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Posted By : Elleb1 - 5/25/2017 4:06 PM
Had acdf on my c5-6-7 in February and i still have the lump in my throat. If I walk a block I start dry heaving has anyone experienced this and does it go away? I also can't turn my neck to the right and if I try to it does a popping noise and I end up with awful headaches. The doctor says I'm fine to return to work in a week but I don't feel ready I move a lot a work and constantly lifting. Anyone out there experience these issues that can help or am I just stuck like this

Posted By : Abilene - 5/25/2017 5:39 PM
Welcome Elleb1,
Several on this site have had a similar surgery, including me. You are not healed in 3 months. Maybe your incision is, but as you can tell your internal part is not back to normal. Have you been given any guidelines about how much to lift? Going back to work too soon is one of the biggest issues many of us face. Has your doctor said if he expects you to improve and if so, when? Have you had an x-ray that shows if any fusion has started. It takes closer to a year or more for fusion to be complete.

Do you have any options for work? Different job, more time off, ?? What kind of doctor did your surgery? Is it a Worker's Comp case? That's a lot of questions but it will help us understand better what you are dealing with.

You can search here for ACDF and read of others experiences. Also in the Chronic Pain 101 there are many helpful ideas. Most are meant for shortly after surgery but some may still apply to you. My own surgery was posterior so I did not have the throat issue you have, but others here are familiar with that. Perhaps they will join this discussion. My story has the same title as is listed in my signature.

Please stay around and let us know how you are doing. We care.
Posterior C3 - C7 laminectomy and fusion 2 rods and 10 screws, local bone graft from surgery site-lamina and other bony tissue 12/17/2013; Hyperthyroidism; Sleep Apnea;
Thankful for my husband of over 40 years

Posted By : straydog - 5/25/2017 7:47 PM
Hello Elleb & welcome to Healing Well. Abilene is right, you may look healed on the outside but inside you are still healing. It takes much longer than 3 months for you to be completely healed. Drs are not very good about understanding this with their patients. They tend to use their text book approach which is worthless to their patients.

Have you explained what your job involves with the lifting & the amounts involved? Perhaps you can get a job description from Human Resources & take a copy to the drs office & ask his nurse to get the dr to review it.

One of our mods here in this forum named WhiteBeard had cervical surgery & had horrible gagging issues afterwards. Hopefully he will pop on & see your post. He can give you a much better explanation than I. Have you had any xrays since surgery to check to see how your fusion is coming along? I am not sure about the popping & it causing headaches, what did the dr say?

Was it your primary care dr that referred you to the surgeon? If so, perhaps getting in to see your primary care like tomorrow & explain what is going on & what the dr is saying. Perhaps your dr can make a phone call on your behalf. Have you had any physical therapy?

Sorry for asking so many questions. Take care.
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Posted By : Elleb1 - 5/25/2017 7:59 PM
I have had two X-rays since one about a month out and another this week he said everything looked good. I asked if I was going to be off longer since I haven't had any PT and I explained to him I do a lot of repetative lifting bending twisting. It was a neurosurgeon that did my surgery. And the headaches they said from muscle spasms. I don't know how I am going to be able to do my job if I have the urge to puke when i do to much. And this was not a workers comp situation

Posted By : straydog - 5/25/2017 8:56 PM
Elleb, we have given you some suggestions that may or may not help you on the return to work thing. I do not understand why you were not sent to physical therapy. If you don't think your PCP can give any assistance, I guess all you can do it try to return to work. If you can't make at work go to your supervisor & say I can't do the work, its just too soon. My next call would be to the surgeons office telling them you tried & could not do it, its simply too soon. I would tell the nurse you need an off work slip. You may want to talk to her about getting some PT.

Are you on any medications at all?
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Posted By : Elleb1 - 5/25/2017 9:01 PM
I am going to call my regular doctor tomorrow and I have a PT appointment the day after I'm due to return to work. And I'm taking tizanidine

Posted By : straydog - 5/25/2017 9:25 PM
Elleb, you may want to alternate using heat & ice packs. When using heat, be sure it is moist heat. Something I do frequently is wet a hand towel & then nuke it, but you have to be careful it can get too hot. Frozen peas make good ice packs or ice in a zip lock bag. I am quite sure with the muscle spasms you have there is probably a good deal of inflammation going on from the surgery. This is normal. I do hope the PCP can help you, sending you back to work this soon is just nuts.

The reason Abilene asked if this was a work related injury, is anyone that has come here with a work related injury, the hoops they have to jump through to get any care is horrible & it takes insurance a long time to approve any care.

Are you serious, you have a PT appt the day after you return to work? Thats crazy. Be sure to bring this up to your PCP. Once you go back to work your job is not going to want you taking time off from work or leaving early to do PT.

Please keep us posted.
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Posted By : Elleb1 - 6/6/2017 11:23 AM
So my surgeon won't extend my time off and says that my issues have nothing to do with the surgery and that I need to talk to my regular doctor.

Posted By : White Beard - 6/6/2017 2:32 PM
Hi Elleb1 I have had this type of surgery and have experienced the retching (dry heaves) type of reaction, and I can really empathize with you! I had a C6/7 ACDF done first and then 25 years later a C5/6 ACDF. My first ACDF I lost my voice completely for over three months after the surgery, I also had swallowing problems and difficulties. My voice did eventually came back but the swallowing difficulties remained and when turning my head just right or straining my neck ( as in bending over) I would start violently retching just like the dry heaves but no stomach involvement. Sometimes the retching would only last a few minutes other times it would last 10 or 15 minutes, and it was usually accompanied with severe pain and electric shocks across the front and back from shoulder to shoulder. As I have gotten older the retching has become less frequent but I still have episodes of it if I put to much strain on my neck! My surgeon when doing my second ACDF wanted to go in on the opposite side of my neck from the first fusion, but knowing the problems I had with my first ACDF he sent me to an ENT surgeon to be evaluated first. The ENT scoped my vocal cords and found that the vocal cords on my right side ( the side they did the first ACDF from) was still partially paralyzed, so to prevent possible damaged to the nerve going to the left vocal cords the neurosurgeon chose to do the ACDF surgery from the right side again, since the nerves on that side was already damaged. I might note here that the ENT surgeon told me that he was surprised more people having this type of surgery didn't have more problems like mine. He said that when doing the ACDF surgery that they move the esophagus out of the way to get at the cervical spine and by doing that they often pull and stretch and can damage the nerves that go to the esophagus.

I know my first neurosurgeon also denied that my gagging retching and swallowing problem had anything to do with the ACDF surgery! He lied! At the time I had my first ACDF surgery I was in the military. and although it was a civilian surgeon that did the surgery, the military neurologist tried to tell me it was all in my head and sent me to a shrink! It was not in my head, it was damaged nerves from the surgery.

I would strongly suggest that you get an appointment with a good ENT doctor ( who is not affiliated with the neurosurgeon or facility the you had your surgery in) and who specializes in the problems with the throat and swallowing difficulties and have him/her evaluate you. This is by no means a sure thing but a step in the right direction. I really do empathize with you! I know first hand how debilitating this condition can be! If I can be of any further assistance just let me know!

I wish you well Good Luck to YOU!

White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
USAF retired in Sept.1991. I went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, I worked on Oncology and Med Surg, Disabled in late 1999, was approved SSD in early 2002! Diagnosed with: DDD and Multiple herniated Disks; Foraminotomy L3/4/5 Jan 2013; Posterior Articular Joint fusion Nov 2010; C5/6 ACDF Sep 2009; C6/7 ACDF 1985; Implanted pain Pump Jun 2014.

Posted By : straydog - 6/6/2017 2:51 PM
Elle, so sorry to read about the surgeon. Surgeons are a different breed all in their own. So many of them think once they have done the surgery they are finished with the patient regardless od what the patient has going on. Your surgeon fits this category.

Did you ever finished with PT? Did you return to work? Was your pcp any help with extending the time off of work?

I do hope that you will take WhiteBeards suggestion & get referred to an ENT. As you can see from his post this is a very real thing after surgery.

Please let us hear from you.
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Posted By : Elleb1 - 6/6/2017 3:19 PM
I have my first PT tomorrow then I see my regular dr Thursday she gave me til Tuesday off just so I didn't have to return to work before seeing her and I will ask to see the ENT. Thank you everyone I was really starting to believe I was crazy or that maybe I was just having anxiety about going back to work. And yes the dry heaving starts when I over exert or bend or lean over like putting laundry in the wash simple thing like that

Posted By : White Beard - 6/6/2017 6:05 PM
Hi Elleb1 Be gentle with your self and do be careful on lifting and doing anything that will put strain or stress on your neck. No you are not crazy!!! I do hope this is only a short temporary set back for you and it doesn't last. With me, when the retching first started, any bump or jolt or even riding in, or driving a car on a bumpy road would set it off. It was terrible, and embarrassing when it happens in public. I don't know exactly how it affects you, but I would retch so violently that I would turn beet red and my nose would start running and even tears would come to my eyes. One time it happened while I was doing PT and the therapist come running with a waste basket thinking I was going to be sick to my stomach! But of course the stomach is not involved! While it was happening the therapist felt and tried to massage the muscles in my neck and shoulders, she told me she had never seen such tight and violent muscle spasms occur in ones neck or throat. Anyway just wanted you to know that your not alone with this happening!

I do hope you will keep us all informed of your progress, and know that when your here on this forum your part of our chronic pain family, and we all try our best to support each other!

Oh and also Welcome to the forum!

White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
USAF retired in Sept.1991. I went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, I worked on Oncology and Med Surg, Disabled in late 1999, was approved SSD in early 2002! Diagnosed with: DDD and Multiple herniated Disks; Foraminotomy L3/4/5 Jan 2013; Posterior Articular Joint fusion Nov 2010; C5/6 ACDF Sep 2009; C6/7 ACDF 1985; Implanted pain Pump Jun 2014.

Posted By : Elleb1 - 6/6/2017 6:20 PM
Thank you white beard I really appreciate it! Ya I have gone to lunch with friends and then I would start with dry heaving and they would start freaking out now they are use to it. But yes I am concerned with lifting at work I work in a grocery store and I am a closing manager so I do a lot running around and putting product out everything is repetative I just get pulled in so many directions and I don't think I'm ready for that.

Posted By : straydog - 6/6/2017 7:08 PM
Elle, I would certainly discuss with the PCP about keeping you off until you have gone through physical therapy.

Take care.
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Posted By : Elleb1 - 6/21/2017 11:00 AM
Had a fluoroscopy this morning, the doctor performing the test said everything looked good going down and my doctor would give me the final results. He asked if I had talked to the surgeon I had said yes and that he told me that it has nothing to do with that

Posted By : straydog - 6/21/2017 11:46 AM
Was this an ENT as WhiteBeard suggested?
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Posted By : straydog - 6/21/2017 11:46 AM
Was this an ENT as WhiteBeard suggested?
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Posted By : JZ58server - 8/13/2017 10:13 PM
Elleb1 said...
Had acdf on my c5-6-7 in February and i still have the lump in my throat. If I walk a block I start dry heaving has anyone experienced this and does it go away? I also can't turn my neck to the right and if I try to it does a popping noise and I end up with awful headaches. The doctor says I'm fine to return to work in a week but I don't feel ready I move a lot a work and constantly lifting. Anyone out there experience these issues that can help or am I just stuck like this

I am 4 weeks out, I have a hard time eating and keeping food down, lump in my throats is still there, very disappointed at this point, I am a server, 58, my primary says disability and neoursurgion said to go back after 2 weeks, no I don't think I am ready after 4

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