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How do I take care of myself after cervical fusion
I will be having a 4 level anterior cervical interbody fusion from C-3 thru C-7 with plating and screws June 8th. Will also be using cadaver bone and bone morphogenic protein. I have a mostly desk type job, and plan to be off work 3 weeks. What I don't know is how do I take care of myself at home. My husband can be home with me as long as necessary. How is the best way to sleep? I understand I will have trouble swallowing for weeks or months but will that be due to pain or swelling in my neck? If you are home resting in a recliner and watching tv, can you take off the front part of the collar as long as you aren't up and walking around? I am sure there are other questions I need to ask and my surgeon isn't very forthcoming with answers other than they will teach me in the hospital in the expected 2 nite stay. I'm afraid I won't remember details while on pain meds and I want to know beforehand how others with multi-level cervical fusions manage at home. Anything that did or didn't work to make you more comfy would be appreciated as I want to get my home prepared before I have the surgery. Thanks to all, Cindy
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I am having the same surgery on C5-6 & Dr. Shyam Shridharani is my dr. as well.(I'll find out on the 17th of Feb my surgery date) Can you please tell me what you think of him. If you will please email me personally I would appriciate it. ***@****  I would like as much info about your experience as you could share. What hospital was your surgery done? I am terrified about this surgery :(
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I was reading about surgery and after effects of the automatic blood pressure cuff on the nerves in arms - median, radial and ulnar nerve causing numbness, weakness, etc.  Sometime people are attributing the symptoms to the neck but it is caused by the damage to the nerve from the cuff.
google it - found it interesting.
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Had C5-C7 fused one week ago, with plates a bone graft from cadaver. No collar required, no stated restrictions on lifting anything (he stated the strongest part of my body is now where the plates are screwed in). One week after surgery back to work, stopped all pain meds three days after surgery. Minor throat problems (swallowing), but have lost 10 pounds due to liquid diet (this is a good thing). Overall, most numbness gone. I have two other discs severely herniated, but no symptoms. The two he replaced were nearly non existent from damage. Hopefully no further surgery for a few years... The surgery is not bad at all.
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I had c5&6 fused back in 2009 i felt great for a while but now in 2012 my original  symptoms are back im a side and stomach sleeper dose any one know the recommended position to sleep in after three years im in pain when i sleep and when i wake up i feel like i was beat with a bat in my neck and shoulder region should i sleep sitting up or with a neck pillow im in need of some good advise
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that's a wonderful post.  Thank you!  I'm considering having C4-C7 fusion and it's so good to hear the positive outcomes!
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My medical aid refuses to pay for Disc Replacement.  So now I have to have fusion from C4 - C7. Am really worried about my mobility.  How much will I be able to move my neck?
Please can someone let me know.
Thanks and good luck to all of you.
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I'm a 61 year old man and I had a 4 level ACDF about 2 months ago, with cadaver bone implants and a titanium plate.  I'd had mutlitple bone spurs, stenosis, herniated discs and DDD, due to age and a trauma about 20 years ago (a tree fell on me).  Surgery was about 4 1/2 hours, and they kept me in the hospital overnight, just for observation because of the multiple levels.  I wore a hard collar home, but was told that I could take it off when I was just sitting around in a recliner.  I was suppose to wear it for a couple of weeks whenever I walked (which I did a lot of, since there was nothing else I was really allowed to do), and had, and still have a 10 pound lifting limit.  I missed about 6 weeks of work because of the demands of my job, but honestly, the most painful thing I do now is sitting and looking at a computer monitor.  Side-to-side neck movement is about 75% and up and down movement is about 25%.  It's looking like I just have to learn to live with the loss of looking up!  The pain in my arms is much reduced, although in the past couple of weeks it's come back some, due to inflammation.  I need to learn to not push things, to be more patient with my recovery.  Things are looking good, and I am very optimistic.  I just want to feel better now!  
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I'm a 30yo female about to do ACDF with C4-5 and C5-6.  I don't have the normal symptoms (no numbness or pain radiating down my arms) but do have severe neck and upper back mucsle and joint pain.  I have seen many many docs and done so many different treatments.  This is the first one with the promise of 70%+ relief.  
I'm nervous about the restrictions after the surgery.  I live on my own with few close friends.  My mom is coming to help the first week but after that i will need to drive, go to work, walk the dog, go up and down stairs (i live on the second floor).  Is this fesable?  I forgot to ask the doc and plan to but talking to folk who have been there would be helpful too.  Any info would be helpful.  I currently work at a desk job - working at a computer all day.
Thanks for all the information and good luck and God bless to all those out there dealing with pain on a daily basis.  
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I'm having a lot of the same problems you are since a C5-7 fusion.  Please email me, everyone is telling me there's nothing wrong, but I know there is!  ***@****
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I had an anterior two level cervical fusion c5-c7 a week ago.  I was doing very well and now I'm having lots of shoulder and upper back muscle spasms.  My surgeon said this would happen.  Has anyone else had spasms after surgey?
I'm worried they won't go away.  
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I am 67 years old. I just had fusion of c4,5, and 6. My only trouble has been the nerves in my right thumb and right palm..Bad pain with needles.I have been on pain pills for 12 days, Yesterday, I saw an orthopedic surgeon. He could not tell me if it was the IV or the fusion. The IV pain was immense for 28 hours in the hospital. They would not remove it from my hand. The orthopedic surgeon ordered occupational therapy. Please let me know if anyone had this problem....I go back to see neurological surgeon on Nov. 27th.
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No muscle problems. Mine was done on Nov. 5. Take care.
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Excited to read your post..Had surgery Nov. 5th. Take care...
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Do you still have pain? Take care...
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I may need a C3-C4 fusion some day.   Did you ever get an answer to your question about a non-fusion solution?  
Please reply to:  ***@****
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Please don't post contact info in the Forums.  You can contact other members using our private message function if you'd like to exchange info.
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Sorry, I didn't know...  :)
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I had horrible neck and back spasms before my 3 level fusion in 2007, but the surgery did cure that problem.  I was 46 at the time of surgery.  The surgeon said I was the youngest he had ever performed a 3 level fusion on, and that to date he had not had any one live more than 10 years after surgery, due to their age, not the surgery, so he was going to follow my progress.  Today, at 51 I am on prescription pain meds that are almost the same dosage as before surgery.  I don't have the horrible spasms I used to, but I do suffer from chronic, progressive pain.  I also have numbness creeping into my right hand.  Arthritis is joining in now.  Due to the way I must move my head, I am now having new problems.  I hurt, and I wonder, "Now what?"  
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I have had 4 levels done (2009) w/bone spurs.  Can't say after this 2nd surgery that it has been a walk in the park.  2 years post op I am having many issues with arthritis and the plating.  I wonder about the bone donated from the bone bank.  Does anyone wonder about the dna which comes with this bone?  I wonder if anyone out there knows anything about this issue?  If so, please write and let me know.  I have begun to worry about this as I have developed vasculitis since my surgery.  Info of any kind is great.  I had complex issues in my throat prior to the 2 cervical surgeries from a car wreck many years ago.  My left larynx was paralyzed.  Help with info????
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I had 4 level fusion done 2 weeks ago.  I was in the hospital the night of surgery, plus 1 more night.  The ride home was no picnic, and I was wobbly for the 1st week home.  I now have recovered amazingly well, and have no pain other than when I tend to sit at my computer for too long of a period.  I have a bone growth stimulator that I use every day. I had a surgeon with 30 years experience.  I do, however, have my incision lenthwise vs across because my neurosurgeon said she did it the way she felt was best for access to all discs.  My neck was crooked before surgery, and it appears straighter now from the front, however, the fusion seems to bow in instead of being straight due to the curvature of my neck and appearance wise, I seem to have a hump on my back, which I am not satisfied with.  I am hoping this will resolve with healing, but doubtful.  I still cannot tolerate heavy meals, or taking large pills.  They said it could take up to a month or more for this to resolve.  Also, I am slurring my words due to a swollen tongue.  This too, they said, shall pass. Very annoying over the holidays to not be able to hold a conversation.  Appearance wise, so far, I am not pleased, pain wise, and range of motion, all is doing great, and I am very pleased with that part.  I am sleeping in bed at this time with no problems.  Again, it is very early in my recovery to be judging, so will post an update at a later time.
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don't know if you ever resolved your pillow and sleep problem but here is what works for me;
I am currently waiting fusion of C4-5-6-7 and found a candy cane shaped pillow that has a small indentation for your ear;   seep on my side and have a thin pillow between my legs;  it helps
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I am one week post cervical spinal surgery of c 6-7.  Immediately felt great. Doctor said to expect numbness I'd felt in my hands for possibly several more months. A the numbness is still there. Immediately though, the original, arm-shooting pain and right shoulderblade pain are gone. Now, today, five days out, I'm experiencing a gnawing pain in my ledt shoulderblade .... Never had pain there before and it's strikingly similar to pain I was having on my right side.

Has anybody experienced something like this before?
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Hi, I've just had same op, 6th Feb (cage fusion). I had (last 10 months) swollen area base of neck which hasn't subsided (yet) and continue to get a fair amount of shooting pains down from top of Neck through it. None of the specialists can advise what it is! I'm hoping its all very early days and will resolve. I've no collar and signed off  for 6 weeks with no driving or physio.
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I had the fusion done on levels 5-6 and 6-7, two levels on 2 11 13. I am a healthy 40 yr male, don't smoke and work in an administrative type role (no heavy lifting). I was very worried about the surgery, as with most. If it helps some, I am more than willing to give any input you need to relax what you can mentally. I have a lengthy background with donor bone at work, and with BMP (Bone morph protein). First be careful and ask a lot of questions, BMP is not approved for Cervical Spine surgery. It has been shown to cause significant swelling, including death. There are lesser dangers with certain BMPs. My doctor is one of the best in the world, Cardinal's fly in from Rome and world-wide to have his teams operate. He does famous people and sports players. I wanted to set the stage for what a world class doc does with 45 years of experience. He doesn't use bone from your hip. He says this causes severe danger or more pain to the patient. Be careful and discuss that with your doc. He uses the bone scraped from your vertebrae and then mixes it with the BMP product from Stryker or Medtronics. He then uses a little ground or pre-formed bone from a cadaver. Don't fool yourself, some people have psychological issues with this; make sure you're mentally ok with taking organ-bone-tissue from a donor. It is sterile and was taken in good faith from someone who wanted to help others after they passed. I consider it an honor to that individual’s family and a gift from Gd to me to have it.

The day of surgery, listen to the docs and take a stool softener before surgery. You will be knocked out for 1.5hrs per level on average. Keep in mind; hour prep into surgery to cut and get you ready, then a couple hours after in recover. My two level surgery was 7 total hours out. They use a cathedar, stings worse than anything to do with surgery afterwards IMO. They kept me overnight to infuse more antibiotics and watch me. You should always stay the night IMO. Swelling, infection, getting enough oxygen into your lungs are all issues to be prepared for.

The after surgery, on PCA, for pain, feeling groggy, some movement, but little. The pain is better, but the throat pain is horrid, between the breathing tube and the moving of your trachea and esophagus, it just plain hurts. Good news is that it does go away fast. If it doesn't go away, your doc may have done a poor job during surgery. I have seen a lot of suits online for these throat issues when making sure my doc didn't have legal complaints. (This is another thing pre-surgery, check your doc’s history, and look at his or her local county court in civil cases online to see if they have a lot). I was only drinking my first and second day, could not eat food. A lot of great posts here how to handle that.

At home, still groggy from being knocked out for 7 hours a couple days ago. Caffeine is ok, if you drink a lot be careful, it significantly increases my spasms and tightness in neck. I have had TMJ; it is heavily aggravated due to holding mouth wide open for 5-7 hours of surgery. The incision hurts bad, feels like it's tearing everywhere I move, but it's not. The range of motion is very little; most of it is psychological not to hurt the injury. Fact of the matter is that you cannot hurt your surgical site in any dire way, other than ripping open stitches or stressing tight muscles. The doc was right, he said I could fall off an 8 story bldg and everything would break except his fusion. Keep in mind that your muscles do a lot of the work when turning or pushing it, this is where the core aggravation comes from.

I started with some numbness in arms, tingling and severe pain in the cross-section of my back. Post-surgery, this is ALL gone. The only pain I have is surgical pain and throat pain. Always keep liquids around when swallowing, food will get caught in your throat. I have a little numbness in limbs and weakness, but this is normal after inflammation of muscles and pushing on nerves. It will take a while to go away.

Almost a week post-surgery, I wear the collar 50% of the day. Have been out the first time yesterday, very tired after even a couple hours. My pain is significantly reduced; throat is much better, however, still hurts. I am sleeping on the recliner. You will have trouble in a bed. My doc said DO NOT SLEEP WITH COLLAR IN BED. If you use a pillow, your neck will be too elevated and stress the muscles. I have traction pillows with a divot in the middle. There are lots of great suggestions on here on how to handle that. For most two level patients with fusion, collars are just a placeholder to help you. The fusion is titanium plated into your vertebrae. The collar helps your heavy or tired head stay focused. You will find that you can do without it time to time. I was able to do large steps the first day out of hospital with no help. I am walking all over the house like the doc said to do, almost a half mile in my home daily, will wear down carpet soon.

Some docs say no vitamin E after surgery; mine said to take one daily to help with blood flow and tissue repair. E is deemed safe by most docs unless you already have thin blood. It's not technically a blood thinner, but may act as one. I am taking C and B en masse daily, too.

I start work FT administratively tomorrow, yes, 6 days after surgery recover day in hospital. I will be tired, but that is ok. The best medicine is getting back out there and moving. Sitting will be the worst thing on earth to do for you. Pre-surgery pain was a 10, literally for three years on serious pain meds and treatments, otherwise wouldn't have had surgery. Post-surgery in first few days, pain was a 7-9. Going into days 5-6 I am around 4-6 pain level and weaning off oxycontin.

I have dressing off scar off of yesterday and it looks good. There really is no scar, a small bump where the incision was. Your docs should be using durabond or some form of the superglue in the hospital to help your scar be minimal.

ROM, or range of motion is about a 1/3 of normal today, one week in. I get a little more each day. Doc said I should be around 2/3 next week and driving/doing normal things again that early. For all of the nightmare stories, I encourage you to watch your doc closely, Google the heck of them and pay the $50 to do a background if necessary. Look at their history. Doctor rankings in any file are biased, don't trust those. Injunctions, suits, and complaints online all sum it up. The right doctor will put you in great comfort and have you recovered fast. I was near paralyzed with pain a little more than a week ago and now have less than half that pain.

Apologies for spelling and grammar issues, way too early, however, wanted to be able to help those that are nervous or had questions. Thanks to all of the other valued posts here that helped me.

Feel free to message me if I can help, or elaborate on something missed. I wish every pre and post-surgery the best.
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I guess I can join in I had a two level on February 4th 2013, I can agree with almost all of the comments Mindscaperussia posted.  I woke from a two hour surgery and all of the pain in my right shoulder, arm hand, etc was gone.  only a slight numbness in my finger tips remain.  I had the artificail bone graphs with a plate and screws I have to say I am TIRED of the hard collar.  Doc says another two weeks and Xray time then if all is good a soft collar oh boy!  Throat being nsore yes liquids for twoo days yes still having problems with large bites of food but if I watch how big I cut my food its all good.  Downside, Still not sleeping in bed due to hard collar not pain!  Still n ot driving again due to hard collar.  Doc says driving is fine, but I am not a kamakazee!  Some pain occasionally from the surgery and I also had some left shoulder blade pain, but only sporadically.  What is really strange is the top of my head feels weird like tingly but it hurts, and even taking a shower the water hitting the top and back of head is painful...  other than that its all good and I would do again if I had too!
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Had my surgery on 2-11-13. C5-6 and C6-7 replaced and fused. Off of pain meds after 4 day. Occasional Tylenol. Saw Dr. 3 days ago. released me to work but chose to stay off one more week. Wore brace for 10 full days. Then slept w/o it after. Dr. fine with that. Had surgery mainly due to pain in neck going up my head. But, after surgery I did not wake up with hands numb and deformed in morning...that's a plus. Difficulty now is the new pains I have developed. Don't know if I am too tense or what. Perhaps sleeping a bit "deeper" is causing that. Had bad headache for a couple of days. Probably from the tongs they screwed into my head behind ears. Very sore for a while. Seem to get around fine. Allowed to drive now also. Hard to swallow. Have a hematoma near incision area which was told it could possibly be absorbed by my own body. Makes my neck tight. Numbness and soreness from chin down. Dr. said it could last 6 months or more. Incision looking better every day. Mostly concerned about pain and stiffness still in neck and going down back. Weak but hopefully once I get back in the routine of daily job I will get better.
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To all of you preparing for ACDF, be aware that Thrush is possible due to the antibiotics you will be given during and after the surgery.  
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Tues, March 13, 2013
I had C4-6 Ant Cervical Discetomy and fusion w/PEEK Interbody and Anterior Plate - on Jan 13,2013

I''m 67 yrs old -plagued by back and neck problems for years but it's gotten down to the point of interfering with my life and unbearable pain. so, my neurosurgeon said, It's time.  But, have to do neck before back.  I really feel for all you folks still working.  I had the good fortune to retire early, lived my dream of going sailing for 14 years and now this is what I get to do. No whining allowed.  So, I had the cervical fusion - in early one morning and out the next afternoon. Great doc and his PA - can't say enough good about them - from Tucson Orthopedic Center.  However, most of the post op instructions were a bit skimpy - mostly, I think, because I'm a retired nurse practitioner. so, afew things for those getting ready for the surgery or just having had it - there are many variations of doctor prefereances regarding THE COLLAR - my doc wanted me in a soft collar 224/7 the first 3 week,  then only for sleep until I see him on 4/10. No lifting my hands over hand, no lifting heavier than gallon of milk (actually, i think that's a little much) limited bending, no driving first three weeks and then none until off narcotics (which will be a long time cuz of back), and that was about it - oh, don't get incision wet for first three weeks - use waterproof dressings.   So other things I learned - don't use the airthritis meds, no steriods,  for the swallowing pills - there;s this great stuff called "Pill Glide" - available at Walgreens or other such pharmacies - works great especially for Potassium Tablets.   I also prepared a "wound care" tray before I came home from the hospital - had sterile 4x4's, alcohol sponges, sissors, tape,disposable gloves, waterproof dressings for the shower all there so I didn't have to round it up later.  Well stocked fridge - yogurt, applesauce, puddings, etc. but even with the sore throat, as long as I took small bites of well steamed veggies, chewed well, swallowed and followed up with cold liquid - staws needed even now - no problem. Will say, swallowing still remains a bit of a problem.  Also, at first, in the first few days, easily provoked coughing spells - cepacol lozenges worked great. ice pack - not the frozen pea but real ice pack helpful - not only at the incision site but also across the low shoulders - something to do with the positioning during surgery.  So, post op - I had immediate relief from the pain in hands and neck pre op - magic.  unfortunately, the back has gotten much worse since I can not do my regular exercises although progressing towards that. Walking as much as possible, but again - the back pain. so, once I am healed from the neck fusion - doc estimates 2-3 months - wait a little bit as my husband and I want a brief vaca - then the big one - 6-7 hr surgery and the doc is going to, as he say, build me a new back.  I believe him.  I have scolosis/kyphosis and all the uglies that go with along with them.  that recovery will be a grueling 12-15 months ..a few prayers please.
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Had C5-C6 and C6-C7 discectomy with fusion, plates, and screws on March 8, 2013. When the surgery was scheduled, I told doc I had a flight from DFW to DCA (Reagan Airport) scheduled on March 18, with a return flight on March 22. He said that should be no problem. I would not be driving, just taking cabs from airport to hotel, and walking from hotel to office (about five blocks).

While my biggest concern is lifting the suitcase, I've been reading that one shouldn't ride in the back of a car (which is where cabbies put you), or sleeping on your back (no recliners in the hotel, and I am a stomach sleeper when in a bed) for several weeks.

Also, he set me up with home PT, but the therapist said I have to be considered home-bound for insurance to cover. In other words, if I fly to DC, I will lose the PT.

What is your experience?
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Anyone have their chin down to the base of their neck stay numb for weeks? Still having stiffness and pain in neck. No change after surgery,,,in fact more pain!
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It is probably a muscle spasm. I had my surgery on March 22, C6-7 and about six days later I had bad muscle spasms in my neck and shoulders along the trigger points. I think it came from not using my hands enough to get up. I was pulling too much from my upper body. I am in a hard collar and it is difficult to get used to moving in. I am taking muscle relaxers to help. I read not to take NSAIDS because it may inhibit the bone fusion. Just use your hands to push yourself up.
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How are you feeling now?  Are all of you pre-surgery symptoms gone?
Do you have a horizontal or vertical scar?  I am to have this done and really would appreciate some info--thanks!
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Yes, mine is still numb...feels very odd when shaving! I asked my doc about that at my 4-week checkup yesterday. He said that's perfectly normal, some folks have feeling return after a few weeks, some can take up to six months. He said when they make the incision, there are literally hundreds of nerve endings that are affected, and they take time to heal.

Here's hoping for sooner rather than later!
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I am day 4 post op for a one level, c5-c6 fusion. I am a professor, and have put this surgery off for a while given my back to back schedule, using cortisone injections to help get me through. When I began having reactions to the cortisone, I decided for surgery. I built up my fitness, bought soft foods, a recliner, and expected the worst. I planned for three weeks off work. On day 4, post op, I am not on narcotics, just a bit a valium for the cramping in the neck, and bored to death. I want to go back to work. I am not sleeping because of the collar, not because of the pain!! And, because I am not working. Everyone tolerates this surgery differently, but I didn't expect such a good outcome. By the way, I too, was given four days of decadron to reduce surgical swelling. I think that was a remarkable help.
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I have spinal cord compression at c5-6 and c6-7. I have had severe pain below shoulder blade (scapula), in between shoulder blades, upper back and shoulder pain. NS wants to fuse them and tie into old fusion done 20 yrs. ago. This will mean my whole neck will be fused. Most people I have read about talk alot about arm symptoms, I have some underarm ache and weak feelings and a few issues with thumb and index finger but my main PAIN is the back stuff.Has anyone else had these pain's in the back???? I am so confused, one NS said it could be coming from the cervical another would not answer. I am sceduled for surgery on the 28th and would like to know if this pain is related. Also might add some numb feelings down side of legs. And a feeling in my leg's like they are weak and feel fatigued. Anyone had this for cervical? NO lumbar problems on MRI.
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You said they only lived 10 years after surgery, how old were they?  You really should not say anything unless you know what the doctor meant!  Is he a quack?
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I had a Cervical Fusion from C3 to C7 back in 11/30/2010 with a wonderful surgeon(Dr. Hermenau Desert Spine Institute in Yuma) .. It's been about almost 3 years now and I have minor discomfort.. even though I am not supposed to be using pillows I still do but not too high of a rise. After the surgery I had a neck brace and had to use a walker for about 3 months tops.. then from there I just had to make sure not to "look up" that much where it tilted my neck... even until this day.Currently I am taking EMG tests because afterwards they have diagnosed me with Cervical Myelopathy and I get occasional muscle spasms and nerves reflex(ex. can not control my toe continuously going up unless I hold it down, etc.) . I occasionally lose my balance when walking but not too often(maybe once a month or so..) but not to the point where I am falling. I can still climb 4 flights of stairs good... I have still been blessed since at some point I was in a wheel chair for a few days being quadriplegic before the surgery. So please don't wait too long before talking to a doctor like I did.. I am happy that I can walk but it's been a challenge to live everyday knowing I still have nerve damage and living with a titanium bar/plate in my neck with a scar.  But hey.. I can give piggy back rides to children (that weigh approx. less then 50 pounds) without any problems.
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hi all, I had cervical surgery on june 17, wore neck brace for 6 weeks. I forget which c levels were done but had 2 fusions, bone removed and rods/screws/basket installed. this was needed due to spinal impingement from a disc. surgery went well, 2 days at the hospital. was hard to swallow but is getting better. burning in arms went away until I started p.t. dr said to stop p.t. for now as my body may not be ready for it. I still have partial hand numbness, which I had before surgery. i feel pretty good throughout the day and even cut back on pain meds. my biggest problem is mornings. im out of the soft brace and wake up with sore neck. I tried combinations of brace/no brace/pillow/no pillow, so far none has helped. think I will try sleeping upright, sounds like fun but will see how I feel in the am. no stitches, glue was used and is healing up nice, I did try therapy and traction/decomp  via chiropractic prior to surgery with no progress. had a great dr and good hospital experience. good luck to all.
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I had surgery one week ago.  Double fusion in my neck.  It's amazing how great I feel.  I'm not wearing collar only when riding in car.  All the pain and numbness in left arm is completely gone.  I actually walked 40 minutes this morning.  I do get great relief from ice packs and heating pad through out the day.  I find laying on back with tempropeadic pillow at night works great for me.  I'm sore in the morning and have trouble swallowing meds but all else is great.  I had a great surgeon, he did spinal fusion surgery in 2011 on me as well.  That was a great success too.  Hope u continue to recover.

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hello,i been a heavy construction laborer all my life, and in one day( shoveling snow of all things) my life changed ...  I had a acdf on my c5 c6 c6 c7 on 7-25-13 in Pgh. Pa. and being 98 days or 14 weeks or 3.5 months out of surgery.... I can say this,  my spine hurts where the disc are trying to fuse...  still hurts deep ach,  I had a x-ray at 12 weeks and it showed a area where the graft still has not fused together , my doctor tells me to rest and no work till 1-15-14(6 months), then if no improvement we will see about a ct scan and go from there, he has me on meloxocam, not working yet. I have muscle spasms bad in my neck, shoulders,,,still have some nerve pain down my arm in to my hand and fingers, I sleep on the couch than in bed( better sleep than bed).. I heat up, stretch, walk 2 miles a day,ice down. did therapy (can only do so much there) .... I still have a saying that is burned in to my head,,, one lady said... REST AND PATIENCE...... I  have 2.5 more months till my next. appointment,.. they say( everybody on the web that is)  It will take at least a year to fill better... we will see..
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4 weeks post op today, ACDF C5-6 and C6-7. My pre op pain in my scapula and down my left arm is gone, a miracle! But here are some of the experiences I've had. VERY difficult to swallow even ice chips the first 48 hours after surgery, and at least 2 weeks of soft food and chewing a lot. Still have the sensation of something in my throat but less awareness as time goes by.
MUCH tiredness and almost non stop sleep the first week, may have been due to pain meds. I stopped most all a few days ago, but couldn't stand it so back on. My surgeon is great but skimpy on words, so I've had to read and figure out what works for comfort and safety. I was in a hard collar 24/7 for 2 weeks and a soft collar for 2 weeks. Today I took it off and have been trying to keep it off, but the back of my neck is aching like the dickens, so I may put it on for a few hours. Sleeping is an issue, I woke up in agony last night, must have slept funny, and not sure HOW to sleep now that collars are off!?! I see my surgeon next week, and intend to get answers.
Cant work, desk job with computer 8 hours a day and just too much with the bent neck!
All in all, best decision, the pre op pain was FAR worse and non stop so I'm happy I had the surgery. Good Luck!
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C-7 T-1 Fusion on 5-12-14 at 11am was up and walking at 5 am next morning.  Went home next day at 1pm my surgery was done from my back not through my throat.  6" incision from C-ys7 down center of spine.  Had to remove large Cyst starting at C-7 behind disk.  Removed C-7 disk and fused with 2 screws.  No neck collar just pain pills, getting along very well, hard getting out of bed and off couch.  It was 1 week tell I took my first short drive to grocery store.  This set off the pain spent the rest of day in bed but other then that it has went better then expected.  Thats my story good luck to all.
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Excellent Post - needed the specifics.  Hope you are enjoying a new back and new lease on life.
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10476843 tn?1410418826
I had a 3 level ACDF w/fusion C 4-5, 5-6, 6-,7, 6 wks ago and was in hospital overnight then went home. I was told to prop up pillows or get a 30° wedge at a foam shop and used it for 2 wks as instructed. I'm so tired of wearing the hard coller day and night. Its been in the 80's in the SF north bay, CA and I've had to add Band-Aids to where it rubs causing a rash. That has helped. I also had Posterior invision where they added support wedges that will fuse as bone. I have a bone growth stimulater that I wear around my neck for 4 hrs a day while watching TV in the evenings. Tablet & smart phones mess with the signals so don't use them while it is around your neck. I had xrays 2 wks post op but I don't have a f/u appointment with the OS or PT so I'll f/u with their office to see what to do next. No driving yet since I'm still in the hard cooler. I'm off all narcotics but I do take 3000 mg Tylonol for pain. No Advil as it slows bone growth and healing. I can't drive until hard collar off and I can turn my head due to blind spots. The Anterior portion was not painful at all but the two 1 1/2" Posterior incisions have been painful since first night where they cut into muscle and lasted for a month. I had my husband and adult daughter here to help me as I couldn't do much of anything while I was doped up with Norco and Flexeral. I'm feeling much better but its hard for me to walk due to PN/CMT and which I take generics for Neurontin and Cymbalta to control nerve pain. The surgery was uneventful and pain free on the anterior side. The posterior portion took 4 wks. There is no way I could return to my job before 6-8 weeks post op. I'm using short term disability currently. I was needlessly very nervous pre op
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Hello Kate,
I just had this same surgery! Sleeping in a recliner or with a wedge pillow is very helpful. Eating afterwards well, start with icecream or ice chips and move to yogurts, and jello. It will take a while for it to feel normal, but don't panic it is normal to feel strange. I think the best advice I have been given is to take walks daily. It clears your head, improves your mood and helps regain your endurance. I am up to a mile and a half at 3 weeks post op. I started out slowly and worked up. Listen to your body, if it needs sleep then sleep as much as it wants! Give yourself permission to sleep and rest it will help you to heal more quickly. I hope this helps good luck!
Laura
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had lower ones done 20 yrs ago now ones above it are pretty bad they shifed and pressing on spinal canal etc...dont quite remember how long it took ..my husband helped me so much but since than he passed ...so I am kind of alone thanks for post
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I had C4-5/5-6 done 30 years ago now I am going to have C3-4 and C 6-7 done out of grave necessity at the C3-4 level. The first surgery was a cake walk but I was in my late 20's. Now in my early 60's I am a little more concerned. I have enjoyed reading all of the posts, and this takes away some of the fear of the unknown. I will keep using this site to guide and help others.
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I had C4-5/5-6 done 30 years ago now I am going to have C3-4 and C 6-7 done out of grave necessity at the C3-4 level. The first surgery was a cake walk but I was in my late 20's. Now in my early 60's I am a little more concerned. I have enjoyed reading all of the posts, and this takes away some of the fear of the unknown. I will keep using this site to guide and help others.
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You sound like you know what your talking about I'm almost in week two of my c5 c6 fusion did you use the cervical  stim by the way? I'm sleeping in a recliner but my neck feels swollen but don't look swollen guess it's just me I worry to much when can I wash my hair
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I haven't found it that difficult. I had c4-5,c5-6 and c6-7 discectomy with fusion on 3/29. Hardest part is eating and resting. No pain meds since 3 days after surgery. Only wear collar if I'm riding in the car or out in public. Not so tired all the time now. Doing small things around house, dishes, sweeping, and sorting laundry. Voted out of my mind not doing more. Only 2.5 weeks out but hoping I can drive next week. Get cozy with Netflix.....try to indulge a little.
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