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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,000
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I feel the surgery went very well and recovery has been better than I ever imagined. However, the tightness in my shoulders and upper arms, and the numbness and tingling in my right arm are all still present. There has been no relief whatsoever. I know I was told that nerves can take up to 2 years to recover, but I did expect some change. Am I being too impatient and too hopeful? I would prefer to know if they are NOT going to recover then I can plan my life accordingly. Any thoughts from anyone on the subject?


  • Mitch,
    Only being a week from surgery your nerves and such are probably still agrivated and trying to recover. I know that in my case it took a few weeks for things to settle down. I am not a doctor and we all do recover at different rates, just give things more time and take it easy. Hope all goes well for you.

  • It's good to hear that your surgery went well & you are on your way to recovery. I am almost 5 weeks post acdf c 5/6. Surgery on 08/08. I still have pain & numbness in my arm & hand. Although it is getting better.
    I too am frustrated. My surgeon told me to be patient & it could take up to 1 1/2 years.
    He did tell me before hand that he could not guarantee that I would ever be pain or numb free but, it wouldn't get worse. The arm is getting better but my neck itself hurts worse today than it ever did before. I just started P/T hopefully that will help.
    Take care & don't over due.
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  • Mitch,

    My 93 ACDF ultimately resolved all of my symptoms (except for neck discomfort), but the numbness did take quite a while to resolve.

    My current posterior surgery does not seem to have improved my symptoms, other than the pain is reduced. The numbness and weakness exist, with the numbness worse than pre-surgery. I am 4 weeks post-op and am hopeful for a full recovery.

  • I had my surgery 9 weeks ago and I still have numbness and tingling, so you're not alone. It'll take time.

    My DO said it could take up to a year or more as well.
  • Do you have pain and weakness as well? I'm 4 weeks post-op.

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  • I don't have pain as such, it is a tightness around shoulders and upper arms, like having a tight band around you. I have some weakness in my right arm, but mostly numbness and tingling.
    Thanks to you all for your encouraging words. I guess patience is the order of the day!!!
  • How long between when the symptoms started before you had surgery? Before my surgery, I talked to a lot of people with ACDF and it seemed the ones that waited the longest before surgery had the longest recovery and some had permanent nerve damage that never went away. That's why I had my surgery ASAP after the symptoms appeared. I only messed around with "conservative" therapy for 4 months. I am now 8 weeks out and completely pain and symptom-free. I haven't had a pain pill or even a Tylenol or NSAID in a over a week!

    But you are pretty soon out of surgery, so I would just be patient. I know my neck pain and shoulder muscle spasms were much worse than my original pre-op pain for the first couple weeks after surgery.
  • I have not had my surgery yet. I've had severe pain and some numbness for about 2 years in my left arm. I have a bone spur impinging on the nerve root in the C5-C6 area as well as the disc in that area doing the same. A couple other of my discs are flattening on my spinal chord.

    My appointment arranged by my primary neurosurgeon with a second opinion neuro is being delayed do to heavy snow this week. I am kind of wondering if I will end up with permanent nerve damage and whether at this juncture I will have to go on permanent disability. My doctors have suggested this possibility as well as my insurance claims manager.

    I probably waited way too long, but they didn't know until the end of this last June it was a cervical spine issue as opposed to an elbow/arm issue.

    I do hope you guys who have had your surgeries recover fully and successfully!

    Ken GreyEagle
  • I am 10 days post level 1 ACDF Surgery. I am so glad I found this forum. Immediately after my surgery, numbness and tingling was gone from fingers, and I could lift my arm above my head with less pain than before. I can also hook my bra, which was quite painful prior to surgery. I am wondering if I have done too much too fast -I am having more pain in neck than before surgery. Also, the incision area is still very tender and is still swollen. The nurse called to check on me a couple of days ago and she said that this was normal. Finger numbness seems to be coming and going. I have had herniated and bulging C4/C5 and C5/C6 since 2001. Nurse said that numbness and tingling are usually the last to go, depending on how compressed the nerves were. Also, chance that nerves are damaged and will not recover. I cried when the numbness came back. There is still pain in my arm when I lift in certain positions - I am hoping this too will go away with time. I am only able to sleep for about 2 hours at a time. Have the miami collar but Dr. told me to wear it if I felt I needed additional support. I too can't find comfortable sleep position. I also notice a difference when swallowing, as if there is some pressure on my throat. I guess I am looking for support.
  • Hello,

    I had ACDF 4-5 on December 12th of 08 and I am just now starting to feel better. I can still over do it and the pain will flair if I am not careful. You are experiencing a lot of the same things as me but I think you have more arm pain. Mine is more shoulder and is finally easing a bit.

    Riding in the car will even get mine going.

    For a while the only way I could sleep was in the recliner with a pillow behind my head. I had no collar at all this time.

    As far as your throat it is probably still very swollen from the procedure. This will improve with time.

    Hang in there!

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