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I had surgery November 6th, 2006. It has been a few months and I am feeling more like getting active in the gym again. When can I safely expect to lift 15lb. dumbbells for my arm exercises again? Recently, I just started using 5lbs. on each arm at this time.

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I was reading earlier recovery experiences from surgerys performed june thru aug 2006 and do feel lucky.
I just had my surgery 1-29-07 after pt and injection and two months of conservative treatment. I went home the next day but had some swelling and returned for another overnight to get steroid treatment with immediate response. I am now 7days into recovery and by the way have been wearing the neck brace 24/7, as recommended by my surgeon. He says 24/7 for six weeks. then would not suggest any time frame for return to work. I am looking for people that have had succsessful complete recovery, seems few a useing this format.
My work requires me to drive 11 hours a day and do heavy lifting for three to six hours the day of delvery. I would like to be working by mid May if at all possibe. Benefits run out at that time but I guess health should come before eating. So far the first week has been excellent based on what I read from earlier posts. I walk every day and no lifting.
Sit supported and sleep supported again 24/7 with brace. All of my hand and arm pain are gone and I even had relief from low back pain I was experienceing possably from 30% cord compresion that I also had and was releived by the sugery. I have a habit of pushing to the limit and then have to back off a bit. Currently taking neurontion (500mg) about three times a day and hydroco 325mg x2 every 4hours as needed, I try to ease off from time to time and test the limit of the drugs to keep at the minimum level to keep a balance of activity and rest. This seem to work well for me
In the past I have had three L4 L5 surgerys from a car accident and the recovery time was years, I think because of recovery methods were quite a bit different in the 80s. Hope to share more as I recover. Please respond if you have had positive experience with a time line I might expect. Again I feel I made the right decision, and hope for a speedy recovery thanks to some great surgeons. :-D
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I underwent a 3-level ACDF (C4-7) in June 2006. I was diagnosed with disc degenerative disease in 1990, so I went 16 years before surgery was the only option. When I finally "blew" through the remaining discs, I was in excruciating pain with little or no movement without pain.

Over 7 months later, I still have problems, but it was expected at this point in recovery. My neurosurgeon said to expect at least 6 to 8 months before getting back to "normal." Most of my problems are with muscle spasms, primarily in the neck area, but spreading down between the shoulder blades. I'm pretty much off medication, but still need to take Darvocet/Soma about once or twice a week, depending on how much time I spend in front of my laptop.

Strength recovery has been slow - but steady. I was given one primary guideline to follow: "nothing stupid"!!! Rushing recovery can undo all the benefits of surgery, and possibly make things worse. At 3 to 4 months, you have to start gauing for yourself how far you can push yourself. Before that, I'd be very careful and not do too much.

Rather than increasing weight, I would do more reps. At 3 months, it's not worth the risk. Returning to a long work schedule with heavy lifting is truly scary to me, especially after 3-4 months. But then I had a 3-level fusion. With one level, it might be OK. It still sounds quick, though. Try to buy a little more time; it couldn't hurt!
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I'm anticipating an anterior cervical discectomy in a month or so, and am wondering how long a period of recover I should expect? I don't see my surgeon again until 4/2, but from what I was told before the last MRI, he is expecting to have to do surgery on C3-4 and C4-5. I am a paralegal and am just wondering what anyone's experience has been in getting back to a sit-down job?
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Hi all,

I had a anterior cervical fusion with discectomy on C4/C5 on 2/16/07. Today is one month since the surgery.

They used a titanium cage and titanium metal plate. They put me in a Philadelphia collar for 3 weeks. Last Friday, the switched me to a soft cervical collar and put me on a bone stimulator machine that I wear all day and night. It comes off for bath time.

I was a smoker up until the surgery. Was told that smoking inhibits bone fusion and I will do anything to come out of these braces and get my life back.

I am a homemaker who worked part time as a paralegal before the surgery. Since I am not allowed to drive while I have the brace on, I have not gone back to work. Once the brace comes off, (Hopefully in two more weeks) then I will try returning to my desk job.

The pain I had is gone. Just some dull aches in the middle of my shoulder blades but I am convinced that's due to the brace. I started physical therapy for the loss shoulder muscle. That's a slow process, but i have faith that I will regain my shoulder.

That's all my positive news for now. I'll post more as it happens.

Good luck everyone.
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I am new to the forum, but noticed not too many positive posts. I am 10 days post surgery for Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion (C5-6). I have a titanium plate/screws, and wear the rigid ASPEN collar 24/7.

I had 15 days of debilitating pain from a ruptured disc that was compressing my spinal cord more than 50%. The surgery was an emergency operation with not much time to process what was going on.

I am basically pain free. I have the usual pain between the shoulder blades that turns to a burning feeling when I've done too much. I have permanent loss of feeling in my left thumb, very hard to get used to. But on no meds except the occassional Tylenol.

I have been wearing the ASPEN color since before surgery and it is definately a pain to have on all the time. I was told I would have it for 4 weeks, this is week 2. I bought a soft collar at Walgreens for the shower, but otherwise it is the hard collar. When you think about the alternative of having the fusion not heal properly or screwing up something else, it isn't much to wear the stupid thing for 4 weeks.

I am lucky enought that my job allowed me to work from home, so I have been working on the computer since days 7 (post surgery) for 4 hours a day. That's it before I start getting uncomfortable. I will try to work my way up to 6 hours in the coming weeks. Typing is my only issue. My left hand doesn't seem to work properly...thank goodness for spell check.

I lay down a lot in the afternoons and try to take a nap. Like everyone else, sleeping isn't easy for me, but I do sleep pretty well considering. Waking up stiff and soar is the only problem, but a heating pad loosens everything up to start my day.

I am house bound until my follow-up next week. I get to sit outside in a chair while my kids swim in the pool, I take small walks around the house (only on the steady pavement) to check on my flowers and just be outside, and I sit on the front porch for a short time just for a change of scenery. It's hard not being able to leave the house or just take a quick ride to the store. Hopefully I will be able to be a passenger in a car after next week and be able to go for a walk outside around the block. For now I am still a "fall precaution".

Did everyone get physical therapy prescribed? My Neuro says I don't need it, that I am strong, but I am not. I did yoga 3 times a week for 6 months prior to surgery, that was stong. I would like some easy exercises to do to start building up my left arm. Anyone got a suggestion?

One thing that concerns me is when I feel my incision are, there is a hard lump behind it. Is that normal?

Good luck to you all, especially those not doing well after surgery. Be positive and have good spirits about recovery and it will happen.

:-D


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hi everyone

i had surgery on 7/22/08 and have gotten so much out of reading your posts.

can anyone update and tell me how they are now???

i am a third grade teacher, female, 49, and i go back to work 8/12 with lots of help because the first week is all set up and meetings and i cannot lift yet. 8/18 is when kids are back, and i am optimistic that my new third graders will be compassionate re my energy level (you'd be surprised at how sensitive little kids are when teachers are sick or ailing!)

so let me know how you all are doing now please? i feel lucky to have had a positive experience with the exception of right after surgery and the first week of post anesthesia weepies i feel so much better than i did before the surgery. and i don't look like i have the DTs anymore - arm and handshakes!

thanks again for your posts.

claudia
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hi, im a 40yr old female and four months post op. i had acdf on c4/5 on 9/8/08 and spent 2 days in the hospital. my dr. didnt put me in a collar, he said he wanted me to heal naturally. i've been experiencing terrible muscle spasms in my neck and shoulders, going into my chest and get headaches. like everyone else, sleeping is difficult for me . im on flexiril at least 3-4 times a week because of the pain. before the surgery, i couldn't turn my head left and right without pain. now, after the surgery, i have limited mobility going up and down. mr. doctor says this is all normal and that PT will help me regain my motion. despite the problems im having now, i feel much better than i did before the surgery.
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Hello,

It is great to read others experiences. I had a anterior cervical fusion on C4-5 on 12/15 and am wearing the hard collar as well in the car when riding and when moving about. I still am having tightness in my neck (like a pulling pain), however the numbness in my left two fingers (pinkie/ring finger) went away and most of the shoulder throbbing. I do computer work and am in managment, so I sit a lot at work. I am not to go back until my 6 week visit, but holding my head up at a desk/computer for more than 2 hours really hurts. I wish I had a boss that understood, but seems they are pushing me to come back. I am hard headed, but plan on listening this time. I have read too that a positive attitude aides much in healing and I am trying that, but along with all this I lost my Dad a month ago, so positive is tough...

Thanks again for your replys it really helps to hear from people going through the same things.
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Hello sherric,

Yes, you will find the hard collar to be your friend for the first few weeks. One thing to expect though is that when you come out of the collar, be prepared for the muscles in your neck to have relaxed and they will hurt for a while. You will have sharp pains that you will think are from the surgery and in fact they may be muscle spasms.

The thing you have going for you is that you had one level done. You should recover a little faster than multi-level surgery. But noe the less you have had a major surgery and will be sore for a while.

I am 10+ weeks post-op from C5-6-7 ACDF and am still healing. Good luck and ask any questions you may have. I will try to help where I can.

Rob
P.S. Sorry for your loss.
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I am a 37 YO female that just found out that I have at least one herniated disc in my neck (waiting for a clearer MRI). I am really thinking that from what I hear and the pain that I have been in for over a year that I should go with the surgery. What is the down side of not having the surgery? I do not wish to be on pain meds all the time and losing more strength and felling in my hands/arms??? Can you advise me which direction to go?>??
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Get the surgery I am a military member and had c-7 c-6 disc ectomy with fushion. I am still a little weak after 4 months but I am also still in the military and going to deploy again in two months. If you get fushion it isn't bad. I was only on pain pills for about a day after surgery before surgery I was eating them like candy and was constantly sleepy.
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iam having c-5 c-6 c-7 fusion on my neck. what is the recovery like right after surgery? eating, bathing, pain etc?
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Does anybody know anything about cervical disectomay and fusion(mine's at C4-5) wearing the aspen collar vs not wearing it/? I have a good friend in the DC area who had the exact same surgery as mine, same synptoms, etc. and she didn't have to the collar at all. She only used a soft cervical collar when riding in the c ar. Anybody ever hear of this? ?
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I had the same surgery Jan. 12, 2010, about 4 months into the healing and my neck is healing well. I live for physical therapy as they have taught me simple things that i know will make a difference for the rest of my life. I do not believe I was given the whole story prior to surgery. my first 5 or 6 days were a complete blackout for me, I remember nothing. i had not be left alone for a bout 2 weeks. after that I started to ween down on some meds. my complication were chronic depresion, menopause, and taking Chanix to quit smoking. I cried almost everyday. I am a doer and it"s hard not to do. This is not some thing that you can go thru alone at LEAST for a month. I feel much hope in recovery now the PT is twice a week. be kind and gentle with yourself and God bless
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