In July 2003, I had a fusion at C4-5 and C5-6. I have been experiencing a lot of problems in that area recently. I was recently told that the fusion was putting pressure on C3-4 and C6-7 and they were degenerating and that another fusion was likely. My question is: Is it normal to have additional fusions? I have known several people who have had a fusion and not needed another.
I think that is what no Dr. tells you about the first fusion. I am in the exact same situation and have NOW been told that fusion puts additional strain on the vertebrae the screws and plate are into. I had my first fusion in May of 03 as well and now have degeneration of the discs above and below my fusion/plate. I've also been told by two neurosurgeons that I will need an additional fusion. I have tried epidurals, trigger point injections, PT, tens unit, postural pump...everything to avoid an additional surgery. The first was not a pleasant experience for me at all. I know I can't go through this every 3-4 years! I am now on vicodin, lyrica for the nerve damage this recent impingement has caused, sleeping pills yadda yadda. I too have heard of a few people that seem to be ok, but they are only new into their post-op (year or two). I thought everything was somewhat better after the first fusion, but little by little all the symptoms came back and then some. This is so discouraging.
what are your symptoms?? weakness, numbness, loss of function in the arms/hands/fingers MAY be indications for surgery, Pain in and around the neck is usually a muscular problem. a "degenerating disc-- common is most people over 30) is not in itself a reason to have surgery---
If you are asking me, my symptoms are very stiff/painful neck, shoulders, burning/shooting pains in shoulders, traps, and down both arms. I can barely lift anything with my right arm and seem to drop things I thought I had a grip on. The pain just shoots down both arms, front and back of arms. I am very weak and have lost all muscle in both arms and shoulders as well. At times I can not type because my fingers will not move properly. I noticed my signature on a document I had to sign the other day and it didnt' even look like my signature. Two neurosurgeons have said it is severe degeneration and it is rapidly advancing due to the fact I just had a fusion in 03. So do you think your regimen would work for me? I printed some of the things out from Jolie Bookspan's site and am trying some of the exercises.
I just thought in reading your recommended literature surgery can be avoided with the excercises Bookspan is recommending. It says even when major problems are indicated, if you fix the source of the problem (with stretches etc...) usually the problem can heal without surgery. As you can see I am really trying not to have another fusion and will try anything and everything first. I just feel another fusion will lead to yet another fusion down the road until I can no longer turn my neck or head. The first surgery fixed the radiating arm pain and numbness, but the shoulder and neck pain remained throughout the 3 years until all the pain returned and now I have the problems before the first surgery with more degenerated discs, osteophytes and herniations. The burning between the traps is tremendous.
good luck in your efforts. as you may be able to tell i am a true beleiver in this stuff. get the muscles to work the way nature intended and the bones around those nerves will be in the right places-----this can only be a good thing. Jolie Bookspan took me from hell to heaven.
Did you just do the exercises in the book? Which book did you order, the stretching smarter? I printed something off the web site that has a wall stand test, Pec stretch and trap stretch. I am trying to do them, but still have a lot of burning in the back of my arms and traps. I know you said to get an ok from the Dr. but I don't see the next Dr until November so I thought I would just see if I couuld do these. I have been trying them the last 2 days and my traps and shoulders feel slightly less "pull" the burning is still present. I am very interested in the things you did to alleviate your problems. Didn't you also have herniated disc, osteophyte etc...? I won't hold you accountable, I'm just interested in helping myself as much as I can before I go under the knife again.
most people over 30 have herniations and osteophytes and i am no exception. these things had nothing at all to do with my symptoms--unfortunalely it took me a couple of years to believe that. symptoms will take time to go away-- just be diligent and patient.---do the stretches as often as you can-- and hold each stretch for a few minutes, not a few seconds. the stretcxhes are all prettym much the same in all the different books. it;s doing them often and correctly that counts. the muscles that musually need stretching are the scalenes, SCMS, upper traps, lev scapulae, pec maj, pec minor. the mid back muscles should not be stretched-- they should be strengthening with rowing type exercises that pinch the shoulder blades together.
I had cervical fusion July 3rd at C4-5 and C5-6. I had severe pain in my right arm, with large bone spurs hitting both the nerves and spinal cord. My surgery went remarkably well and I am racewalking and cross country skiing once again. I am worried about overdoing it with weights or strength training. Any suggestions on stretches or exercises that aid in recovery and long term? I know about the advanced degeneration above and below the fusion site, my fusion actually corrected an abnormal cervical vertebrae so I am unsure if I will have acceleerated degeneration. Anyone have any exercises or activities that are definite no-no's? Thanks
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