fusion & posture

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CaryF
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 5/22/2008 7:21 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi all,
 
Its been a week since my C-spine fusion and I have come to realize that I must have had poor posture for years as my posture now with my brace is perfect. It feels great o be able to sit and stand up so straight but I think I am using muscles that must have atrophied over the years. I'm assuming this is normal and eventually a good thing but for now its very painful. Does anyone else have a similar experience to share? The pain I'm experiencing is completely different to that of pre-op.
 
Thanks, Cary  

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/22/2008 8:43 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Cary,
Well, I've had a lumber fusion, not cervical, but let me say you're only a week out of surgery so of course you'll have some pain and discomfort. But you're right that likely your posture was off for quite awhile, and that the body's musculature compensates over time. I'd certainly talk with your surgeon about your pain, so it gets adequately managed now. You may need a muscle relaxant. Probably you're not going to be able to do physical therapy for awhile, but once you're healed enough to do that, a physical therapist can probably help you with the muscles and posture. For now, just follow your surgeon's instructions, take it easy, and let them know the pain you're experiencing to make sure you can remain reasonably comfortable while you're healing.

It will get better!

Perhaps others here who've had cervical fusions can chime in.

Hugs,
PaLady

CaryF
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 5/22/2008 9:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks PA!

Your pep talk was exactly what I needed today! I guess I've been feeling a wee bit sorry for myself but also proud I finally bit the bullet and did this hugely terrifying surgery. All went very well (so the Drs. say) & I can already tell the pain I've been suffering for many years is greatly dimnished.

How are you doing BTW?

Best, Cary

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/22/2008 5:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Cary,
The fact that the pain already diminished is a great sign! So you really want to take care, follow doc's orders and not overdo anything so you continue to have a successful sugery.

Unfortunately, my leg and foot pain never went away after my double fusion. It's been over 6 months now, and although there is still some hope my neurosurgeon did another MRI and said I was one of a couple of his patients for whom the minimally invasive approach didn't work. There's still soft tissue (possibly scar tissue) that's likely pressing on the nerve, so he wants to do a "traditional" surgery and as of now I'm saying no thanks. That's why I want to encourage you to take good care of yourself, since you've had good early results.

Once you're cleared to do physical therapy, you'll be able to heal some of those muscles that were out of place with a lot of work. So keep having hope!

Thanks for asking how I was doing! And I'm glad my little pep talk helped!

PaLady

Toritoo
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 184
   Posted 5/22/2008 10:48 PM (GMT -7)   
eyes  Hi Cary
 I just wanted to add my two cents in with PALady(Hey PALady!) who as usual has said basically what I would of said in the first place. She is a clever lady. So I just wanted to add a few things that might be helpful in the next few weeks or months. Don't push your-self too hard because then you get what they told me was called a flare up and your flat on your back all over again
So go slow and listen to your body. I've had 3 or 4 fusions and so much more and every time I got to the PT part I over did it. I so wanted to keep on feeling better that I make myself worse.
The posture thing you were talking about is cool is'nt it? When you have that brace on you walk taller, head up, neck well you get it so when they tell you it is ok to not wear your brace anymore keep up with the posture as hard as it is and don't twist or bend. Bad things happen when you do that well I should say when I do that. When you go thru PT they will help you a lot with that especially when you say something.
Lastly (because I'm tired) you sound as if you are doing great for one week post op and pity parties are always allowed (I think they are mandatory, I believe.) You sound like one of the lucky ones right now so I will keep my fingers crossed for you. Take care Cary.
 
Toritoo

CaryF
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 505
   Posted 5/23/2008 8:00 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks all for your great support and suggestions, I will follow Drs. orders strictly and talked with nurse yesterday about PT. I got a call from a home health care company that told me I was covered and came right out to start PT. THey did nothing except take few measurements and charged my insurance co. $240.00 (can't wait for the co-pay.) I feel like a dupe - there are ambulance chasers out there in every category! Nurse told me NO PT yet - my sister is walking me up & down part of the block to keep up my endurance safely.

I also mentioned to the nurse I oddly felt taller - thought it was due to my new & improved posture in brace. She said I WAS taller as almost an inch of (cadaver) bone has added to my neck. My sister measured me last night & sure enough I'm almost 5'4"! As a short person this is a wonderful unexpected benefit!

I also have some really exciting news that will keep my spirits up this summer. I auditioned as an extra for the next Coen film on a lark. They were looking for middle aged untrained folks who grew up in the specific neighborhood (that the Coen's did) with the "right" accents and can speak a little Yiddish. Well I got called back but won't have to audition again until Aug. so plenty of time to take it slow & easy. If I get in the movie I will get a t-shirt! If I have a speaking or singing part (if even praying in the service) I get $100! I'll let y'all know if you can look for me in pictures! Never done anything like this before!

Take care all!

Love, Cary

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/23/2008 11:33 AM (GMT -7)   
Cary,
I'm a little confused. It sounds WAY too early for you to be starting PT. I didn't start pT until 3 months after my fusion. You said the nurse said no PT but you called anyway?

And I want to prepare you a bit....you're not going to like it but I think you need to expect a longer recovery time than what anyone tells you. And August is only a couple of months away. If Lakeside reads this she can also chime in; she had a lumbar fusion, also, and we both agreed recovery is taking way longer than anyone told us. And even though I started PT after 3 months, it was really only things like heat and TENS unit and some ultrasound - no exercises for much longer. We all want it to move faster than it does, but that could jeopardize your success and recovery. Plus if you have a limited number of PT sessions (like most of us do) on insurance, you don't want to waste them!

I don't want to rain on your parade;quite the opposite. I want your surgery to be as successful as possible, but it sounds like you're moving too fast for someone that's only a week out!

PaLady

Toritoo
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 184
   Posted 5/23/2008 1:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey Cary,
I also agree with PALady but I understand your wants ie; to get back to your pre problem health ect. A fusion is something that needs time to mend and grow and starting PT to soon will be a waste for the reasons PALady said. You will only get a limited amount of visits and you don't want to waste them at PT when you can do them at home. Heat and ice a little gentle stretching and then when you are at the point when they do another MRI to see how the fusion is healing and if it is then start your PT and you will get so much more out of it. Be carefull, you don't want to rush this part of your recovery, it is so essential that the fusion is working and you don't want to ruin that from happening. Good luck Cary and try and be carefull. Don't forget the twisting thing either, avoid it as much as possible. Your kids need to know that you just can't do all those things they want, like picking them up and so on. It's not easy but it is doable, Have a great day, Toritoo

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13478
   Posted 5/27/2008 2:11 AM (GMT -7)   
My 2 cents, 1 week post-op your fusion is soft, it takes time for the fusion to become solid. Don't mess around here with this fusion, anyone will tell you, a failed fusion is no fun. You must very careful especially the first 6 weeks. Susie


mercyme
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 310
   Posted 5/27/2008 6:04 PM (GMT -7)   
 
 
  Hi Carey, wishing you a speedy recovery. Though I haven't had a fusion, I did just have a discectomy on May 5th.  It's been three weeks post op for me, still have some sciatica down my left leg, but nothing compared to pre surgery.  Hoping I never have to have a fusion.  take it easy, which is eaiser said then done I know, I need to listen to my own advise, lol.  I'm a good one to talk when it comes to taking it easy, I'm always doing something and it's been hard Trying to be laid back.  I am walking now, try to walk at least a mile every other day. 
 
  Take care,
 
  Mercyme :-)

keepingthefaith
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 331
   Posted 5/27/2008 7:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Cary, Sounds like your doing great.  But, I do know you have to take it very slow the fusion to take.  I have 2 herni disks C6-7 & raditating pain down the L arm along with numbness & tingling in the fingers.  I went for an epidural inject 2 weeks ago.  I do not feel it worked.  Now the Right side is starting to feel like the left.  Anyway, tomorrow I'm going to the ortho doc.  He might want me to take one more inject.  To be honest I feel like we're just prolonging the surgery.  I also have muscle weakness that is why the docs are very concerned.   Plus the darn shot is $2700. like you said wonder what the co-payment is.  I've had so many tests the bills should be pouring in.  Anyway, would you please give me your advice.  I want to tell the doc no shot & schedule surgery.  But of course, I'm afraid of complications too.  I'm darned if I do or don't.  Cary you been here, please tell me your advice.  Thanks.  Keep feeling better.  Remember, when you given orders from docs to relax & don't do much.  Take advantage, its GOD's way of telling you NEED to stop & rest your body.  Take care God Bless

Dx with CD 1987, 3 resections, 3 abcess sx, DDD neck/2 hernitated disks w/cervical radculpathy, DDD back & hips, bulging disk, Major depression/anxiety, kidney stones & sx to remove, now 45 yrs old.  Still trying to figure this disease out & of course all the little extra complications that come with this rollarcoaster of a life with CD. Possible cervical neck fusion to be scheduled.
 
Meds:Humira 40mg every other wk, Imuran .75 daily, welchol 625 x 3 daily, cymbalta 60 mg daily, fish oil, vit e,folic acid,Vit B12,inject monthly, Oscal w/Vit D, vicodin 4-5 daily 7.5
 
         
 
 


mercyme
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 310
   Posted 5/27/2008 7:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Keepthefaith,

I also had the epidural injections, and the next day I could walk a little better, then Bam! I was worst off then before the injections for me was a joke. I know they work for some people but didn't help me. I don't have any experience with fusions, just had a discectomy on L4/L5 on May 5th. Hang in there wishing you the very best. I know all about Keeping the Faith.

Blessings,

Mercyme

Toritoo
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 184
   Posted 5/28/2008 9:06 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Cary, Well it's been about another week since your fusion and I was wondering how you are doing? I also failed to mention before that for the first couple of weeks your body is still swollen from the surgery and also in my case the anethesia (sp?) did'nt wear off for a good two weeks after my surgery. So I did'nt feel the pain as much till after that time. I hope you are continuing to take it slow and easy and giving that fusion time to fuse. Good luck and I hope everything goes ok in your recovery.
Toritoo

mercyme
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 310
   Posted 5/29/2008 4:27 PM (GMT -7)   
Take Care Cary, I know nothing about a fusion only a discectomy. I had a discectomy 3 weeks ago, and hope it will be my last back surgery. any of you have bone spurs? I have bone spurs in my neck which I think is causing my migraines and arm pain. I had a protruding disc at L4/L5 and mild disc degeneration. I hope you are doing well today, just try to take it easy I know a fusion is twice as hard on you then a discectomy.

Many Blessings,

Mercyme

keepingthefaith
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 331
   Posted 5/29/2008 6:30 PM (GMT -7)   

Well, I'm going to have the fusion June 10.  Scared, but, at least hopeful.  I want to get off all these meds, esp. the vicodin. 

Cary, let us know how you are doing.  What kind of followup treatment do you have.  Do you wear a brace?  How long were you in the hosp.  Any chance your from NW Indiana?


Dx with CD 1987, 3 resections, 3 abcess sx, DDD neck/2 hernitated disks w/cervical radculpathy, DDD back & hips, bulging disk, Major depression/anxiety, kidney stones & sx to remove, now 45 yrs old.  Still trying to figure this disease out & of course all the little extra complications that come with this rollarcoaster of a life with CD. Possible cervical neck fusion to be scheduled.
 
Meds:Humira 40mg every other wk, Imuran .75 daily, welchol 625 x 3 daily, cymbalta 60 mg daily, fish oil, vit e,folic acid,Vit B12,inject monthly, Oscal w/Vit D, vicodin 4-5 daily 7.5
 
         
 
 


Lakeside
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 6/3/2008 10:35 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Cary! And Toritoo! And PALady and all my other CP pals!

Cary, your question about your new improved posture and the "new" pains from that really hit me (no pun) as for the past 3 weeks I've been more miserable as my spine, now STRAIGHT (per my recent MRI) and for the 1st time in years is (according to the report) "in normal anatomical allignment".  Which means yippee! The spondy is gone! Everything is perferctly straight, nothing is being pinched or compressed & I am already 5' 10" so I haven't bothered to measure myself (but congrats to you on getting taller!) but MAN OH MAN!! The new pain is tremendous as the fusion sets-up.  I coulnd't believe it...!  Just spasms and muscle cramps all up & down my whole back & even into my abs...NS said it's all normal and to be expected and just goes to show how successful the whole fusion is, but holy cow!  I never expected this!

That's why I've been off the Board lately---trying to adjust to this & get off the heavy pain meds, now that I know it's healing pain & normal to feel this way.  Taking only Advil & Valuim now, plus a sleeper in the PM, so use ice/heat/gentle streches during the day. NS also said "No PT yet" even tho I'm almost 5 months out.  And when I do start it, he said it'll be mostly "passive" things like myofascial release massage, isometric exercises & heat/ultra sound. NO heavy stuff, no weights, not even the basic post-lammy things they had me do last year.  He said it will take a FULL YEAR or more for the fusion to be solid enough to withstand more than that.  So, as others have mentioned, GO SLOW !  As Tori said, you don't want to un-do the good results you have and also you want to "save" that PT allotment for when you're stronger & better able to gain strength, not pain, from it.

So I'm feeling rather lousy! And this rain doesn't help (sorry Lady, you're next!) I'm like a walking barometer now--I knew we were in for this damp/rainy weather b4 the forecast even came out!

Carry on, Cary!  Sounds like you're off to a great start!  Hold back, don't over-do and like my NS said "When you start to feel better, then you need to do LESS!"  Amen to that!

~~Lakeside, totally straightened-out, but doubled-over w/ "healing pain"!LOL


Nov. 06-- Lammy @ L4, removal of spinal cystic tumor @ L4/5(benign)
 
Dec. 06--Re-operation for post-surgical spinal fluid leak.  2nd surgery caused sciatic nerve damage & radiculopathy in R leg/foot,  increased spinal instability (grade 1 spondy, 17%), epidural scar tissue binding nerve roots, damaged facet joints & worsened DDD @ L4/5
 
Jan.  08--PLIF fusion/discetomy surgery w/pedicle screw instrumentation @ L4/L5, another lammy (@ L/5 this time) & bone marrow harvest from left iliac crest for packing bone around disc cages after total discectomy @ L4/5. 


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/3/2008 10:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Lakeside -
Great to hear from you and to learn the reason for your absence is good, although not painless (this makes sense only to some of us!). And even though I had PT started at about 3 months out, it was as you said very, very passive stuff. And unfortunately that's why I used up all my visits so fast, and my angels of a PT saw me at no charge for awhile. Now I'm working to tighten the ligaments in my SI joint, and wearing the belt - the belt you wear for about 6 weeks, but I think the exercises may be for life. And if they keep that SI joint in place it's worth it. But these have really been the first "exercises" I've done (Cary pay attention here ) and my surgery was last September!

One thing I did get was something that's very similar to a TENS unit. I lucked out and the rep. was at my PT's office when I was still seeing him, and they wrere giving away (don't worry - they get paid by insurance for your supplies!) these machines that are very similar to TENS but a little different. It's called an intraferential stimulation and my PT said while TENS is designed only for pain, the Intra. Stim. is designed for pain and to increase blood flow. You have to hook up the electrodes differently which is comical to watch as I have to do it myself, but the unit really has helped. It goes through batteries like crazy, so I found a 9V battery charger online, and use rechargeable batteries. I wonder if you could you this, Lakeside? It might help manage pain, but there's no pressure or exercises or anything. You've probably already had it at your PT's office.

Anyway, take it slow Cary!!! And we know how frustrating that is firsthand!

PaLady
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