Contributors to this thread:
Cervical Fusion Recovery
I had anterior cervical fusion (C5/C6)on 8/27 and was released from the surgeon on 12/18. That would be 1 week shy of 16 wks.
I have been on a 10# max weight limit during my "medical time out." During that period I have lost a lot of muscle strength in neck, back, shoulders and arms.
For those of you who have had this surgery--
1. Did you go thru physical therapy following your surgery?
2. What was your rebound time after dr. release to where you were able to shoot your bow again?
3. As members of the "Plate and Screws Club" what advice or suggestions do you have to share with a fellow member?
Not a member of that club, thank goodness! Missing 2 discs in the lumbar region but they never had a club back then.
Just wanted to wish you a speedy recovery!
Had neck fusion done 3 years ago. Same surgery as Peyton Manning I think. Have a beautiful scar on my throat. Surgery was a piece of cake but the recovery was brutal. Couldn't swallow for two weeks. Survived on water and popsicles. Surgeon told me recovery would be 18 months and it was all of that. Couldn't shoot my bow for two seasons and it was still uncomfortable this year. Don't rush things and if it hurts, stop. Hard to ask for help sometimes but swallow your pride and admit you need it. Still have left arm and hand numbness at times but can usually get rid of it by doing something physical. Good luck with your recovery and push it too hard. Rory
I had an anterior cervical C 5/6 diskectomy and fusion on May 27, 2008 and killed an elk at the end of August after backpacking 6 miles in. I can't remember when I started shooting after surgery. However, I was in pretty good shape before surgery, and don't recall having any problem regaining strength after. I also don't recall any specific PT other than gradually getting back to normal activity governed by pain/discomfort. I was also back at work with no restrictions on July 3, (flying B757 & 767) so either your doc is really conservative, or your situation was worse than mine.
Every situation and procedure is different. I also had/have deterioration above and below that level that is aggravated by the fusion. Neck pain of varying degrees is an ongoing issue managed mostly by Celebrex and periodic injections.
I had C4/5/6 fused a year ago. I went home the next day and never did take any pain pills. He told me not to pull my bow or lift over 10 pounds for 4 to 6 weeks. I have been having shoulder problems and I had injections in both shoulders and it helped for awhile but they are both sore again. I went to a massage therapist two days ago and, boy does this gal know what she is doing. It hurt like hell when she worked on certain trigger points but I'm already working out with my arms again.
Sorry, meant to say don't push it to hard. Rory
Mine was south of you in L4-L5. 4 screws and two rods.I did physical therapy. If you have pain down the road there are other ways of dealing with it other than meds. Yoga, meditation or whatever that will work other than meds. Build up those muscles but don't over do it. It's been about 8 years on mine and I'm doing very good.
You guys are making me nervous as far as recovery time goes Long story short I have/had a stable compression fracture of my C 3. Finally met up with a neurosurgeon in Boston who ordered another MRI of my neck which was completed today. Follow up appointment on Monday morning. Will know then if treatment is PT with injections or surgery.
Also had MRI of lower back as I have history of two minor bulging discs as well as arthritis. Getting old sucks. Just want to to get patched up and back in shape in time for turkey season. Good luck to you guys and stay healthy.
It's amazing the number of doctors you have to see before surgery is done. I can see that they want to do X rays and an MRI but how many do they need!!! It took many months and many doctors before the surgery was done. Seems as though they want a hand in your wallet. Don't fight the pain like I did for many years like I did with my back (found out I had broken something in it pretty severely) and with my neck. Get it done and get it over with. Face it, were not getting any younger. Rory
Insurance companies create a lot of this. My doctors nurse told me afterwords that the first day she saw my MRIs she knew I needed a fusion. Instead they gave me two cortisone injections to see if that made it feel better. They ran a needle up my tail bone to the affected disc and injected cortisone in it. Per insurance company instructions, Yee ow!
Just had mine done 2 days ago. Took out discs at C4/5, C5/6 and burred out bone spurs at 3 levels. have a titanium plate to stabilize. Surgeon told me to just 'not go crazy', but activity as tolerated. Little sore today, but hoping to be lifting I a few weeks. Had lower back done 2 years ago, and arrowed a deer 11 days later, so hoping for similar results. Oh those things our parents told us not to do when we were younger....
Buffallo - I had mine done back in 2000. I went through about 4 weeks of physical therapy.
To be honest the time it took to get to zero neck pain and what I felt was 100% recovery was just over 2 years?
I had C4, C5, C6 all fused together.
It is called an Alanis plate made out of titanium.
I am just curious why you said one week shy of 16 weeks, instead of 15 weeks? LOL!!
I had to have a dissectomy the first week in November, worst timing but.. it is what it is. After a doctor release I used stretch bands to simulate drawing a bow. I used a therapy band with a string on it, wrapped it around my hand until I had the right amount of tension hooked my release on an simulated drawing, holding, and shooting.
I just don't know. It's an aging thing I thnik!!! Probably meant to say "15 wks- just shy of 4 months" for those who count in months rather than weeks.
I do know that I am anxious to "get back in the ball game" but, I don't want to get on the field too soon.
Nov 11, 1994 completely shattered my L-1 vertabrae, 4 days in ICU, 11 days total in hospital, 6 1/2 hours of surgery. T-12, L-1 and L-2 fused and 2-8" rods, 8 hooks and 2 screws in my spine. 1 month of doing nothing then getting up and moving around. Had to go back to a compound from my recurve but was shooting a 60# bow by Jan and killed a deer with it later on. My only problems are where 1 of the rod ends sticks up and if I bend over for long periods of time it will cause me to get a knot in my back. My other issue is not related to the fusion as I have no issues with it but is due to my limited flexibility in my back due to the location of damage as I only have 2 discs to flex in my lower spine and both of those discs are degenerative so I have to be careful how I bend down, twist or pick up stuff and I have learned to stretch and pop my back every morning before getting out of bed and can actually go many days without the normal chronic back pain I use to live with. That's my story! Oh I was a paramedic at the time and was out of work for 6 months but upon returning to work I had no limitations as to what I could do and was back to picking up patients and carrying stretchers around with no problem.
Did PT exercises 3 days last week and began lite AROM exercises for neck. All was good.
Had one of my bows poundage decreased to 51# today! I could pull it back !! But, I did not want to push my luck, even though dr said I would start doing whatever I wanted to do again. I think "within reason" is the best tempo.
Will continue PT exercises for back, shoulders and arms for 2 more weeks and AROM exercises on neck. I believe there is a strong chance I could be doing limited bow shooting in 3 weeks. Then, as strength is regained, bow poundage can be increased.
Thanks for everyone's input for your experiences.
Did any of you "Plate & Screws Club" members get a neck massage during rehab to help relax and loosen neck muscles?
No neck massage, but 2 young nurses gave me a sponge bath before surgery.Wonder if Obamacare will cover that!!
Had a lumbar laminectomy on 5 discs April 6, 2013. Still on Tylenol 3 for the pain. Taking one pill every 4 hours during the day. I can still shoot my bow but I have lost a lot of strength in my legs.
Every time I have had surgery on my spine I have tried to get the nurses to give me a sponge bath and they just won't do it. You must be better looking than me.
Massage "Lite" scheduled for Monday, 9:00 AM. Masseuse told me 3 times she is "really good". She told me had perform this type of massage on Plate & Screws Club Members before following their surgery.
I told her that I would give her a fair evaluation after the massage and let her know if she is "really good". Will give a semi-live report on BS following massage.
"The only thing to fear is fear itself"
I bit the "bullet", make that the "shaft" today and shot 18 arrows at 51# with no pain following. Nothing great, but signs of progress!!
I recently have done my back massage treatment from Spa Bruxelles
, and now i don't have problem in my back. Spa treatment will give such beneficial results i have never imagined. So i suggest for cervical you must try some massage also.
Good thoughts. Think Bowriter experienced similar results recently with deep nuscle massages on his back.
I had three level discectomy with fusion of C4-C5-C6-C7 July 2016. Result of a bad auto accident 30 years earlier. Created a house of cards which finally collapsed, loss of feeling, hand control and strength in both arms, incredible pain during the last two years. Kudos to my surgeon and physical therapy staff for keeping me upright and working the past 5 years. Then the spinal cord became impacted so I had no choice but to, "go big or go home". I was on my back for a month and then another 4 months going from walker to unassisted and back on the clock. I elected to have them use bone from my left iliac crest to replace the discs. Multi level fusion is much more successful with your own live bone material rather than cadaver. The hip is almost harder to get over than the neck issues. I have a much improved disposition, regained hand sensation and strength. It went as well as it possibly could for a guy my age. To answer your questions: 1) Physical therapy is critical to long term recovery, no question. In addition, marching in a pool and long hill hikes using hiking sticks have brought great results for me. 2) Recovery to shoot has not yet happened for me. Another 4-6 months. You have the minimum recovery at 1 level, lucky you :). Immobilizing each disc reduces your range of motion about 20 degrees so I have a 30 degree range from center now. I'll have to change to an exaggerated, open stance, figure out the degree off target my shoulders consistently align and use a lighter bow with a shorter draw length. You may have less issue finding a good line than someone with a 2 or 3 level procedure. 3) Get away from pain meds as soon as you can and learn to be satisfied with ice and heat packs. Patience, don't rush it and don't put undo stress on the fused area as you explore your limitations. You can feel it when you hit the wall. Try to use your back and hips to compensate for reduced cervical range. There is a nasty little long term issue called "Adjacent disc deterioration" That is due to the discs above and below the fusion taking on more movement and stress. The onset is quicker and more prevalent in multiple level procedures. Delay that until below the topsoil if possible. Addition by subtraction!
Had 3 level cervical fusion....you WILL notice reduced range of motion and if you`re young enough will probably have issues above and below the fusion. I have had 13 major orthopedic surgeries and I will say this one gives me the most trouble.
Both my parents have had fusions my dad ended up with 13 total surgurys a year in a wheel chair 2 years with a walker or cane 8 years out of work, and is maybe 50% back to normal today my mom had hers done 2 weeks ago today and is already better than shes been in 2 years. I think your doctors skill has as much to do with recovery as anything honestly.
I had another fusion on June 5th.
I now have C4C,c5,c6, & c7 fused.
My first fusion I spent 6 days in the hospital.
This past fusion they started my surgery at 8:45am and I was home watching television by 3:30pm.
I was off of work for 3 weeks and was put on light duty.
I go back to full unrestricted tomorrow.
I will try and start shooting my bow sometime this week as our season opens the last Saturday of September.
Only having 3 vertebrae in your neck move will definitely make one change their stance to a more open stance. Hopefully I can get it worked out with a day or two of practicing then practice everyday.
I am scheduled for 4 disk fusion October 6. I have no choice as I am in constant pain and literally have no range of motion now. This follows emergency back surgery in May for a staph infection in my mid back. I have pretty much written off this year. I cannot turn my head enough to shoot a bow or gun. Driving is an adventure. My doc says 20% loss of normal range of motion. That will be an improvement of about 75% from now.
I had C5/6 13 years ago in February at age 39 and only laid off shooting a few weeks, hunted elk that Sept with no problem in some very steep country. Only had a few ibuprofen the week following and have done relatively well since, some issues last summer and on some omega 3s and natural anti-inflammatory supplements now. I do well unless I get to lifting too much during workouts and have to remember I'm not a kid any more. Good luck.
I had C2-C6 fused about 3 years ago(at age 49). I was off work for a couple weeks took it easy for 90 days then got back to normal. Since that time I have been on two moose hunts, leaving for my third on Thursday, one grizzly hunt and one caribou hunt.
I am very careful now about lifting etc. I also had L4-L5 left lateral fused two years ago. That one is still problematic from time to time, but its tolerable and much better. I will suggest NOT going to an Ortho, go to a neuro surgeon. Also INTERVIEW several surgeons before you decide on who you want. Make sure they understand what you like to do and what your expected results are before they operate. I interviewed three surgeons before I settled with the guy who did both of mine.
High x100 on neurosurgeon vs ortho!
Today is my first day back to normal work I got called in early and asked to stay over so 16.5 hours on my first day back.
Glad for the overtime I have not been allowed any overtime since June 5th. With health insurance cost now exceeding my house payment (Thanks Obama) its been a tad tight in the wallet.
Damn overtime list I only got 13 today