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neck fusion
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neck fusion

just wanted to see if any members had a fusion on there neck? i had one down about 3 months ago felt GREAT but for the past 2 weeks my left side can hardly turn and sharp pains. Have follow up with ortho in the morning, but just wanted to see.

Thanks

  Jay :)
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes I've had a neck fusion a few years ago and have a lot of problems, not with the fusion itself but now my other disks are either herniated or degenerating.  The neurosurgeon who saw me can't do anything, the pain doctor has been giving me epidural once every three months and narcotics for the pain.  I'm set up to get a stimulator in my back and up my neck sometime in the future to see if that will work.  Sorry your having issues, but it does not surprise me at all.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thankyou,
Im just afraid its not healing right. It feels very strange and i lost alot of turning to my left, i started to get headaches and loss of pain again in my arm, thats how it all started.
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Avatar_f_tn
My husband had a back fusion after a terrible car accident, he actually had a vertebrae pop out of his spine.  He said after he had it done it felt like it kept trying to pull apart on him but the doctors told him it was normal.  He said wearing the back brace made it feel better.  Did they give you a neck brace?  I know you're not supposed to use the brace too much because it can cause you to rely on it.
From what I have heard about fusions, though, it sounds pretty typical.  
I've never had a fusion, though so this is just second hand info.  
I hope you feel better!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Jay,

I have never had a fusion either but I wanted you to know that I'm really sorry that you are having pain that is causing you such concern!!

I'm VERY glad that you have an appointment wiht your Ortho Dr. tomorrow and I HOPE that you will be sure and let us know what he says!!

We will ALL be waiting on pins and needles until you update us as we ARE all concerned for you.

I just want you to know that we ARE all here for YOU!!!.....Sherry
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82861_tn?1333457511
Twice.  Anterior laminectomy with fusion C6-C7 in 1995 and posterior discectomy with fusion & plates C4-C7 in 1996.  Ended up in worse pain until 1998 when I finally had enough.  I didn't even know such an animal as pain management existed and no pain meds were forthcoming.  Figured I'd either break myself and have to go on disability or I'd cure myself.  This is what happens when you're at the end of your rope - you make bad decisions.  LOL!

Do NOT try this at home!  I can't imagine any doctor approving what I did but at that point I'd had enough of listening to doctors.  I put an obscene amount of money toward a gym membership and a personal trainer for 6 months.  Four days of weight training, two of cardio, and one day off.  My whole body hurt so bad those first couple of weeks I didn't even notice the neck and arm pain.  The only thing that didn't hurt was maybe my hair.

Gradually my body stopped revolting and in about a month or so I realized my neck and arm pain was completely gone.  I had also recovered most of the range of motion in my neck.  My head was nearly frozen, which made driving a scary proposition.  Today, I only notice a maybe a couple of degrees missing when looking to left, and turn my whole body when checking the road before changing lanes.  

Physical therapy never made a difference after either of my surgeries.  In hindsight, that was partly because not enough weight resistant exercises were done.  Then there was my own mindset that screamed, "If it hurts, STOP doing that!"  I gave up too soon.  I've had other orthopedic surgeries on my knee and two on my left shoulder.  I did fine with the shoulder surgeries because I devoted myself to the rehab.  Yeah, it hurt like crazy but I knew I had to do it.  I neglected PT with my knee surgery that was done in my senior year of high school.  That left me with adheions packed in the joint and made for a weak leg for 20 years.  Once I started in the gym and particularly got into rollerblading, I had no more problems with my knee locking or worse giving out completely.  

In my personal experience, surgeons do not properly prepare their patients for the reality of post-op care and the importance of PT.  Recovery and a good outcome depends upon the patient.  The surgeon can fix whatever is mechanically wrong, but it is entirely up to the patient to do the rehab work.  Doctors cannot force a patient do it, and like me, most people give up too soon because of the increased pain.  Doctors also tend to undertreat the increased pain brought on by PT further lessening the chances of a good outcome.

Looking back, I was actually far better served by NOT having my pain treated with meds for my neck-related pain.  Desperation is the mother of change, so I changed instead of laying around trying to mask the pain with pills.  I know I was extremely lucky that it all succeeded, and again do NOT do what I did without talking to your doctor!

My pain issues now are entirely abdominal and I have had no ortho problems other than arthritis in my hips for some 10 years.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I had a thumb fusion, which has failed.  I was at the end of my rope (I thought).  I had already had seven surgeries before I had the fusion.  If I could go back in time, I'd never have had any.

My BF has 3 herniated disks in his neck.  Several doctors have suggested a fusion, on one disk in particular.  He's not into it.  But his pain is bad and he takes Percocet for it.  Our PCP doesn't think the surgery is a good idea for him, at least at this point.  After doing some research for him, I don't think he should do it either.

But he's a mailman; so it aggravates the disks all the time.  He's considered to be on light duty but it really doesn't help him much.

I hope your appointment goes well tomorrow, and I'm interested in hearing what your doctor has to say about it.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks all!
He gave me a brace but only for a week, i do wear a collar at night for 4 hours, its suppose to help with the growth of the bone. My brother in law is a pt, but i think my problem is i dont rest, im always chasing my little boys lol.

But serious thanks, i will let you know what happens....

Jay
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1301089_tn?1290670171
Hi Jay:  I had one on C5/6.  I needed a 3 level fusion but the insurance would only cover the one level.  

After finishing P/T, I was still in pain.  I ended up with nerve damage that hurts to this day.  I'm still having trouble with the other 2 levels that needed it.  I won't have another fusion unless I lose function of my hands again.
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Avatar_m_tn
Sara,
Thats what happened in the start,i lost muscle in my tricepe then could not hold my arm straight up. I tried shots, PT, you name it then surgery, felt good afterward, but last 2 weeks, my wife knows its starting to hurt b/c she sees me guarding it. I am starrting to get headaches and some loss strength.

Well hopefully its just a small step back, but i think its more, i agree, no more unless i need too.

Jay ;)
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655875_tn?1295698707
I had a fusion last year.  I'm in very severe pain and I'm looking for a very good neurosurgeon to find out what is going on and why my spinal cord is being sliced and what the heck is in there slicing my spinal cord on the level below the fusion(this just found on MRI a few weeks ago).  I've been in very severe pain since my surgery.  Lately, the arm pain has been so severe also that it has been taking my breath away.  I also have two discs that are herniated that are not quite bad enough to operate on.  They were there with the inital neck injury.
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Avatar_f_tn
At last MRI, which was in Sept 09 (I think) there was some stenosis and more degeneration and herniation of one of my discs.  They didn't think it was bad enough to operate on for my age (28 now).  Now that I have read more about fusions, I am seriously leaning towards an artificial disc replacement.  I've heard and read really good things about it.
My husband basically did what Jaybay did after his fusion.  He was let go from work when he was rear-ended and almost died in a parked car hit by a drunk driver in a Durango.  He had broken bones and a vertebra completely out.  He had no income nor insurance so when he woke up from the coma after a month, he strapped on the back brace and went back to work.  He didn't know about PM either and since he discharged himself, they gave him nothing for all of the pain.  He went to work for a utility company pulling man-hole lids and getting down inside them and he swears it was the best thing he could have done.  He also pushed through the terrible pain with PT and was determined to use his left arm.  (His ulnar nerve was severed as well).  Now he uses it more than his right and tries to keep the strength up.  
He tells me to do the same thing and when I was dealing with all the atrophy pain in PT he encouraged me to keep at it.  I haven't kept it up as well as I should, but I don't baby my arm and neck anymore.  I make sure to use them so I don't get that level of atrophy again.  
Thanks for the inspiring story, Jaybay.  I hope someday to build the muscles back up so that they pull my neck into alignment.
I hope you feel better Jayman, and get some answers at the ortho.
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