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  1. #1
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    Cervical fusion surgery

    Anyone here done it and how's your mountain biking life after? What's your recovery story?

  2. #2
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    Cliff Note version. Super Bowl Sunday 2013. Woke up and my legs no longer worked. I could just barely stand but not unaided and could not walk. Let's just say it was a real WTF moment for me. Visit the small hospital ER that is 1 mile away as the crow flies and couldn't get an MRI done...dude was AT the Super Bowl! CT scan showed massive constriction to my spinal cord. Stenosis. ER doc had already been on the phone with a neurosurgeon when he showed me the scan. 4 days later I went under for an emergency discectomy, fusion, and Phygen Plate installation C5-C7. Surgery at 7 am, wheeled me into my room at about 10:30am, I was walking the hallway by 11:30. Came out of anesthesia in post op with the worst pain I have ever experienced. Worse than Kidney Stone. Drugs killed it, fortunately. Recovery, lots of x-rays and time in C-spine collar (3 weeks). 3 months after surgery, my surgeon approved my request to start riding a bike. This was essentially the beginning of my MTB lifestyle. My nerve damage was so severe that it took the better part of a year before I realized a final outcome. It took quite a long time and lots of tough rides before my fast twitch started coming back. Now, at 54, I'm just under 2000 logged miles and 130,000 ft of climb for 2016. My neck is a complete non-issue, though road biking I started in April gives me a little pain due to riding position but I can usually stretch it away.

    Now, if only my low back would cooperate.

    What's your deal?
    Always ride with a purpose.

  3. #3
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    Great to here this, going in on Nov 10th for a single level c5/6 fusion. No acute injury but five years of progressive arm/finger numbness and over the last year biking and upper body exercises leaves me in horrific pain at night when laying down. Have quit riding the last two months......

    My surgeon says I will be back doing everything I once did and having even more fun being in no pain. I am cautious but optimistic.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck guy View Post
    Great to here this, going in on Nov 10th for a single level c5/6 fusion. No acute injury but five years of progressive arm/finger numbness and over the last year biking and upper body exercises leaves me in horrific pain at night when laying down. Have quit riding the last two months......

    My surgeon says I will be back doing everything I once did and having even more fun being in no pain. I am cautious but optimistic.
    What's the doc think of the condition of your C6/C7? There were some very minor issues with mine at that area but not something he would have gone in to fix. He explained that by isolating C5/C6, it will change the dynamics and geometry on that C6/C7 and I would be back in within a year so he really wanted to include it in the procedure...and I agreed with his Dx so we did it. I really have no mobility issue after this procedure as he explained it's very low in the C-spine and movement restriction occurs when doing the upper vertebrae.
    Always ride with a purpose.

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    both discs above and below look good. My issues are foraminal narrowing with osteophytes rather than disc compression. That being said I am aware of the issues of when you fuse one disc, you load the ones above and below, hence increase the wear. Good question though and one I have not specifically asked. I will bring it up. Looking forward to getting it behind me.
    Not looking forward to the pain med issue. I had a femur fracture/hip dislocation with hip replacement 13 years ago. Got put on Oxycodone when it was the next best thing and stayed on it to long.....and fear ever taking narcotics again which I know is silly as one needs them for acute pain issues. I figure it will all work out but still.....

  6. #6
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    Okay, that's a big f#$cking deal right there!!!

    I'm no where near those symptoms, but I do have a massively bulging disc in my C6. I managed to PT away the numbness and tingling in my left hand, but there's still some weakness to the left side and it hurts every day. If I work around the house, it hurts. Too much "normal" physical activity, it hurts. I also just had our first child, and the constant bending over, looking down is getting to me, and I know that this is a sign of things to come.

    When the spinal doctor saw the MRI, he freaked. Told me to stop any and all physical activity and wanted to get me into surgery the next day. However, my symptoms certainly didn't match what the MRI was saying. In fact, he was baffled on how I could be up and functioning with a bulging disc that large.

    Even though my symptoms aren't as severe as others I know, I figure it's just a matter of time, and I might as well get it taken care of sooner than later.

    My other question, which you answered, was about recovery. How long, painful, etc...

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    Back in 2014 I was experiencing shoulder and radiating pain down my left arm with numbness in my thumb/fingers. This was especially prevalent when
    in the riding position to the point where I was unable to bike any more without pain.

    An MRI indicated that I had severe spinal stenosis in C5-C6 caused by a disc protrusion. C3-4 was also diagnosed with moderate stenosis but the disc
    in-between (C4-C5) was fine. The recommendation from the first spinal surgeon I saw was for a fusion of C5-C6 and also C3-C4. I had done research
    on my problem and knew of the complications of adjacent disc degeneration caused by fusion so I was pretty leery of that approach. I had a 2nd opinion from a different spinal surgeon who had experience in artificial cervical discs and was glad I did. He recommended using an artificial cervical disc called Mobi-C on C5-C6 and NOT doing surgery on C3-C4 as he did not believe my symptoms resulted from that disc. Use of an artifical disc allows the vertebra above and below the disc to move resulting in a greater degree of motion, and in theory, less prone to ADD. A couple months
    later I had the artificial disc put in for C5-C6. I have to say that I was really pleased with my recovery after the surgery. Immediately after the surgery most of the pain I experienced was in my throat due to the anterior approach taken, though that was mostly a discomfort. I had only a small amount of pain in my neck and no pain in my shoulder or arm. After 3 months my doctor gave me clearance to do light bike riding which I did (flat non-technical riding) and after 6 months he cleared me for all activity so I spent a week in Moab doing technical riding. About a year ago I had a stupid accident (they are all stupid) in which I landed hard on my head (with helmet) but immediately felt a strong electrical pain shoot down my left arm. At the time I thought I was screwed and had re-injured my neck and for about 2 weeks I had some of my previous symptoms (radiating pain) in my left arm. An x-ray revealed that the artificial disc had not been displaced or damaged and after about 2 weeks my symptoms had gone away and I have not had any problems since then. Two years later I am pain free and can ride all I want so I am pretty darn happy with the outcome.

  8. #8
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    I rolled my car in '03 driving into Death Valley NP and broke my neck. I have C4-C5 and C6-C7-T1 fused. Actually, they had to remove C7 because it was shattered. I have to use riser stems to raise the bars because I can't hold my head back for long Also, I have to really twist my body around to see behind me when road riding. Other than that riding is the same as before the accident.

  9. #9
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    my personal fusion

    Quote Originally Posted by Zignzag View Post
    I rolled my car in '03 driving into Death Valley NP and broke my neck. I have C4-C5 and C6-C7-T1 fused. Actually, they had to remove C7 because it was shattered. I have to use riser stems to raise the bars because I can't hold my head back for long Also, I have to really twist my body around to see behind me when road riding. Other than that riding is the same as before the accident.

    been good to read all these relative success stories.

    Pulled the plug and had a single level fusion C5/6 done four days ago. Had not ridden for 3 months or so do to the horrible arm numbness and pain that would hit me the night following any type of activity.

    allograft with spacer and anterior plate, autograft slurry mixed in.

    one night in hospital and now home, took a day or two to air out the gases, getting out and walking now 3miles yesterday, plan on 4 today/
    sleeping great on just a muscle relaxer can actually sleep on my right and left side without pain. Told I can start on my trainer at two weeks.
    will keep this post going telling folks how its going

    CD

  10. #10
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    Excellent!

    I didn't think the surgery was any big deal. IMO many people suffer needlessly by avoiding it.
    Tequila is a pallid flame that passes through walls and soars over tile roofs to allay despair. A. Mutis

  11. #11
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    back again for a up date, post op day 9.

    challenge now is that I feel great and remain with strict no weight bearing of more than 5 lbs upper extremities. Off all pain meds days ago, all the pain that I had the surgery for is gone. I still have the soft c-collor which is not to bad considering though i have a bit of chaffing as I am recommended to walk daily and have been doing 5 miles or so a day of a loop in my neighbor hood.

    Still with occasional numb tingling down left scapula and onto fingers, not pain, just tingling. I have been told that will last 4 weeks or so. Will have my first post-op at a bit short of my 3rd week post op. Have been good with activity restrictions, though mildly frustrating I have enough books, hobbies computer stuff to burn my time between relaxing and watching amazon prime videos though i am not a video person if I have a choice.

    My concern is losing so much conditioning. walking five miles a day still does not crank up the cardio. Watching my food intake, low on the carbs keeping protein/vegie mix high and so far my weight has been reasonably stable. I feel my legs losing strength....?my imagination but I am 60, and have noted the past few years that it has been harder to build strength and easier to lose, but I enjoy the journey. I have been a big p90 fan for the last 8-10 years and hope to start some modified lower body stuff by late winter to get ready for next summer. So far my recovery has been as good as I could have hoped for.

    wondering what others have done for strength and cardio training when in recovery ?

  12. #12
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    Neck and back

    Neck C3-4-5 fusion. Old chronic troubles + bad pile driver endo at Keystone. Lost use of my right arm. Surgery fixed it. Was not off the bike for too long but still kinda worry about my neck. Low back x-ray shows fusion L4-L5. Still had unbearable back pain. After a couple years had fusion L4-L5-S1 (not pictured). Back way better and I now have a life. Cervical fusion surgery-neck-back.jpg
    Last edited by elder_mtber; 01-22-2017 at 01:13 PM.

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    nice to hear success and forward motion after fusions. I am hopeful to be back on the trails this summer. tomorrow is day 14 for me and my biggest challenge is to abide by my activity restrictions which were sort of vague but I have been very conservative with. Still with some very mild tingling occasionally down in my hands which I was told is common for the first 4 weeks.

    Elder with your neck what sort of riding do you still do? I have a bit more of a cross country/cardio focus but do enjoy a little mild air on my down hill runs, do you still tolerated bumps and such? It's that first fall that I worry about. I also have a hip replacement and I remember my first fall going "OH SH**" still careful but the first one was the scariest!

  14. #14
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    I am a trail rider and enjoy the challenging technical bits. I get some air but not a lot. The neck is OK with bumpy and rough trails. I think it is important to restore good strength to your neck muscles. I have fallen many times since the surgery, including today!!! No problems with neck. I seldom even think about it. You have a good chance for a complete recovery and return to normal riding.

  15. #15
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    well here we go... day post op day 18 for one level C5/6 ACDF cage and anterior plating and first post op visit

    all looks good will have soft collar off in 10 days and will start PT
    no cross skiing/touring advised till after april/may.
    No street biking till April and or they see fusion
    NO MTN biking for a year!!!!!
    no hilly hiking with any risk of slip till fusion/for risk of if one slips or falls/does a butt plant.
    I am walking hiking flat 5-7 miles a day
    and can progress to some low weight strength training under guidence of PT when that starts after week 4.

    Gratefully I feel excellent though a bit bummed feeling my fitness go a little, but I had no choice in this. Am being 100% attentive to following roc's.

  16. #16
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    Hope its a smooth recovery chuck guy
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  17. #17
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    I am 5 years into a 6/7 fusion. Before surgery I had terrible arm pain hand weekness. Tried everything chiro, massage, acupuncture, cortisone shots with little releaf. The first 3 years after surgery had no pain life was good. Leading a very active life some mountain bike racing, cross country snowmobile racing. Last 2 years doing same things, but have neck stiffness, upper shoulder pain stiffness, and some left side arm pain. All things are manageable if I back off workouts ect when trouble starts for a couple days. Massage and ice work for me, sleep on your back and manage stress. Is the surgery perfect no, would I do it again yes.

  18. #18
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    Strengthening neck muscles.

    In regards to neck exercises, when I'm stopped at stop light in my car I'll press my head against the headrest for the duration of the red light. As your neck muscles gain strength, press harder. Or when lying in bed, press your head against the matress. These muscles hold your head up when you are bent forward.
    Tequila is a pallid flame that passes through walls and soars over tile roofs to allay despair. A. Mutis

  19. #19
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    Ok here I am coming up on 6 weeks post. Collar off now at 4 weeks and have started PT. Mostly neck range of motion/isometric stuff. Though I was cleared to start light free weights 5-10 lbs, though nothing over my head. Neck still aches, and arm tingles but easily 80 % improvement and sleeping thru the night. Walking some days up to 7-8 miles flats mostly here near seattle. Feels pretty good most of the time. Really get sore though overall if I do to much. Hard to sort if its from surgery or deconditioning from 5 weeks of post with the 2-3 months pre surgery of not much as well.

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    Good the collar is off. Sorry the neck still hurts. Yea, don't try to do too much. Best wishes.

  21. #21
    aka: Bucky Fikes
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck guy View Post
    Ok here I am coming up on 6 weeks post. Collar off now at 4 weeks and have started PT. Mostly neck range of motion/isometric stuff. Though I was cleared to start light free weights 5-10 lbs, though nothing over my head. Neck still aches, and arm tingles but easily 80 % improvement and sleeping thru the night. Walking some days up to 7-8 miles flats mostly here near seattle. Feels pretty good most of the time. Really get sore though overall if I do to much. Hard to sort if its from surgery or deconditioning from 5 weeks of post with the 2-3 months pre surgery of not much as well.
    I remember how fearful I was to take off my Collar. I had mine on for 3 weeks after and IIRC, after 1 week, it was OK to remove while I showered. Even though a PITA, after being supported for so long, i was afraid my head would fall off! Boy, the best part, though was when it came off for good and I could lay in bed without it!

    For weeks after removal, I was still a bit apprehensive about neck movements because I had some tension to the point of minor discomfort. I was out carefully building a small chicken coop to kill some down time and while I was working, I brewed up a big, bad sneeze from sawdust shavings. It was a big one and while it was building, I realized this would be my first sneeze since surgery! I got all paranoid and out it came. So big that I slammed my head against the plywood siding of the coop! It came as such a surprise and when I hit my head, I heard and felt this massive POP! in my neck. I froze in fear waiting for my legs to buckle and collapse completely paralyzed and then nothing happened, no pain. Then I realized my neck felt awesome! No more pressure or tension. I was good to go from that point forward! So, go find some sawdust and give it a test!

    Your nerve damage/tingling will likely subside over time. In my case, I had pretty severe nerve damage leading to my lower body. Enough that it was slowly causing my leg muscles to waste no matter how much I walked till they finally just started the disconnect from my brain. It took almost a full year to get back most of what I lost. My Neurosurgeon said nerve growth increases about a millimeter a day. In my case, we just didn't know how many millimeters needed to grow.
    Always ride with a purpose.

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    HA! I thought the same thing about my first sneeze but did not hit my head! That would scare the sh** out of me! I have had the same tension in my neck. My PT does some deep muscle mobilization and he has worked it out now and along with my exercises I feel pretty darn normal coming up on week 7.

    I remain with some left arm tingling at times which was my worst arm. As you were told, I was told it will take upon to a year to work out. The professional articles I have researched say the same thing. I am a ARNP with a academic medical center have taken a interest in the multitude of research articles of ACDF'S and the complications. One article that did bother me was the case study of a person 6 months post op doing P90x and he stressed his anterior plate enough and it broke! I needed up being attributed to surgical error being placed in wrong angle...but still!

    Actually most things I read here are in the general stream of what the literature says.

  23. #23
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    First post. Turned to biking after ruining knees in the service. Interesting that the best forum for C-fusion recovery posts seems to be here - read all of the 2008 thread! So, in short:
    Last 5 years, every time I'd take my road bike out my hands, arms and then eventually neck.shoulders would get numb. I am an ER doc, but thought this as simply carpal tunnel. That was until I started dropping things and arms weakened on boath sides. Saw Neurosurg, MRI with sig stenosis at C4-5 and 5-6, nerve impingement at C3-4. Stopped riding, stopped lifting, and became relatively sedentary...
    Things improved a little, certainly were not worse. Then, while working 14 feet in a tree - took the fall, cranked neck, knocked out. - I was fortunate to even walk or be alive. But symptoms back with a vengeance, now balance issues, tingling feet, some leg weakness and arms numb all the time. Cord at C5-6 compressed 50% (neuro surgeon at a loss why not worse symptoms - but have decided they tell that to all their patients after reading the posts! :-) )
    Surgery in 13 days - C3-C6 fusion. Not looking forward to it. No pain now. Serious substance abuse issues in other family members. And I only tend to see the disasters in my medical field, not the good outcomes...
    Great to read all the posts - gives me confidence if I stick to the plan - Aspen for 8 weeks, no driving, no work, thinks should be OK.

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    Yes I found the population group here to be most similar to me and my situation, as well as the most optimistic!

    Had similar concerns with substance misuse more on a personal level years ago. I did not find the pain bad, just took meds for 48-72 hrs post op and stopped. Maybe a touch early but for me better too early than late. Certainly C3/6 is a different story, but from my conversations it really seems to be patient dependent...as you know with your trade....

    I am 7 weeks post op and feeling normal except occ twinge which is hugely better that pre-op. Been walking 5 miles a day and today walked a trail up a local hill, 1000 vert 5 mile loop which felt wonderful! My PT gives me a bit more permission to exercise than the neurosurgeon thou she is seeming confused as she looked at me quizzically when I ask when I can start trail hiking and she asks me why would I want to do that in the rain! (Here in Seattle where it rains quite a bit) Her PA has more people smarts and she bridges the gap.

    Week 8 seems to be point for progression! Best luck to you and feel free to PM for any questions.

    CG

  25. #25
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    Wow this is a great thread.
    I has a c5c6 fusion done back in November 2015. I went through what I call too many years of unnecessary pain I didn't need to go through. I did have a slip and fall on the ice while out ice fishing and I landed on the top of my head. That was back in probably in 2011 combined with all of my other crashes throughout my life the damage was now beyond just regular physical therapy and ibuprofen. But low and behold that was always the remedy for my regular MD.

    So I finally said to him I want an MRI on my neck. He said; (now get this) "well what's that going to tell me that you have a bulged disc" now me not really knowing the full negative ramifications of a bulged disc other than my symptoms were very close to a friends who just has a c5c6c7 fusion a year before. My MD also argued that it was my left shoulder that was the problem but everything on x-rays showed I was fine. So I said really you don't 100% know. So he finally sent me in to get an MRI, and sure enough I had a bulged disc and I also already had an appointment for the shots in the neck, that doctor said when he looked at my MRI I was going to have to have the surgery.

    Everything went well as with you all here that have had this type of surgery. I just over did some lifting and had a little setback after 2 1/2 months post open. Our nerves suffer some damage and that also takes some time to heal.

    I noticed right after the surgery the pain on my right side of the neck was gone and I slept better. After physical therapy is still had pain on my left shoulder and arm so I went back to physical therapy after about two weeks my physical therapist found a hot spot near my rotator cuff we spent about three weeks working on it but it was responding so I had another MRI this time on my left shoulder, sure enough I had a torn labrum muscle in my left shoulder, it's located in the rotator cuff. I'm right now three weeks post op.

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    DocRon here - Update. POST-OP Day 6. ACDF C3-6

    Probably lots of typos since cannot easily look at keyboard!
    Was in OR 3.5 hours, Doc told my wife took longer because tissue was "tougher" then expected!? Esophagus gave him a difficult time dissecting off spinal column. Also my "Bones were softer then expected". WTF does that mean? Did the screws striped out? I don't really know, but they did my vitamin D level after surg and it was in the Severe low range. I had been loading with calcium and a multivitamin a month before. Prescribed high-dose Vit D which started day 2 post-op (50,000 units three times a week, but that dose makes me sick to my stomach, so doing 20,000/day)
    Operative day: in OR 7:30-11:00, to room around 13:30. Up and walked at 15:00 with PT. Pain in shoulders and throat was lousy. Was able to eat soup and icecream for dinner. 10mg Oxycodone every 4 hours overnight.
    POST-OP day1: Feeling less pain, was actually able to eat oatmeal and scrambled eggs in Morning and lunch. JP Drain was pretty empty so pulled at 14:00 and discharged at 15:00. Swallowing was becoming harder, only tomato soup for dinner. Pain meds every 6 hours.
    POST-OP day 2-4: Difficult nights sleeping, in recliner, very uncomfortable laying in bed. Cannot seem to swallow anything. Even water was hard. Crushed pills into applesauce and that stuck. during day was able to get down soup, broth, Gatorade. Showered with assistance PO day 4, felt great. only needed 2 doses Oxy 10mg on PO day 4.
    Post op day 5: Pain most tolerable, except at night. one dose pain meds at nighttime. I was able to swallow a little more. Ate greasy/soft scrambled eggs - I love eggs I think! Had thin oatmeal at dinner. Suddenly cannot get enough milk. Walked 1 mile. Actually went to theater with my wife to see Hidden Figures (fantastic movie by-the-way). The car ride was surprisingly uncomfortable - every little bump hurt the neck! Maybe a bit too soon? Last comment - bowels finally working again!
    Today is POST-OP Day 6: eating Oatmeal right now. English Tea. Getting ready for a walk. Pain still minimal, (2-3/10 maybe? Tylenol works)

    Biggest points - expect swallowing issues.
    -if you are north European heritage or female, add Vit d to your daily vit list for a month or two beforehand. (I'd do 5000 units/daily)
    -Take the Dulcolax, Miralax, Colace, or other stool softners recommended.
    -don't push things, your body needs the rest. Do walk/mobilize your body when you can. Find sleeping positions that works. This is actually my biggest issue now, cannot seem to lay in bed comfortably. Played with pillows, cushions, flat, just can't find a spot that is more then 1.5-2 hours doable. The recliner is doable up to about 3-4 hours.
    The pain in my shoulder and arm is worse then before surgery, but leg weakness and tingling is gone.

    Will check-in and update every week if I remember; feel free to message me if you wish. Ron

  27. #27
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    Gosh, tough surgery/recovery! Sounds like you are doing better now. Good to read that!

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    Post-Op day 13, C3-C6 ACDF, tomorrow is 2 week mark.
    Recovery going well. Little pain. No Narcs in a week. Tylenol seems to be enough once or twice a day. In Aspen Collar and will be for 8 weeks. It comes off for showers, feels good to have it off, but still nervous when it is. Car trip to a class yesterday - again, even small bumps bothersome.
    Swallowing remains slightly difficult. Little more solids going down. Bread stuff sticks, as does most real meats (chicken, beef) unless ground. Pasta been good, have had lots of fried and scrambled eggs this last week. Still like oatmeal.
    Sleeping - bought a cool-foam "wedge" for my side of bed on amazon, 29x29x10 inches. Finally able to lay down and sleep better, but wake up every 2-3 hours, sore in upper back.

    Several 4-5 mile walks this week, they felt good. Dropped 12 pounds since morning of surgery. Generally things going better then I had expected.

  29. #29
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    DocRon

    My swallowing never did return to normal but it is not a problem. Sometimes pills (meds) get stuck back there but some more water always washes them down. Yours sounds more troublesome. Maybe it will improve. Hope so.

    Good that you can, and do, take those long walks.

    Has the car bump pain improved?

    Best wishes,
    Terry

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by DorRon View Post
    Post-Op day 13, C3-C6 ACDF, tomorrow is 2 week mark.
    Recovery going well. Little pain. No Narcs in a week. Tylenol seems to be enough once or twice a day. In Aspen Collar and will be for 8 weeks. It comes off for showers, feels good to have it off, but still nervous when it is. Car trip to a class yesterday - again, even small bumps bothersome.
    Swallowing remains slightly difficult. Little more solids going down. Bread stuff sticks, as does most real meats (chicken, beef) unless ground. Pasta been good, have had lots of fried and scrambled eggs this last week. Still like oatmeal.
    Sleeping - bought a cool-foam "wedge" for my side of bed on amazon, 29x29x10 inches. Finally able to lay down and sleep better, but wake up every 2-3 hours, sore in upper back.

    Several 4-5 mile walks this week, they felt good. Dropped 12 pounds since morning of surgery. Generally things going better then I had expected.
    carry on and know improvement will come.
    "ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK"

  31. #31
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    DR
    Sounds like you are progressing well, when do they release you to start PT?

    I am ten weeks pretty normal but still with upper extremity tingling and left scapula pain, am working PT to stengthen scapular muscles

  32. #32
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    Thanks all.
    PT should start around the 10 week mark if healing looks OK. Mostly strengthening neck and shoulder.

    I think the swallowing will improve and not be a permanent issue. Had Mac & cheese tonight! Even that hung a couple times, but was good! Since only two weeks out and they said possibly 4-6 weeks of possible swallowing issues, especially being they had a hard time dissecting my esophagus off the anterior spinal column, things should continue to improve. Had some scar tissue or thickened tissues along the esophagus. . Of course, there is now a titanium plate 1/4 inch thick behind the esophagus that was not there before (same for all of us!).

    Doc Ron

  33. #33
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    I would kid my wife telling her that my swallowing difficulty was caused by the food getting stuck on the screws holding the ti plate. Ha, ha.

  34. #34
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    Post-op day 30! C3-C6 ACDF

    Damn, I am bored as hell, where did 30 days go?? Still another 3 weeks till my follow up appt and clearance to drive and work. All seems to be heeling. Neck is noticeably weaker when I have collar off for showers and clothing changes. Thinner as well.
    Some occasional pains in back and side of neck, usually if I move in a certain way, still weak in arms, but hoping once PT and able to begin lifting again, that will improve.

    Eating better, but still, even at 4 weeks, food gets stuck. No real meats yet! (Steak, chicken are still no-gos. Brats and hamburger are good to go! Hoping not a perm problem, but know it can be. Only saving grace to that is I chew the hell out of every bite and am eating way less then normal. Down to 206 from 220 pre-op weight. (I had gained 25 pounds after I was told no more bike riding 18 months ago!)

    Walking going well. 1-2 miles every day, 4-6 miles every third. That does stretch it a little as neck hurting some after the longer walks.

    All stay well!

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    Keep going there DR you are making progress.

    Today I had my 12 week post c5/6 fusion X-ray and checkup. Fusion coming along where its supposed to be. My challenge is still with hand numbness and scapula pain not as bad as before but not minor. They even released me to easy street biking and easy ski touring YEH! Just don't fall, but my NS then lightly says "oh go ski and be wild"....what the heck.!!

    At the same time I am scheduled for another MRI to look for other issues for the pain, My PT found notable scapula "winging" and I am trying to do workouts working on this muscle group. It really seems positional with my arms and posture which makes sense.... i suppose....the saga continues

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck guy View Post
    Keep going there DR you are making progress.

    Today I had my 12 week post c5/6 fusion X-ray and checkup. Fusion coming along where its supposed to be. My challenge is still with hand numbness and scapula pain not as bad as before but not minor. They even released me to easy street biking and easy ski touring YEH! Just don't fall, but my NS then lightly says "oh go ski and be wild"....what the heck.!!

    At the same time I am scheduled for another MRI to look for other issues for the pain, My PT found notable scapula "winging" and I am trying to do workouts working on this muscle group. It really seems positional with my arms and posture which makes sense.... i suppose....the saga continues
    Hey Chuck guy, glad to hear site has healed well. It does sound like you most likely have a myopathy/neuropathy - or possibly some permanent damage to the nerves that were impinged. Sometimes this comes back, sometimes it doesn't. I do hope time will heal it for you. I also hope they didn't miss a disc herniation and nerve impingement with first go-around and surgery!
    Good luck
    Doc Ron

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by elder_mtber View Post
    Neck C3-4-5 fusion. Old chronic troubles + bad pile driver endo at Keystone. Lost use of my right arm. Surgery fixed it. Was not off the bike for too long but still kinda worry about my neck. Low back x-ray shows fusion L4-L5. Still had unbearable back pain. After a couple years had fusion L4-L5-S1 (not pictured). Back way better and I now have a life. Click image for larger version. 

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    Your story is hauntingly familiar to what happened to me a few weeks ago. I too am a trail rider who likes technical challenges and a little air. I too have had chronic degeneration in my cervical spine but without any symptoms over the years. That is until 3 weeks ago when I slammed my head into the ground coming off a drop. Both arms went numb instantly but I actually was able to shake it off and finish riding. Now though I still have some pain and constant numbness in my right arm, although I'm still able to use it. My MRI showed all of my chronic signs of arthritis, but nothing acute except for some endplate edema. Was it a slipped disc that caused you to lose the use of your right arm?

  38. #38
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    man you guys Kick Butt! I was off the bike for a year with a fractured L1 and a 35% compressed T10. Also broke my coccyn in 2 places.(BAD DAY) Crashed in the mountains of Virginia on my Flash. Actually did get to ride the road bike at 8 months. Have not had to have surgery yet but could happen. Good to read there is life after if I do need it. Hang in and keep up the progress!
    2013 Cannondale F29 1 Alloy
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  39. #39
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    Today. 4 year anniversary of my C-spine surgery. I'm headed out to go ride my new rigid singlespeed Karate Monkey before we're inundated with rain, again.
    Always ride with a purpose.

  40. #40
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    The arm trouble was caused by bulging discs. It is likely they were damaged in my two neck accidents.

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    week 14 post c5/6 fusion and doing pretty well. Got cleared last week to start back cross country skiing and easy touring, as well as easy on the road bike. Been raining or snowing here pretty solid and feel a little hesitant on the bike in rain or a least thats my excuse and have got out for two ski tours this week end, today about 14k and 1500 feet elevation. Felt great.

    That being said I still have persistent numbness tingling at times in the hands and arms. Also that damn scapula pain. PT says my right scapula "wings" and I am working on PT, weird though its my left side that hurts worse. NS ordered another MRI on me and yet at the same time says...go ski have fun!!

    I have read it can take a year, my ski partner says give it a year before you complain....

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    Smile 2 Months Post C3-C6 ACDF

    Out of the collar last Tuesday! Feels good to be out, little weak, but good! Was supposed to wean out over two weeks, but was done with it in 4 days. The Neurosurgeons want me to sleep with it for 4 more weeks. Any of you guys need to have to sleep in it after initial clearance? Also, added the Bone Growth stimulator as well.

    X-rays show about 85% calcified, and they said most are completely fused at 6 month mark. Can road Bike at 4 month mark, but wait for trail and other things till after 7 month appt. Strangely, I asked about roller coasters and they said never again! It was the thing that bothered me the most and I intentionally avoided them the last three years.

    Cervical fusion surgery-2017_02_28-lat-xr.jpg

    Food still sticks: Breads, Chicken, lettuce, stringy things. It is unusual at this point they said, but I've read 5% have some swallowing issue. May get swallowing study in one more month if persists. Just feels like top of esophagus not working and food collects then chokes. We'll see...

    So now back to work. PT in 2 more weeks, mostly for strengthening, some Range of Motion. Arms and legs feeling good.

    Cheers! Doc Ron

  43. #43
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    I don't recall needing periodic use of the collar once I was out of it at 3 weeks or so.

    I was cautioned about potential swallowing and esophageal issues but they never really transpired in a big way. Perhaps it nerve damage that needs to heal from the cutting? Nuero told me 1mm a day for regeneration so hopefully it becomes a thing of the past for you.
    Always ride with a purpose.

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    dr good to see your progress, different I am sure for multilevel vs single level they just popped me at week 4 out of the color and said ok. My discomfort has really improved with a more vigorous approach to my PT. Still not on road bike due to rain here in the northwest but life is 90% back to normal, may you get there to!!

  45. #45
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    ******Any of you guys need to have to sleep in it after initial clearance?*****

    No. Wore it about 5 or 6 or 7 days, that was the end of it.

    The swallowing - sounds like you are having more trouble than I do - don't know what to say about that. Seems there can be a lot of difference between cases. I have some difficulty but not too much.

    Very, very good news that arms (and legs) are feeling good.

    Best wishes,
    Terry

  46. #46
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    Here is my C5-C6-C7 thread started in 2008. I'm coming up on nine years, and everything is still great! I did a nice long ride today.

    Cervical Fusion Recovery TImes?

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    elder_mtber, after I had my fusion done, as for messing with my wife, I acted like I was chocking and I had a screw in my hand and told her I coughed up a screw, she didn't fall for it.

    I haven't been checking in here lately but it's nice to hear you all are doing well.
    It is a scary thing to have to hear that you are going to let someone cut your throat and place a titanium trophy inside of you.

    It has been over a year since my fusion all is well other than recovering from this shoulder surgery I had last December, I found that the physical therapy for that is where the real pain is, I feel like I'm never going to get better, the improvements are very slow and they say no riding till May if I'm lucky.
    Have a good day everyone.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by idinomac View Post
    elder_mtber, after I had my fusion done, as for messing with my wife, I acted like I was chocking and I had a screw in my hand and told her I coughed up a screw, she didn't fall for it.
    That is funny!!!

    Seems that shoulders can be troublesome. Some don't want to heal without pain + $$$$$$$$$.

    Best wishes,
    Terry

  49. #49
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    Three Months!

    All has healed it seems as far as wound go. Still haven't seen PT, no calls from surgeon and I haven't really pursued it either. Neck still stiff, and actually a bit more sore then before - probably because doing to much (re-wired my boat trailer today).

    Trying to get out on the boat - looking for calm oceans to avoid the pounding, driving it to the FL Keys in a couple weeks.

    Not been on the bike yet - they said 4 months for road biking, but will try to actually get some road time in on my cruiser this week for first time. No Trails till after 6 month followup - hopefully I'll be able to hit some beach trails and local stuff. (no mountains in FL, get to live with sand and roots!).

    But, the numbness in hands and arms and feet has not really resolved any further, weakness in right arm still the same, I hope the nerves did not have damage - I did postpone the surgery way too long! Hoping all others are doing well.
    DocRon

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    Just a check in my self one month ahead of you!

    I can relate to the arm and hand numbness, I am 5 months and maybe just the past week or so that symptom feels improved. I have been cleared to do easy ski tours and flat rides which I have done carefully. My last check up I was only 1/3 fused and my NS said she does not expect full fusion for a year. I wonder if it depends on type of graft, auto vs allo or
    the surgeon choice.

    I was pretty rigorous with my PT as I have some right scapular winging...tho curiously my worse symptoms were in my left arm and side. But PT really made my arms hurt and ache at night, I really have persistent if not worsening sense of numbness in hands. I had a repeat MRI which showed great placement and no pressure on any nerves, so its all accounted for being from muscle weakness. All that bring said I overall have much less episodes of the arm/scapular pain that put me under and I am glad that I had it done. I anticipate I will continue to improve.

  51. #51
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    ok a overdue update, c-apine is well, 6month X-ray shows nearly complete fusion and on schedule for the one year mark to be fused completely. Hands fingers numbness got worse and fearing neck issues they repeated MRI....neg, plain films....neg, EMP.....positive for bilateral carpal tunnel, had endoscopic release four weeks ago and feeling much better. Have been cleared for easy mtn biking but pressure on handlebars still sensitive.

    we will se....

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by DorRon View Post
    Three Months!

    All has healed it seems as far as wound go. Still haven't seen PT, no calls from surgeon and I haven't really pursued it either. Neck still stiff, and actually a bit more sore then before - probably because doing to much (re-wired my boat trailer today).

    Trying to get out on the boat - looking for calm oceans to avoid the pounding, driving it to the FL Keys in a couple weeks.

    Not been on the bike yet - they said 4 months for road biking, but will try to actually get some road time in on my cruiser this week for first time. No Trails till after 6 month followup - hopefully I'll be able to hit some beach trails and local stuff. (no mountains in FL, get to live with sand and roots!).

    But, the numbness in hands and arms and feet has not really resolved any further, weakness in right arm still the same, I hope the nerves did not have damage - I did postpone the surgery way too long! Hoping all others are doing well.
    DocRon
    DocRon - Seems like your surgery was a little over six months ago. I hope you are better than you reported at three months. Nerves take so, so long to heal or self-repair.

    Best wishes,
    Terry

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck guy View Post
    ok a overdue update, c-apine is well, 6month X-ray shows nearly complete fusion and on schedule for the one year mark to be fused completely. Hands fingers numbness got worse and fearing neck issues they repeated MRI....neg, plain films....neg, EMP.....positive for bilateral carpal tunnel, had endoscopic release four weeks ago and feeling much better. Have been cleared for easy mtn biking but pressure on handlebars still sensitive.

    we will se....
    I hate to hear about hand numbness issues. Good the carpal release has improved the situation. Hope you tolerate easy mountain biking and gradually move on. Exercise helps in so many ways.

    Best wishes,
    Terry

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