I am 3 months, 2 weeks post C5-C6 ACDF. I'm having a tough time with the muscle spasms too.
What's particularly frustrating for me is the conflicting information I received regarding recovery time prior to having surgery.
I think my doc was 'overly optomistic' and indicated I'd be on the shorter end of recovery (2-3 weeks). He didn't tell me that the neck pain and upper shoulder muscle spasms would be an issue. He doesn't understand why it's taking this long for those symptoms to resolve, yet my physical therapist says this is normal for the type of surgery I had.
I use heat and ice frequently to try to calm the spasms. Usually heat first thing in the morning and when I go to bed. I use ice over the area periodically throughout the day. I take tizanidine for a muscle relaxer at bedtime and still use oxycodone during severe episodes. I've been on the oxycodone longer than I would like but I can't tolerate the pain without out. From what I'm reading on the boards and also from what my P.T. says, it will be a good 6 months before I start to feel 'normal' again. The only symptom that the surgery took care of from the get go was my arm numbness and tingling.
At this point, I feel like I am not being taken seriously by my doctor when I tell him how bad the pain is. It seems like he's being skeptical or thinking I'm malingering but I'm not. This is all very real. The muscle tightness and spasms can be confirmed with physical examination.
Has anyone else here stayed in physical therapy beyond 8 weeks? Have any of you had difficulty with your P.T wanting to end treatment before you felt ready? That's another issue I'm having. My P.T. says his job is done. However, my pain has increased since stopping P.T. for the past two weeks. Also, my P.T made a big deal saying he was 'concerned' that the insurance company wouldn't pay for any more therapy after a certain number of weeks. I called the insurance company and found out everything is fine and I have plenty of sessions yet. But that wasn't good enough for the therapist. He went around me and called the doctor telling him we should stop therapy and the doc should put me on anti-inflammatory meds. I was like WTF??
That's B.S. I'm thinking of asking for a referral to a new therapist.
Originally Posted by frenchfri1003
Hi to all.
I am 4 1/2 months post-op at this time. I am pleased that once the day gets started and I have completed my exercises I have decent ROM to the left and down a bit more limited right and very limited up. My strength is still poor. Generally I use 2 lb weight at home to complete exercises. There is one that I use a 5 lb weight for. My son still carries the heavy groceries and the laundry basket. If I try to do either then I will suffer with neck pain, tightness, knots or tingling in my shoulder blade region and muscle spasms. When does this end? I want to be able to complete every day activities without worrying about how I will feel. As stupid as it sounds I want to be able to clean the bathroom thoroughly including scrubbing the tub and really washing my floors. Tired of the superficial cleaning. I would also like to be able to plant a vegetable garden and my flowers. I guess I am just feeling sorry for myself. I know others have it much worse than I do. I am also concerned about levels above and below the fusion. I know that everyone heals at different rates....
12/9/2010 ACDF C5-6 C6-7 with plate, screws,
BMP & bone fragment filled cages
2/14/2011 trying to go back to work as a teacher
2/17/2011 starting PT
wearing bone stimulator 4 hours a day
DDD, arthritis, herniated disks, pinched nerves
3 months saw a little bit of bone growth (YEAH)
4/15/2011 Home Tens Unit
Dealt with the pain and issues for more than 5 years
tried PT, chiropractic, acupuncture, cervical epidural shots and selective nerve root blocks prior to surgery