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  1. #1
    Registered User wchase's Avatar
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    Unhappy Life after neck fusion.....

    I just wanted to share my situation and see if I can get some answers...I cant get anything from my doctors, other than the response "I don't know".

    I went through a C5-6 C6-7 neck fusion in Oct 2009. I was involved in a work related vehicle crash. I experienced severe muscle spasams in my left tri-cep, left peck, and left lat. It continued for three days straight and was extremely painful. I ended up needing surgery which was put off due to my employer for approximately 6 months after the crash, and now approximately 16months later, I still have about 50% strength in the effected areas. I was pressing on a weekly basis, 250 for 3 sets of 10. I cant even do 90lb dumbells for a set of 8 now.
    I had extensive muscle atrophy in my left peck and tri-cep. Thus brings my question....Is this nerve damage or just the normal process of rebuilding? I cant even get a good pump in my left peck now. My tri-cep gets really sore and stays sore for days after a workout. I am currently only using two supplements, Jacked 3d and Myofusion protein.
    My doctor stated that after 18months post op, where I am strength wise is where I will be for life. I find this disturbing, due to the fact that my strength is not coming back and I am 2-3 months from that time.

    Has anyone gone through this before? Any advice? Any supplement advice? I am getting worried that this may be the end of a 14 yr lifting binge......
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  2. #2
    Registered User wchase's Avatar
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    ....No One has had a neck fusion?
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  3. #3
    Registered User swigert's Avatar
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    your not gonna get many people who have had a neck fusion.

    have you done physical therapy?

    have you gotten second opinions?

    honestly no doctor can give u that answer that ur strength will be stagnant for life.

    get a second opinion, seek out a good physical therapist
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  4. #4
    Registered User roccodabull's Avatar
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    I had a neck fusion 8 months ago

    Originally Posted by wchase View Post
    ....No One has had a neck fusion?
    Hey yes two level fusion c5c6-7. I am training again and taking it slow.. My bench is still decent doing 3 sets for 15 reps with 225 after a year lay off.. Everything I do is mind muscle based with on point form. You will beat this! I had six back surgeries and still going strong! Take your fish oil and try a little Deca for your joints ..
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  5. #5
    Registered User stimpysan's Avatar
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    I had a neck fusion in 2006. I have been in almost constant pain since. I have done everything possible in the last four years that the doctors told me to. Because I had to wait almost 3 years to get my surgery I had severe atrophy in my left arm and chest. First advise I can give you is don't believe a word your doctor says because if you go to another one they will tell you something different. You can still build muscle after 18 months. I'm over 4 years out and started lifting 3 months ago and notice a big difference. I started benching only 20 lbs. not because I couldn't lift more but it caused severe pain afterwords. I'm up to 40 now 3X10. My whole workout is based on how much pain I can take when I'm done. I have noticed a huge difference in my everyday life since I started whey and casein protein at night. I take just the micronized creatine with grape juice and within an hour I can feel it in my arms and chest. If you have pain issues don't take pain meds. I developed a heart condition from them. I now take Turmeric, Krill oil, Vit. D, Osteo Byflex and a multi and it seems to at least make things manageable. I was told to never lift anything over ten pounds again because the fused disc has reherniated. Best advise I can give you is the turtle wins the race so take it slow. Your body will never be the same so you have to find a new normal.
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  6. #6
    Registered User Astazi's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by stimpysan View Post
    You can still build muscle after 18 months. I'm over 4 years out and started lifting 3 months ago and notice a big difference. I started benching only 20 lbs. not because I couldn't lift more but it caused severe pain afterwords. I'm up to 40 now 3X10.
    Who told you you couldn't build muscle after 18 months? Am I reading that right? You should have started physical therapy just a few weeks after surgery to slowly start improving your range of motion with an eye towards rebuilding strength within the first 6 months to a year post op. PT and massage combined will alleviate some of the pain and low dose pain meds should only have been used on an as needed basis during recovery. If you haven't been doing so, get back on the physical therapy, massage and light stretching bandwagon. Even with limited range, it will still help. Just my 2 cents.
    "Eu niciodată nu se va opri."
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  7. #7
    Registered User stimpysan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by wchase View Post
    My doctor stated that after 18months post op, where I am strength wise is where I will be for life. I find this disturbing, due to the fact that my strength is not coming back and I am 2-3 months from that time.
    ......
    I read this in his post
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  8. #8
    Registered User Astazi's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by stimpysan View Post
    I read this in his post
    Sh*t, I scanned it and missed that. Ok that's what I get for not slowing down and paying attention to all the little details. Sorry about that! Seriously though, I'm not buying into the time limit. Yes it will be slow going, but continued progress is still possible.
    "Eu niciodată nu se va opri."
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  9. #9
    Registered User stimpysan's Avatar
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    I don' believe it either. I have the same herniation I had before the fusion and thorasic outlet syndrome in my left arm and chest which still causes nerve problems and restricted blood flow and I'm making slow progress.
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  10. #10
    Registered User flipperch's Avatar
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    I had my first fusion, C5-C6, in July 2012. I had herniated it previously about 11 years prior before massively herniating this time. Post-op, I did exactly what my neuro said to do, which was not very helpful-just isometric exercises in the first three months. I think I paid for that with extensive scar tissue and arm/neck pain. The best advice I ever got was from my pain management doc. When I was complaining about the severe left bicep pain with arm movement (such as on the elliptical), he reminded me that my muscles had atrophied, especially the left bicep, and to keep moving that arm. I followed his advice, got my range of motion back, figured out he was right, and got my strength back working out. But even at the 3 month mark, walking across the backyard was too much even, leaving me to feel like I would pass out. It was a hard recovery. I took my pain pills just to get through workouts for quite awhile.

    This second surgery (C4-C5 which was looking ugly prior to the first surgery but wasn't my main issue at the time) was incredibly different, including a different neurosurgeon. I had severe left arm pain that was different from anything previous-it changed locations, arm would go cold/numb in different places, glove feeling on lower arm, blah, blah, blah. I self-diagnosed myself with some type of thoracic outlet syndrome or other brachial plexus issue, but now I believe it was major scar tissue affecting more than one nerve level.

    I went into that second surgery in the best of shape, with as much muscle as I have ever had. The post-op pain level was maybe a quarter of the first surgery, even from the time I woke up, post-op. I remember asking if they had actually done the surgery because the pain level was so low. The neuro said it took alot of time because he had to remove an significant amount of scar tissue just to get to the discs. I knocked out 20 pushups the day after (down from my 36/min the day before surgery) without straining my neck (anterior fusion btw). I am almost at the 3 month post-op mark. I do isometric exercises a few times a day, workout daily (to whatever weight is comfortable), and was running 4 milers before the 6 week mark (felt great). Another difference was before the second surgery, I had changed my lifestyle to include a high-protein, lower carb diet and take a pre-workout (that says they list all the ingredients and the dosage for them) daily. At the 8 week post-op mark, I had a hysterectomy that I healed superfast from as well (back to work two days later and comfortably running at the two-mark) Just unbelievable the difference.

    I have avoided getting medical'd from the military, have no work restrictions, and in the best shape of my life. Life after fusion can be awesome. But I worked for it. From everything I have read, most scar tissue forms by the three month mark. And smoking/tobacco is a major no-go, to avoid contributing to more pain and/or fusion failure. So I have not let up during this time and really work at any and all range of motion exercises. Can't sleep on right side without the left side of my neck hurting (caused by hardware? dunno) and throat is dead numb from the surgery cut up under my chin. But I will take the trade-off.
    Last edited by flipperch; 04-30-2014 at 06:11 PM.
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