Hi all I have just had a ACDF spinal fusion procedure some 9 days ago........
My surgeon said 6 weeks before I can drive again and do any light lifting and a futher 12 weeks before I can head back to the gym pending X rays and healing and a visit to see him for consult.
He was so right lifting a basket of shopping at the local Tesco is hard work and takes it toll.
But Firstly, my surgery, initially there is a huge amount of shoulder upper back pain between your shoulder blades, in the Trapizius and Romboid muscles.
I'm an ex Royal army medic and have had surgery and treated patients for injuries in the battlefield and have had injury and other surgery's including pins plates and carpal tunnel and knee surgery. This was by far the most painful.
The pain after surgery was immense in the above area's so much so I slept for maybe 1 hr in the 24 after the op the muscles were in spasm and i struggled.
The surgery itself was uneventful my nursing care in Cardiff UHW was execellent pain control was a challenge. Oramoph did not work and tramodol just took the edge of it! You need something to control the muscle pain not the surgical pain.
I was to have a PCA so I could control my own pain but this was not done by the anaesthatist did not do this or it was forgotten about? So much a lot of morphine was given to me in the recovery ward before going back to the main Neuro ward all in all x5 lots of 2mg IV morphine.
I was seriously wondering if I had done the right thing at this point Till I realised I could feel my fingers again in my right hand ;-) so one great result in this area.
Anyway lucky for me my partner Karen is a physiotherapist ,as soon as we got home she carried out trigger point therapy and applied heat packs before and after. The pain relief was immediate from this and the heat packs. I slept solidly for 3 hours and woke up feeling much better.
The journey home , well every pothole had me in agony again pain between my shoulder blades
She then Karen has worked on my upper back between my shoulder muscles every day trigger point and heat packs its improving and I am now sleeping some 3-5 hours.
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT FOR YOUR RECOVERY AND PAIN CONTROL!!! ASK THE PHYSIO'S AND INSIST ON TRIGGER POINT FOR HELP WITH THIS!
The hospital physio's were not interested when I approached them and did nothing apart from a stair test and exercise booklet . What is the point off them if they cannot help when asked??? I wonder....
I have been back to have my clips removed today and again the nursing staff were amazing and the ward sister was genuinely interested in what we found worked to help with the huge amounts of pain post surgery.
But I know that this will be a few months till full recovery. I just want to thank the following nurses Jacky in recovery staff nurses on the ward "Adrian, Anharad, lisa, Mandy, Aiesha and a few others. The anaesethist well better try next time and the physio team show more concern when a patient complains of " agony" rather than " we dont do anything for ACDF" ....
Good luck to anyone having this op.
Dave. South wales UK.