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  • Looseseal
    Participant
    Post count: 1

    Hello,

    I had an ACDF at C4-C5 nearly a week ago for severe bilateral neck and upper back pain. Imaging showed a severely arthritic disc. I woke up from surgery with no pain aside from a little soreness from the surgery. The improvement was dramatic. However, three days later, I had a momentary lapse in judgment and bent over, bending my spine, to pick something up off the floor. I felt a sharp pain in the back of my neck going down to the top of my back. I have been really feeling pain in that particular spot since then. It feels like the same pain I experienced before surgery (except that it is limited to that one spot). I’m worried that I ruined my recovery because I otherwise would have practically no pain. How likely is this pain to subside?

    Thank you.

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8455

    I assume that you had a fixation system associated with the ACDF fusion (either a plate or a graft with self retaining screws into the vertebral body). Generally, flexion (bending forward) is safe as this puts the graft into compression which is a stable position. Nonetheless, development of pain with that position could mean you “slightly” pulled on the fixation and disturbed the surgical site. This is why I have patients wear the cervical collar for the first week to “remind them” that they just underwent surgery.

    It would be a good move to go back to your surgeon and get a new X-ray to make sure the surgery is stable. It would be highly unlikely that there is any noticeable difference but helpful to know that there is no change in the architecture of the surgical site.

    Dr. Corenman

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