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Old 03-07-2011, 07:50 PM   #1
762nato OP
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Riding after Neck Fusion

I had a car accident a little over a year ago and herniated two discs in my neck, long story short had them fixed two weeks ago with 5 6 7 fused together. Just wondered if anybody is riding with a fusion and if you are are you having any problems with it. Am driving a car now but checking blind spot by looking over your sholder isn't happening at this point.
Also is there anything that should be avoided other than crashing with should always be avoide. TIA
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:38 PM   #2
74C5
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C5-6 fusion in '02. Woke up pain free. Couldn't have been better even if I'd paid for a "happy ending".
For some other reasons, sold the bike not long after. Got back on two years ago and no problems.
However, mostly off the bike I have noticed a tendancy to get a bit of a 'jolt' from any jolts. Not sure what is going on with that but, no issues after 3 or 4 seconds.
Work very hard on regaining range of motion once cleared to do so. I was fortunate in that I only lost a tiny bit of looking down.

Best wishes!
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:44 PM   #3
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I've had the exact same operation. 20 years ago, I had an AF pilot drop a 40 pound pubs bag (it carries all the maps and charts you need to fly anywhere in the world) directly on top of my head from 15 feet above me. Knocked the poop outta me. They had to carry me off the airplane tied to a backboard, and I was sure my neck was broken. X-rays showed "no damage", but my neck hurt 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for the next 18 years. Finally, I woke up one morning in the most incredible pain I have ever felt. If my dog had that pain, I'd have shot him. I was on active duty at the time, and the AF didn't even want to MRI me until I had hysterics in the flight surgeon's office. Yep, 2 ruptured discs. They were beyond ruptured. One was basically gone, the other one was in pieces. When I moved my head, I could feel the bones grinding around in there. So I got off active duty, went home, and saw a Neurosurgeon. He MRI'd me again, and recommended immediate surgery. I JUMPED on that. Less than a month later, I had two little "clips" inserted between C5 and C6, and C6 and C7. I had no problems with the surgery, and 2 months later, I was back on my bike. I wear a full face helmet, and I was careful how I took it off, but other that that, I've had no problems. I have pretty much a full range of motion in my neck, and no pain at all.

If anyone has ruptured discs in the neck, go for the surgery. I didn't even need pain meds after the operation. I had the surgery in December of 2008, and I've had no pain since then, and no more bones grinding in there. Unfortunately, all the dilly-dallying by the Air Force resulted in permanent nerve damage in my right hand: the thumb, index, and middle finger are always numb and tingling, and sometimes on really long motorcycle rides, I can't feel how tightly I'm grasping the throttle so I'll get pain in that hand.

Sorry my answer is so long.....my husband says I talk too much . I hope it helped you tho. My advise: wait, heal, ride, have fun.
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:36 PM   #4
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My sister had two fusions, 3 vertabrae (sp?) in her neck. If I remember to watch, I can see that she has lost much rotational ability. Some days there are no problems. On other days, just the weight of her helmet, gives her problems.
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:43 PM   #5
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Give it time to heal. While I have not had a fusion I did break mine back in '91'. My Brother-in-law and my best friend both ride and have had neck fusion surgeries. They are fine now but at first long rides were a bit troublesome.

Let it heal and listen to your PT and Doctor.
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c5babe View Post
My advise: wait, heal, PT, ride, have fun.
+1 with that correction. As with anything, work in PT will make worlds of difference in quality of life down the road. I did it right with my knee but wrong with my back and I'm already paying the price.
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:32 PM   #7
markk53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 762nato View Post
I had a car accident a little over a year ago and herniated two discs in my neck, long story short had them fixed two weeks ago with 5 6 7 fused together. Just wondered if anybody is riding with a fusion and if you are are you having any problems with it. Am driving a car now but checking blind spot by looking over your sholder isn't happening at this point.
Also is there anything that should be avoided other than crashing with should always be avoide. TIA
In June of 1990 I stuck the face of a double jump, slamming my chest into the bars instead of going over the bars. I shattered C6, took a 7 hour operation to pick out the bone chips in what is normally a 4 hour operation. A new piece of bone was inserted and C5, C6, T1 (aka C7 by some) are fused. I have residual nerve damage from a bone chip that pressed against my spinal cord for 22 days while the ruptured lung healed enough for the neck operation. That nerve damage affects my arms and legs mainly in sensory ways, with burning in the arms along with lack of feel in my right leg and minimal muscle/coordination loss in my left leg(Brown Sequard Syndrome), but I was riding about 10 months after and driving 6 months after. In December after the accident the nerosurgeon told me "you can ride now" in our last appointment when he told me I didn't need the soft collar anymore. From our discussions in the hospital when I was learning to walk again I learned he was once a motorcyclist in Spain and my respiratory surgeon was still a motorcyclist, riding a Ducati 888 back then. In recovery we knew I'd be back on a bike if all went well - which it did.

Obviously I can not turn my head as far right or left, nor can I look up easily when on a really low bar sportbike. Otherwise no problems. Looking over my shoulder isn't as easy and I do lean forward so I can twist my trunk to do so when driving. I do dual sport riding and no really tough off road stuff. I always have preferred the layout of a standard sport style, superbike bars with minimal forward lean, or the off road and flat track layout, but after the fusion there was really no way I could do the sportbike layout trying to get decent neck flex with half the vertebrae working.

Regardless, you can get a fair amount of rotation, just now I did a quick side to side and it's about probably 160 degrees rotation,

As for what to avoid, basically as you say - don't do it again or the break will be up in "quad" or "death" land (C1-4) and not too good.
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Old 03-10-2011, 10:45 PM   #8
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Had a laminectomy of C-6, 7 and T1 from degenerative joint issues. Didn't realize a problem until right hand quit working. Tried to qualify with pistol and dropped it. Week after surgery back working on the Harley with minimal rotational issues, only losing a little bit on the end. My neurosurgeon just said dont go and do any head plants that will mess up all my hard work.
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Old 03-11-2011, 04:12 PM   #9
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I have degenerative C5 and C6 , pinched nerves and numbness in left hand. I go to monthly traction and have modified my former powerlifting workouts to higher reps lower weight. My Dr advised against fusion and frankly it is scary. I am tired of stifness and pain however. Hate to highjack a thread but your stories make me wonder if I should have fusion...???
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Old 03-11-2011, 04:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzz363 View Post
I have degenerative C5 and C6 , pinched nerves and numbness in left hand. I go to monthly traction and have modified my former powerlifting workouts to higher reps lower weight. My Dr advised against fusion and frankly it is scary. I am tired of stifness and pain however. Hate to highjack a thread but your stories make me wonder if I should have fusion...???
Did you talk with a good neurosurgeon? Why not fuse them? I'm no expert, so don't take this as saying the doctor is wrong, just the question of what the one who is more expert in the field might say and why the one says not to do so.
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Hate to highjack a thread but your stories make me wonder if I should have fusion...???
The risk of surgical problems is low...just get a surgeon with at least one good eye. The risk of permanent nerve damage is high.
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Old 03-12-2011, 04:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 762nato View Post
I had a car accident a little over a year ago and herniated two discs in my neck, long story short had them fixed two weeks ago with 5 6 7 fused together. Just wondered if anybody is riding with a fusion and if you are are you having any problems with it. Am driving a car now but checking blind spot by looking over your sholder isn't happening at this point.
Also is there anything that should be avoided other than crashing with should always be avoide. TIA
I have C4 to C7 fused and find little change in motion. I ride highways and dirt. I own three bikes just watch the jumping and big bumps. A cruiser because of the seating position would really bother my L4-L5 that was repaired also.
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:50 PM   #13
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Broke C6 in a MTB crash

It is fused to C7.

I had some restriction in movement initially but now 3 years later I have the slightest "tightness" at the extremes of movement. Looking over my shoulder is fine but was a bit tight to begin with. My left index finger has about 30% loss of feeling but that's it. I guess I am very lucky.

I ride offroad and crash often. I wear a leatt neck brace. I suffer no discomfort. Recently I took a pretty hefty blow to the helmet from a branch that I ducked into. I think the brace took most of the compression but it rung my bell a bit. A few days later I was a bit stiff but fine.

Everyones experience will be unique. Listen to your body, it is your best guide.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:18 AM   #14
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My wife had 5,6 & 7 done due to degeneration. She woke up one morning in so much pain she didn't get off the couch except to go to the doctors until she had the surgery. That was ten years ago and she works out everyday and rides horses and bicycles like a fiend. She was very methodical about her rehabilitation. The first six months were pretty rough. She tried to return to work as a nurse after three and it just wasn't happening. By eighteen months out she was better than she'd ever been. She'd previously suffered low grade pain she wasn't even aware of.

I have a friend who had the same surgery but he smokes and only went through the physical therapy his doctor insisted on. He's pain free but has some range of motion issues.

I have a neighbor who's afraid of the surgery and's been on disability for ten years. She keeps saying she doesn't want to end up a "quad" probably because of something she read on the internet. Doesn't seem like much of a life to me.

Good luck. I hope you have the surgery and develop a new found taste for sportbikes and clipons.
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