionally under my left armpit.  There has been some discomfort and pain on the left side of my neck which has affected my collar bone.  There is also this feeling overall of just yucky.  Surgeon has given me gabapentin prior to and after surgery.  I am 64 years old and have always been very active (bike riding, hiking, and lots of physical activities) however, since the surgery I can't seem to get back to my old self.  I seem to be depressed and often feel this overwhelming need to cry.  I mentioned these symptoms to the surgeon and he seems to believe I need carpal tunnel surgery (have had this problem for years but was avoiding surgery) which he believes should eliminate the problems in my hand and thereby resolve the other symptoms as well.  I have read that depression is normal after this type of surgery but have not read anything about it in this forum.  I'm not sure what I am looking for here, but I need to find a solution other than "it takes time" or another surgery. 



  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,713

    Welcome kpaula55 to the forum.

    Depression and chronic pain go hand in hand. Most of it due to you wanting to get back to your normal life and can't. At least not yet. But it does take time and patience to get over any surgery. Below is a link to a discussion by another member, markrebello, on his surgery and recovery. It is full of great information.

    My recovery - C4-C7 in 2016, C3 done in 2017 

    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.

    Have you read the article Practical Advice for Recovering from Back Surgery on Spine-health? It offers a lot of practical tips around what to expect before, during, and after surgery. 

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

  • Recovery from surgery can be depressing, we want to be normal again quickly after surgery, spine surgery rarely goes that way, the thing that has helped me the most after several spinal surgeries and some very challenging recoveries is to look at the small improvements, it may not be a big thing but something very small that is not bothering you as bad this week as last.


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  • Are you still on the Gabapentin?  I was on it prior to and after my last C5/6 fusion. You are in better shape physically and a a few years younger.  When I went off the Gabapentin it was like I got my personality back and some of the fog lifted. Not sure how much you are taking but it is a medicine you should taper off.

  • The pink and ring finger are associated with c7-t1, so you might want to have that level looked at, maybe with an mri.

    Carpal tunnel is thumb, index and middle finger.

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