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6 Months Post-Op ACDF/ADR

Started by Gigi0428 on 03/09/2018 1:27pm

Hi Everyone. For the past 13 years I have suffered from regular neck and arm pain. After tons of tests and specialists and conservative treatments I finally had surgery. On 09/05/17 I had 1 level ACDF and 2 level ADR. I was excited for the prospect to get my quality of life back. Now 6 months post op I have very mixed feelings. Ultimately I know the surgery was necessary to avoid spinal cord damage and paralysis. However, I am still left with unending throbbing pain and weakness in my neck , shoulder and arm. Sleeping is still difficult and my over all quality of life at only 38 y/o is not very good. The Nuerosurgeon says that the surgery was a success and that fusion is going as planned and that the arthoplasty looks good. He suggests that nerve damage is slow to heal. In 6 months I am seeing no change in pain reduction. To add insult to injury I am also facing a bulging disc at l5/s1 with an annular tear. All these issues are only explained by poor genetics- no accidents or sports played a part in this. I have tried to come off gabapentin as it has caused me to gain weight over the several years I have used it. I was hoping that weight loss would help alleviate the ache in my lower back. I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. Excercise even walking is difficult as it causes my lower back to give out or my upper body to ache extensively for days. I guess my question is did anyone see any significant improvement more than 6 months past acdf?

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2 Responses


Hi, Gigi0428, I had an ACDF on C5-C7 four years ago. I saw considerable improvement beyond 6 month’s post-op! I found that I still needed to be cautious about overdoing it and patient with my recovery. It REALLY does take a long time for nerves to heal! By 1 year, I was greatly improved and surprised about how far I had come since that horrible pain pre-op. Just think about how long you were in pain before surgery and how all those muscles and your esophagus were stressed by being pushed out of your surgeon’s way. Your body is still recovering and your fusion will likely be getting stronger for quite some time. So be kind to yourself and patient with your neck! Ice and/or heat can be your best friends about now. Best wishes for continued healing!!


Hi, Gigi0428--thank you for sharing your ACDF recovery with us. Recovering from spine surgery can be extremely difficult and discouraging, as it can take many months to feel any measurable difference. But the fact that your surgeon deems your surgery a success bodes well for your long-term outlook.

Our best advice is to follow your recovery instructions and don't push too much too early. While nerve pain does take longer to subside than muscle pain, for example, you shouldn't feel like you have to suffer in silence. If your pain level is unbearable or if you start developing new symptoms, you should call your surgeon.

We hope than in another few months, you will experience significant improvement in your symptoms and enjoy the quality of life you deserve. Keep us posted on how you're doing!