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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

6 Weeks Post Cervical Fusion - Pretty Good Range of Motion

Finally I've reached 6 weeks!  I am pleased to report that sometimes it seems like it never happened.  I gave up on the neck brace two days ago even though I was supposed to wear it through today.  Once I took it off to shower, it somehow never got put back on.  I am going in tomorrow for X-rays to check the status of the fusion (fingers and all other appendages crossed).  Based on how I'm feeling, I'm giving myself the all-clear. 

Sleep without the neck brace is MUCH better and I don't find myself waking up quite as often.  I chalk that up to being more comfortable out of the sweaty strangulator.  Having taken the brace off, I've been driving myself around a lot more and that has been primarily the way I've worked up to more range of motion.  I've been careful to take routes with stoplights to avoid having to crane my neck around corners.  From what I can tell without having tested the outer limits (because I'm chicken), I have pretty good movement of the neck.

Unscientific Range of Motion Assessment:  Almost Normal

Rotation - slightly limited: When I try to rotate (look left or right), it feels okay until I get to a little shy of my chin being at my shoulder.  At the outer limits, my neck feels just the slightest bit tight so I stop.

Extension - I have not attempted any extension (looking up, bending the neck back) but I have no trouble looking at the ceiling using mostly my head.

Flexion - I've flexed the neck quite a bit just doing normal activities.  I seem to be able to bend my head forward just about to the same extent as before the surgery.  I have no trouble bending down, putting on shoes, shaving my legs, etc.  It also feels a little tight when I get towards the outer limit but there is no pain. 

Side-bending - Not so much.  Really tight trying to bend my ear to my shoulder.  To be fair, I was limited in this before the herniation, i.e. when I was normal.  Still going  to give it a try to increase what I do have. 

I've had a few ominous-sounding neck cracks when I'm sleeping but they don't hurt.  That happened all the time before so I'm assuming its normal.  I've been back to work 2 days full time and it has been okay so far.  The best thing about how I'm doing now is sometimes I'm able to forget the injury, my limitations, etc. It has been a looooong time since I've not been distracted by constant pain, stiffness or aching. My scar healing seems to have plateaued, but I'm keeping at the sunscreen and am happy it is as flat as it is.  All that remains is the redness of the incision - I'll have to wait and see how my genetics handles it.


Blue Fairy Creations said...

I'm 6 months post op from a 2 level acdf and I would it again in a heartbeat. No one knows the kind of pain someone goes through before the surgery unless they've been there. Glad you're doing great!

R Palmer said...

Blue Fairy - Thanks - and great to hear you had a good outcome as well! I would have loved to hear more people having a good experience before going in which is partly why I started this blog. Stay well.

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Medical Details If You Must

Two-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion scheduled for May 29th. Herniated discs at C4-5 and C5-6 indenting the cord with significant kyphosis.

I am not a medical professional. The information contained in this blog is not intended to be nor is it medical advice. Nothing contained herein should be considered a substitute for consultation with a qualified health professional.