I had ACDF C4-C6 on December 19th. I would say recovery is going pretty good, so much so that during my six week follow-up the surgeon's PA said I did not need to come back for another appointment unless I had an issue come up or physical therapy didn't help. Most of my symptoms involved the left arm/hand/shoulder. That's what I am going to PT for. I will say this surgery is not cookie-cutter in terms of the healing process. Everyone is different in how they heal, which is based on what needs to be done, how long the issue was there before surgery, age, health, physical activity level, smoker vs non-smoker, etc. Also, it seems that the surgeons have their own preference in terms of having to wear a collar/neck brace after surgery, bending restrictions, lifting restrictions, etc. Post op I only had to wear a soft collar when riding in a vehicle and that was just to protect the neck in the case of an accident. Some have to wear them nearly 24/7 for various amounts of time, which could be three months. My surgeon doesn't like patients wearing a collar/brace because the neck muscles weaken, but other surgeons require it. Like I said, it really varies. I had mine done by a spine specialist. Some go to an orthopedic doctor. It takes a long time for the nerves to heal after surgery, as they regenerate at a very slow rate. I'm not talking weeks, but months…even up to a year. Pain that isn't nerve-related goes away much faster though. I know your friend is scared but she really needs to get this taken care of. The longer she goes the higher the risk of the nerves not healing. I don't know if it's allowed to mention a Facebook group in these forums, but there is one for ACDF. I am in it and there is a lot to be learned there from others. Having said that, if she were to join that group it needs to be taken for what it is. Those with good outcomes don't stick around that much after healing, as they move on with their lives. Those that are struggling tend to post more, as they are seeking support from others. But like I said, I have found it helpful. It sounds like your friend's cervical spine is in worse shape than mine. I don't want her going into surgery and then being disappointed if she doesn't recover at the rate I am going at. I had very high expectations for how I thought I would feel immediately after surgery. Some wake up and the nerve pain is gone. I know a few like that. But, those tend to be the exceptions…which I didn't realize. When I woke up and had the same pain in the upper left shoulder blade and other areas, I was pretty frustrated. I had new pain that I did not have before surgery. So, she really needs to go into it without expectations since again, it is going to vary. One thing I did not know about before surgery was how the surgeon pins the arms down to help access the cervical spine. The arms get pulled and pinned tightly. That can cause quite a bit of post op pain. Also, when the cervical spine has discs replaced it causes the height to go back to where it should be. This stretches a lot of muscles connected to the neck. Again, this can cause pain, spasms, etc. I hope what I have mentioned is helpful. If she wants to join that Facebook group let me know and I will post the title of it.