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  1. #1
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    Cervical fusion and TOS, are my cycling days over?

    So I've had neck and back issues forever and for the last 4 or 5 years its been interfering with my ability to rise on a regular basis. Years of phys. Therapy and nothing has helped so I've been sent to a neurosurgeon and told I would need a 4 level cervical fusion.

    I was also told that due to the symptoms I am having I would need to be evaluated for something called thorassic outlet syndrome before they operated on me because IF I have it, another surgical procedure would need to be done and they would need to do both procedures at the same time.

    The neurosurgeon I'm seeing has already banned me from riding at all, and had said I wouldn't be able to ride anymore even after the surgery.

    Has anyone else been through this or know anything about it? I don't think I could deal with not being able to ride anymore.

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  2. #2
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    First I must say I have no personal experience with this. My dad had this. He is not very active, but it really helped him. I would really do your homework and get some second/third opinions. There may be options? To say you can never ride again is a bit extreme I think. It will take some time I would think and you may change your riding position.

  3. #3
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    A four level cervical fusion I haven't heard of. This would basically make a large block of your spine totally rigid, thus making the adjacent discs wear out much faster. It would be hard to turn your neck since it would be connected in 4 places. Also, the ability to get all 4 discs to fuse is problematic. The best thing you could probably do is change your diet to one that promotes reduced inflammation. Also, learn a couple of neck flexing exercises and do these a couple times a day. This will take probably a couple of years to make a difference, but over time it will make your neck tolerable and you will be able to ride, only don't go jumping or taking on highly technical trails. The real problem is if you wreck, since your neck most likely has a considerable amount of bone spurs.
    Last edited by danorano; 1 Week Ago at 07:43 AM. Reason: spelling

  4. #4
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    to go into a little more detail they want to fuse c3 though c7.the the spaces between the vertibrae have narrowed significantly causing severely pinched nerves at each level. There are bone spurs and the discs are also bulged in 2 locations and pushing on the spinal cord.

    the reason they had me tested for thoracic outlet syndrome was because of the constant and severe pain in my shoulders and elbows along with bouts of pain,numbness,uncontrollable twitching, spasms and weakness I get in my arms. The weakness has caused me to give up riding my roadbike because when things are at their worst I cant support my upper body in that riding position.

    Fortunately all the tests for TOS came back negative and all my symptoms are being caused by the pinched nerves. I have been assured that even though I will never be 100% the fusion should relieve the pinched nerves and I should be back to normal with very little loss in range of motion.They did say however mountain biking and offroad motorcycles are out of the question.

    Danorano, I have tried the diet and flexing exercises along with extensive physical therapy and the condition continued to get worse, I have had to stop working,riding and almost every other physical activity I enjoy and even simple things like driving have become very unpleasant and I'm not sure at this point that there are non surgical options.

    Just trying at this point to see if there are others out there that have had this surgery and were still riding, what changes they made to their riding habits and if there were any long term issues.

    thank you both for posting I appreciate the input
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  5. #5
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    I was also told I needed a 4 level fusion. MRI looks pretty bad, but my symptoms right now are just numbness in the hands that comes and goes, and discomfort between the shoulder blades. No weakness or real pain yet.
    I can still ride and lift weights and I haven't changed my lifestyle at all. But I know things will get worse, not better with time, even with my efforts to stretch, traction, etc.

    Everyone I have talked to says wait as long as you can before going for surgery, until you really need to improve your quality of life. It sounds like you are near or at that point.

    But those same people say it is the best thing they have ever done.

    In my consultation, my doctor told me I could return to a normal life. He didn't say anything about not riding etc, but I need to look into that further.

    It's important to get multiple opinions. I have not done that yet. I did send my MRI to North American Spine, and they said they could help me with a microsurgical procedure that would relieve pressure on my nerves by removing parts of the discs. It does not help with the bone spurs of course, but if they can make room, it might be a good option. I never followed up with them because I am not sure if they are a scam company, doing non-traditional procedures etc. I never got a feel on whether they are legit or not. But, explore all options before going for such a major procedure.

  6. #6
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    Smilinsteve, I was told about that procedure but I was also told it wouldn't help me much at this point. My surgery is scheduled for Dec 9 and I will try to keep this thread updated during my recovery.
    I've been reading good things in other threads from people that have had similar procedures done and I have high hopes for getting back on the trail. I have even considered finding a used recumbent with underseat steering to get me back on a bike sooner without the added stress on my back and neck.

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