Post ACDF - My journey of recovery and exercise

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inthedark
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Joined: 01/21/2015 - 4:43pm
post op day 3

the only thing that's bugging me is the feeling that someone did a karate chop on my neck, other than that the incision pain is negligent. The meds just make me all groggy but doesn't take the muscle spasm away. My wound itches like crazy now and i'm trying my best to stay away from scratching it. Lol! Just feeling tired cause of intermittent sleep.

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greggva
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Joined: 11/26/2013 - 10:16am
It gets better!

inthedark wrote:
the only thing that's bugging me is the feeling that someone did a karate chop on my neck, other than that the incision pain is negligent. The meds just make me all groggy but doesn't take the muscle spasm away. My wound itches like crazy now and i'm trying my best to stay away from scratching it. Lol! Just feeling tired cause of intermittent sleep.

I think the neck tightness and pain is pretty common and I had it. My NS prescribed me some muscle relaxers and those were great to take before going to sleep. I tried as fast as I could to get off the pain meds and was pretty much not using them except for bedtime. Getting a good walk in, if you feel up to it, will definitely go a long way to helping you relax later for sleep.

Hope you heal quickly wherever your surgery was!

C7-T1 ACDF 12Dec2013

Kthompson213
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Joined: 03/20/2015 - 11:17pm
Thank you

As an active guy almost 7 months out from acdf c3-4, I really needed this thread. Regulating the need for activity with the consequences is tricky. I hope you know how amazing your recovery thread is. Thank you for sharing.

Aced c-3 c-4 very active and healthy 35 year old non-smoker

greggva
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Thanks!

Kthompson213 wrote:
As an active guy almost 7 months out from acdf c3-4, I really needed this thread. Regulating the need for activity with the consequences is tricky. I hope you know how amazing your recovery thread is. Thank you for sharing.

I am glad you find it helpful. I am in complete agreement with you on the "need for activity" and "consequences". I have found that what your body needs and what your mind needs can be two completely different things.

The result of excess in my active lifestyle was what put me where I am. If I would have thought about the consequences, I likely could have avoided, or at least delayed, my injury. I could have received the same health result without injury if I would have been less extreme and more patient.

Best of luck to you!

C7-T1 ACDF 12Dec2013

Karenahenry@aol.com
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Joined: 03/28/2015 - 1:56pm
Post ACDF recovery period

Thank you for logging your weekly progression status post ACDF sx. Today, I am 8 weeks post C5-7 ACDF w/allograft & instrumentation. I was allowed to walk to tolerance (hard with this winter), no exercises or NSAIDs, hard cervical brace 24/7 (also made sleeping a nightmare) No pun intended !
At 6 wk, first post op apt. I was allowed to remove collar, drive to tolerance, walk. Still no exercising, and careful lifting of <8-10 lbs carefully/& limited.

Next post op. Dr. Will add PT prn and at this point, I really need it! I've had varying symptoms since leaving the hospital including ( not limited to tho) : severe pain in neck and upper traps., pain down left arm when right arm had the pain neck to hand pre- sx., numbness & tingling in each hand, randomly, occasional twitches in either arm - they were constant in RUE pre-sx. Pain in the left arm when that hadn't been an issue before.

There are so many things healing inside that had been moved & retracted, cut, scraped, touched, excised, screwed into, inner sutures & external sutures, new allograft bone chunks placed in etc. There are bound to be many & varying symptoms post.

I have constant 'awareness' , of stiffness, varying degrees of pain, decreased endurance & ROM, very occasional twitches in UE's, numbness & tingling occasions of either hand (now at 8 wks post) . Thankfully I see the severity keeps decreasing. So, this is how my healing process is progressing. Being an Occupational Therapist myself, I could Not return to my work in this condition, it requires too much UE strength & coordination. Downside for me is my husband thinks I should be all healed at 8 wks. & not just going 'back' to work, I actually have to get another job. As a good therapist knows taking it slow & consistent is the way to achieve the best success after these surgeries. Best wishes to all !

KReichenHenry

greggva
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You know best

Karenahenry@aol.com wrote:
Thank you for logging your weekly progression status post ACDF sx. Today, I am 8 weeks post C5-7 ACDF w/allograft & instrumentation. I was allowed to walk to tolerance (hard with this winter), no exercises or NSAIDs, hard cervical brace 24/7 (also made sleeping a nightmare) No pun intended !
At 6 wk, first post op apt. I was allowed to remove collar, drive to tolerance, walk. Still no exercising, and careful lifting of <8-10 lbs carefully/& limited.

Next post op. Dr. Will add PT prn and at this point, I really need it! I've had varying symptoms since leaving the hospital including ( not limited to tho) : severe pain in neck and upper traps., pain down left arm when right arm had the pain neck to hand pre- sx., numbness & tingling in each hand, randomly, occasional twitches in either arm - they were constant in RUE pre-sx. Pain in the left arm when that hadn't been an issue before.

There are so many things healing inside that had been moved & retracted, cut, scraped, touched, excised, screwed into, inner sutures & external sutures, new allograft bone chunks placed in etc. There are bound to be many & varying symptoms post.

I have constant 'awareness' , of stiffness, varying degrees of pain, decreased endurance & ROM, very occasional twitches in UE's, numbness & tingling occasions of either hand (now at 8 wks post) . Thankfully I see the severity keeps decreasing. So, this is how my healing process is progressing. Being an Occupational Therapist myself, I could Not return to my work in this condition, it requires too much UE strength & coordination. Downside for me is my husband thinks I should be all healed at 8 wks. & not just going 'back' to work, I actually have to get another job. As a good therapist knows taking it slow & consistent is the way to achieve the best success after these surgeries. Best wishes to all !

Sounds like you are making good progression and taking slowly. My NS cleared me for much higher levels of exercise but resisted. I also had considerable stiffness and associated referred pain from in in my left arm that was not there prior to the surgery. Prior was almost entirely right shoulder, arm, wrist, hand. I still get some referred pain when my shoulder muscles are tight and I know that I just need a good stretch or soak. I do not skip warm up, cool down, or stretching when I exercise. I find that really helps.

Keep at it and there is hope. I just got back from an overnight hike on the Appalachian Trail and put in about 25 miles! No issues! (I did take a couple Advil though!)

C7-T1 ACDF 12Dec2013

RichardA
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Rehab after ACDF

Hello all, this is my first post ever on this site. My name is Rich, 1 am 51 years old and I am scheduled to have C6/7 ACDF with plate in 2 weeks from today. I've put up with this "issue" for over 8 years, and now my NS says it is time. My disc is "cactus" to put it mildly and half of it is sitting in my spinal canal and left foramina. It won't get better in that shape!!! I'm apprehensive....someone is going to be cutting, burring and screwing things around near my spinal cord...it's a bit off-putting. So I started reading the posts from this wonderful forum and have relaxed remarkably as a result. Like many on this forum I am an avid runner (sprints), martial artist (Taekwondo and JuJitsu), and GSP Rushfit kind of junkie....and was as fit as I ever was in my 20's until about 6 weeks ago when I ended up in ER with mind-blowing arm, elbow, forearm and finger pain.
I just wanted to thank everyone in advance for your honest appraisals of how you have felt and dealt with your recovery space, and I look forward to sharing my own story with you all as well...so that somebody else who ends up in our situation and wants some honest views on life after ACDF surgery may benefit...you all have certainly provided that to me. I feel excited about taking the rehab challenge and setting some realistic fitness goals for the start of 2016. My beautiful wife worries for me as I look at the world thru rose coloured glasses whilst at the same time being very stubborn about what I think I can do (even when I really can't do them). You're words of wisdom about taking things slowly, suffering the boredom of walking every day instead of sweating it out on the track or in the dojo, and listening to my body has been very helpful and has put my mind at ease. I am taking a longer term view on this and will regenerate my fitness (I have decided to simply call 2015 my fitness gap year!!!), ....but perhaps with a bit more kindness to my body going forward! Thank you all and god bless. Rich

C6/7 ACDF 18th April 2015 after 8 years of mucking around pretending it was something else...

Gary Jones
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Last seen: 6 months 3 weeks ago
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Joined: 04/03/2015 - 9:52am
Recovery ACDF

I registered to read an article. After registering I cannot locate the rest of the article, the bate part is there but not the whole fish?

greggva
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Joined: 11/26/2013 - 10:16am
Hoping the best for you

RichardA wrote:
Hello all, this is my first post ever on this site. My name is Rich, 1 am 51 years old and I am scheduled to have C6/7 ACDF with plate in 2 weeks from today. I've put up with this "issue" for over 8 years, and now my NS says it is time. My disc is "cactus" to put it mildly and half of it is sitting in my spinal canal and left foramina. It won't get better in that shape!!! I'm apprehensive....someone is going to be cutting, burring and screwing things around near my spinal cord...it's a bit off-putting. So I started reading the posts from this wonderful forum and have relaxed remarkably as a result. Like many on this forum I am an avid runner (sprints), martial artist (Taekwondo and JuJitsu), and GSP Rushfit kind of junkie....and was as fit as I ever was in my 20's until about 6 weeks ago when I ended up in ER with mind-blowing arm, elbow, forearm and finger pain.
I just wanted to thank everyone in advance for your honest appraisals of how you have felt and dealt with your recovery space, and I look forward to sharing my own story with you all as well...so that somebody else who ends up in our situation and wants some honest views on life after ACDF surgery may benefit...you all have certainly provided that to me. I feel excited about taking the rehab challenge and setting some realistic fitness goals for the start of 2016. My beautiful wife worries for me as I look at the world thru rose coloured glasses whilst at the same time being very stubborn about what I think I can do (even when I really can't do them). You're words of wisdom about taking things slowly, suffering the boredom of walking every day instead of sweating it out on the track or in the dojo, and listening to my body has been very helpful and has put my mind at ease. I am taking a longer term view on this and will regenerate my fitness (I have decided to simply call 2015 my fitness gap year!!!), ....but perhaps with a bit more kindness to my body going forward! Thank you all and god bless. Rich

Rich - I think your positive and realistic attitude will take you as far as you want to go in your recovery. I found after having the surgery that I often wondered why I really questioned having it. Waking up after surgery and the pain being gone after so many trips to PT, injections, tests, scans, sleepless nights seemed nothing short of a miracle. I think I am have become more cautious as a result of wanting to protect my healed state (from myself and activities I would normally do). I don't really think I am limited by the surgery, I just don't ever want to go back to where I was before and where it sounds that you are now. I, as you mentioned, take a very long term view of my fitness. I look in year chunks of time versus the all in every workout that I practiced before. It's kind of like allergy testing now where you stick to a routine that works and then implement just a little of something else to see what the affect is. I recently sold my erg (rowing machine) after trying to work it into my routine but found that it really irritated another back injury from 25 years ago. I hated to see it go but realized that pushing though the pain, workout after workout, only gets me in trouble and back under the knife.

I have also found a new appreciation for things that I thought were simple, like running, and find that I enjoy them even more and I have no issues getting up and getting that workout in. I think you will likely do the same. Best of luck to you and hope for a "speedy" recovery!

C7-T1 ACDF 12Dec2013

eRB
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Joined: 10/21/2015 - 6:27am
Rehab ACDF

Greggva and RichardA
Glad to see you both have been able to return to exercise. I am 45 and exercised 3-5 times a week. My surgery was unplanned. I had been working out in gym a day before (ignoring my body's warning signs). I am now 5 days post op and already wondering about return to exercises. I think I will follow your leads and stick to walking and maybe stationary bike. I still have numbness in arms, legs and trunk so walking is about all I can manage. But hoping it will speed up recovery.

L4/5 disectomy 2005, HTO 2009, C6/7 ACDF 2015

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