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Who has had c3-c7?

4jkasper44jkasper Posts: 231
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am just wanting to get some input from other people who have had c3-c7 fused to see how their ROM is and how much pain they are in. Are they on disability or working....Just want to see how "others" are dong with that level of a fusion.Thanks ~X(


  • hi there. My surgery was 8/21/07. I am still struggling to get my life back. I don't know what you specifically want to know. I still have pain in my right arm and my neck is not pain free. There was no pain in my neck before surgery - it was all down my arms and into my hands. I am getting massage weekly for ROM and it is helping more than PT did. I have gained more ROM in the past three months than in the nine previous months. I am dealing with depression and am now on several medications for this and for pain. Hope this helps.

  • pupmomma,
    Thank you for your response, I don't think there are whole lot of us out there with that many levels fused and I just am trying to find out if we are all about the same. I too am dealing with those issues. Are you able to work? I tried to go back but it is just too painful. I have applied for SSD.
    It is good to beable to talk with someone who is "in the same boat" I guess Iam still in alittle denile too, keep thinking I will get better.(Back to normal)
  • Hello 4jcasper,
    Through two surgeries I am fused from c3-c7. I am 47 and still not able to return to work of any kind as of yet. I was a plumber and the docs have told me to find another career. Fighting WC, but that battle is just about over and won. I have some numbness down my left arm and into my hand. Just had a test yesterday, simular to a EMG that showed very little improvement to my spinal cord, but that in itself is a good thing. My ROM has gotten better since I have been doing PT, so far 3 months of it and probably a few more to go. I am 5 months post op and things are slowly getting better. Try to keep a good outlook.
  • I'm fused C4-C7....my last surgery which was a revision was done Feb 07 and I am still not good. Right now I am doing PT for what was thought to be rotator cuff but now it has turned into a neck thing.....my right arm has never stopped hurting since before or after surgery and now I'm having horrible pain in left shoulder/arm. EMG/NCV test showed denervation at C5C6, muscle atrophy, radiculpathy and parathesis.....the only thing surgery did for me was stop me from being paralysed. I know it all sounds horrible but I had been in pain a long time before surgery and never knew it was my neck......

  • My operation was in April of this year. Physio has done wonders for my range of motion already and i've only been there for a month and a half.Pain wise i'm doing better.I was taking 8 gabapentin a day for nerve pain and have weaned myself down to two a day.My pain is much better.My trouble now is muscle pain and headaches. Muscle pain from working my muscles so much. I was very sedantary before my operation per doctors request and now they want me working my butt of to get my muscle strength back. the headaches i believe is still do to weak neck muscles being worked,hopefully that will subside with time. i have close to full range of motion but its still painful to turn my head to the right and thats where they did a lot of there work so i'm sure once that heals i'll have close to my full range back. i hope this helps with your questions good luck to you
  • just wanted to pop in and wish all of you with multi levels fused or soon to be fused the best of luck...please continue to let us know how you are all doing....take care....Miki
  • I am still wearing my collar 24/7 and get x-rays and have dr. appt. on Sept. 29. That's when he'll see how I'm fusing and if the plate and screws are still in place. I sure hope all is well on both accounts! I have no idea how much ROM I will have. I cannot extend or raise my left arm due to deltoid and bicep paralysis after surgery and receiving therapy 3 x a week. No improvement yet. A great attitude helps a lot and I rely on friends to help out and I have a great husband who is very supportive. If you have any questions in particular, I'll see if I can answer them for you. Hope you feel better!
  • i am 39 year old that has been dealing for the past 14 years with neck pain but found out that I have degeneration in c3-c7. my mother had c4-c6 fused in 1999. I just had the injection my neck is not hurting but now I have migraines. I want to know has anyone else had this and if you know if that is normal?
    thank you
  • Check out the posts I have made here recently.
  • Hi,

    I recently joined this forum because my neurosurgeon is recommending a C3-C7 fusion. I had a level C3-C4 fusion in 2005, and so I was shocked to hear that I should now have a five level fusion! I do not at this time have myelopathy. However, in 2005 I had severe myelopathy; I was falling down constantly due to balance problems; dropping things, and was experiencing numbness in my fingers up to my elbows. My symptoms at this time is balance problems, and I have fallen a few times. I do have pain in my neck, shoulders and down the arms, but I also have fibromyalgia, so am not sure if the pain is from the fibro or from both the fibro and back.

    I have done a lot of research on this fusion, and I am very frightened of having all 5 levels done. My neuro told me that I would have "significant" loss of ROM, moving my head from side to side and up and down. The loss would be about 70% - I asked her if with PT, would it get better. She told me that the loss would be PERMANENT due to all the bone fusion and hardware that would be put in to stabilize the neck. Yet, some of the posters here have had the same surgery and their loss of range of motion has in some cases improved.

    My neuro said that the reason for the surgery is NOT to make me better (!) but to keep me from getting progressively worse :( So there is not even a "carrot" at the end of the stick. I am going to get a second opinion to see if there is another way (less fusion) that would work. Also, at this time, my neuro said it is not critical, but that she does recommend surgery to prevent further injury to my spine.

    I'm assuming you've had the surgery - how long has it been, and have you noticed any improvement in your ROM?

    Gentle hugs,

  • It has been 3 months since I made this post and I wish I could give better news. I am not any better than I was 3 months ago. I have tried PT and injections, nothing seems to make it better. I now am having a bone scan done tomorrow to see if my fusion has failed because of the pain Iam in.
    I have 10% ROM and pt said this is as good as it gets with this level of fusion.
    I just got my first denial letter from SSD, so I begin the appeal process.
    I know a good attitude is alot of the healing process but it sure is hard to have a good attitude when your world has been turned up side down and seems to be no end. I had to have my deprssion meds doubled and pain med are keeping me from functioning like a human but if I don't take them I can't function because of the pain....so what do ya do??? :''( :''( :''(
    God Bless everyone of you that is in pain
  • Hi Jeanette,

    I'm so sorry to hear that you are not doing any better, even after 3 months post op. Very distressing news for sure.

    I have an appt. for a 2nd opinion December 8th (Monday). I'm anxious to see what this neurosurgeon will recommend (or NOT recommend). My main complaint regarding my cervical spinal problems are poor balance and lots of pain. I'm not dropping anything (yet) and I do not have any numbness in my fingers or hands.

    However, the first surgeon told me that the surgery was to make my spine stable, not to make me better :( Needless to say, I don't want to have to have another surgery.

    Please keep me updated on your progress. I think 3 months is probably still early, especially if they went in through your back vs the neck.

    Gentle hugs,
  • That is still early. It takes a long time to recover from the posterior fusion. I know a year for nerves to heal or settle down. I think it is correct to assume the surgery is to make the spine stable, it is not a miracle cure. There are days I wish I had never had it done and start questioning myself. I now have a disc bulge at C3, that is above my fusion. I have so much muscle atrophy, even my scar on the back of my neck has started sinking in. I'm still trying to be positive but some days it is hard.

  • I had my surgery in March but it had been 3 months since my last post on this subject.
    I also now have a herniation above my fusion and one in thorasic.I also have a large bone spur where my fusion is that's pushing on my spinal cord.I just keep going backwards instead of forwards, it is frustrating.
    azzie, I know, my doctor also said I didn't have a choice with the surgery's I have had due to instability, but I sure didn't think it would cause this much pain still, they are talking pain pump or SCS with me now. Iam only 42, I just think I should not be in this shape at 42.....
    Thank you all for your kind words...
  • sorry to hear that your still having problems,i have 4 levels fused,i've tried basically everythin except therapy,shots help somewhat,i also have chronic pain, hopefully the pain pump will work foryou. best wishes..
  • Hi
    I am a 61 yr old woman who had a disctectomy and fusion of C3 - C7. I had the surgery in May of 2005. I also have degenerative disc disease, diabetes, and arthritus. I have lost most of my range of motion, however I am better off than before. I had major pain in both arms, was treated for carpal tunnel syndrom to no avail. After the surgery, I did well until I got rear ended and now I am back to wearing a neck brace again, my doctor said it was scar tissue? I don't know how she got that with no MRI. I do have degen disc disease. I am on social security disabily now. I want to tell you, please don't lift anything over 10lbs., it may not hurt you immediately but it will later. I have a cd with a picture of my neck, but I don't know how to download it? It looks like yours. Best of Luck to you Gina
  • Hi
    I am a 61 yr old woman who had a disctectomy and fusion of C3 - C7. I had the surgery in May of 2005. I also have degenerative disc disease, diabetes, and arthritus. I have lost most of my range of motion, however I am better off than before. I had major pain in both arms, was treated for carpal tunnel syndrom to no avail. After the surgery, I did well until I got rear ended and now I am back to wearing a neck brace again, my doctor said it was scar tissue? I don't know how she got that with no MRI. I do have degen disc disease. I am on social security disabily now. I want to tell you, please don't lift anything over 10lbs., it may not hurt you immediately but it will later. I have a cd with a picture of my neck, but I don't know how to download it? It looks like yours. Best of Luck to you Gina
  • Hi, I'm Carol, from Michigan. I've had 4 different cervical surgeries to get to this point. Posterior and Anterior. First one in 92', second one in 01', then 05' and lastly this past March 09'. I have quite a history of neck pain and now other things. I'm here for a support system and hope anything I say can help you. Arthritis in hands keeps me from typing very long. So that's it for now. I hear your pain. This life is not an enjoyable one. Pain rules.
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,371
    We are a club of people that nobody wants to be a member of!

    Count me into to the exclusive member of the 4 level sub- group. There are only a handfull of us.

    Parts of my tale of wow and dread are listed below ..
    Any additional questions or comments or information ... please feel free to IM me.

    I have been in healthcare for many years and have a little extra insight.

    PAIN is a four letter word!

    Peace and almighty spirit be with you always,

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!  (Click on Welcome to Spine-Health)

  • After reading others comments I do not feel so alone. I have had fusion of C3-4 and then was in a car crash needing C5-6 fusion with cadaver bone which was rejected from my body. Finally 12/08 i had C3-7 decompression. All the doctors say I should be feeling better, but I am not. I have pain in my neck-spasms and locking in my shoulder and right arm- tingling and numbness in my right hand. I am getting ready to have a EMG test done to test my nerves. I take a lot of pain medication to function but I manage to get up and go to work. I am 44 yrs old amd have been in pain about 2 years now. All the doctors will seem confused as to why you are still in pain and no one will validate your feelings. Very frustrating life. Hope someone out there is feeling better then I.
  • Sorry to hear you having so much problems, we are lucky to have this site to share our experiences. I had C4-7 anterior cervical diskectomy, fusion, partial corpectomy & instrumentation, the surgery took 6 hours due to lots of bone spurs. That was Dec. 8th 2008, three months later I started having neck pain again but to the right arm, it has continued to get worse, I have been to PT, pills, trigger shots, epidural all with zero results. Next week I seen a new NS who I hope can fix this, the MRI shows a new bulge at C7. I have a big fear of the domino effect, which will be one of my top questions for the new NS.
    Take care
  • Hi 4jkasper, my surgery was aug. 07 and my ns told me the same thing as azzie21 said, "significant loss of rom". i am on ssdi and pain meds. i still have many issues, but have learned to accept the "new me". my swallowing issues are still very close to the top of the list of issues and might just be related to my ten hour plus surgery? I believe with this much fusion you will never be the same, but you can learn to live with it and that maybe as good as it gets? for those that may see this as a failure, please do not, because the "new me" is a lot better off then my other choice other than surgery (which was death). God Bless All and hope others have a sucessful surgery and a speedy recovery. kc
  • Hi all,
    I have not been able to find a lot of posts from people that have had several levels fused like I am going to have soon. It was good to read some of the posts, but frightening too. I know the recovery will be long and painful, but I am confident I will be better off than I am now. I have lost significant use of my left hand. Have had 3 opinions, and had a C7-T1 fusion Dec '08 that didn't take. My new NS is doing things quickly because the weakness is getting worse and he said my choices are to wait and possibly lose full use of my hand, or to have the surgery. I have seen the films and trust him, but I am scared none the less. I hope to get the support before and after the surgey that you have had from Spine-Health folks.
    Good Luck!
  • Had fusion of C-6 and 7 complete with plate and donor bone in 2000, returned to work in 2003 with no pain at all. Everything was going fine until June 6th of this year (2009) Auto accident due to a drunk driver running red light and struck the drivers door of my car. I dont remember the accident at all, but from the bruises on the left side of my face left shoulder and right wrist I was thrown against the door.
    I suffered a concussion along with severe pain in neck, shoulder, arm, and pinky and ring finger on my right side. X-rays showed no fracture, no bleeding in brain area, but after 3 months I still have the shooting pains that feel like they begin in my neck and shoot down into my right arm and fingers, when I move my head, and very little sleep at night.
    EMG, MRI neg. I have had two Cervical Epidurals and Facet Block injection, which did little. Now I am scheduled for Thoratic Trigger Point Injection and PT. Neurosurgeon says I made need a Rhizotomy to see if that helps..anybody here who can let me know if a Rhizotomy helped them..(sorry this is so long, but in pain and need to talk to someone)
  • I'm really sorry to hear you are continuing to have difficulty. Everyone is different because the presenting symptoms can vary so widely, so to lump us all together is difficult. Discs, bone spurs, stenosis, foraminal narrowing, etc.

    I'm now fused C3-6 (2 surgeries) but the second one (3-5) was because of lax ligaments that allowed 2 more discs to rupture and the bones started slipping in opposite directions with flexion/extension. All I had pre-op was a line of nerve pain in my right upper arm. Doc was shocked at xrays and said this was not an elective procedure but needed to prevent me from doing cord damage and be paralyzed. I have a stable bulge at C7 but doc said it was too much surgery to go below the already fused C5-6 as I wasn't having symptoms from that level, that it would make my neck too rigid. The surgery did relieve the arm nerve pain completely. It was not an easy recovery but I was back to work in an OR in 2 months. I still have some swallowing problems with bread, but I'm used to it.

    Range of motion for me returned to almost baseline. I can't tilt my head backward as much as before and it did take months for turning my head around from backing out the car, but it gradually improved. I did not have PT afterward.

    There are many underlying reasons for why our necks continue to degenerate in spite of the surgeries. I know now have significant arthritis at C1-2 and have kinked my vertebral artery with neck extension. I ended up at a rheumatologist who found I have an autoimmune process going on. After 9 months of neck pain (new for me, I always just had nerve/arm pain) he had me go on predisone 5 mg a day. He called it the 'poor man's epidural.' I was painfree in 12 hours and stopped the predisone after 2 weeks. Labs are leaning toward lupus.....

    I wish I could offer you more help....but please understand that each person has unique issues with their bodies and multi level surgery is tough. Time does help for some, others will continue with pain issues as there is still much docs don't know/understand about all the structures in that tiny space.

  • I had 4-7 done 7 weeks ago. I'm doing pretty well. My range of motion stinks right now though. I'm in PT and hopeful I'll get some back. It really hurts turing my head to the left. That's where most of the work was done. It bites!

    I get scared when I move my neck and my mind plays with me. I see my screws pulling out of the bone and my other discs above and below 4 and 7 being stressed too much. It's just in my mind but I can't help worrying about it. I don't want to have a failed surgery or to need to have the other levels done.

    I am strong and if I lose the range of motion I'll figure it out. I got special mirrors for my car already so I can drive now. I use a mirror to look down to weigh myself LOL. I can't see the scale without a mirror. Little things like that are weird but I figure out ways to get things done.
  • It is unfortunate that there are so many of us out there but, I don't feel so alone. It has been 1 year and 6 months since my surgery and Iam not much better, it is disheartning. Iam now on SSD because I really tried to go back to work and just couln't do it, come home crying everyday or have to leave work which made everyone mad...
    So, I guess we just come to terms with what we are left with and go from there....
  • Last Nov 17 had acdf at c3-4,4-5,5-6,6-7 with a corpectomy of c5. Then on Dec 19 had a laminectomy and foraminotomy at the same levels done. You can see the pretty picture in my avatar.

    The second surgery left me with a C5 nerve root traction injury which meant I could not lift my arms, feed or dress myself, take myself off a toilet or easily hold a phone for a few weeks. After a 13 day hospital stay I went to rehab at a nursing home for 24 or so days. Then regained use of my arms a few weeks later.

    Now I have deltoid muscle and other muscle damage to my left arm, the c5/c6/c7 dermatomes show damage with the emg in both arms. I don't have much feeling if any in my left thumb and index finger and very transient feeling in the other fingers. I am having trouble lifting my left arm laterally when I was able to do so last March but in May lost the ability. Had an MRI of the shoulders and it does not show much other than tendonitis and bursitis. I see NS on Wednesday to find out what he thinks and about my latest Lspine MRI. The right arm is now giving me more trouble and I am not a happy camper.

    ROM is okay. I can turn my head enough to the side but have to turn my body to cross the street. Don't ask me to look up at the sky, ain't gonna happen and I can sort of lower my head to my chest. I am used to it after all these months.

    I take neurontin, baclophen and vicodin (when needed) and walk on with a cane. I cannot stand for long periods, can sit in my lounger for long periods, walking for long periods is too much. I go into muscle spasms in between my shoulder blades.

    I had to have my surgeries because my spinal cord was S shaped and at one point close to 75 percent compressed.

  • Hi BronxEggCream,
    I love your name! Haven't had one in years!

    I have a very similar surgery scheduled on Oct 7th where the NS is going to do the Anterior Corpectomy AND a Posterior Laminectomy of C4-T1 all in one surgery. I am very scared and nervous about it, and what you described is even more scary!! I have been calling my NS about every 5 days with questions, and I am going to ask him about the risk of a nerve root traction injury occurring. I know there are risks involved, but I don't remember this being mentioned. I am glad you shared this info and will be looking it up to get more info.

    Did you go to rehab because you didn't have use of your arms or is it something your Dr usually has his patients do? I plan to ask my NS about going to rehab from the hospital even though I have people to help me when I am released. It is a very invasive surgery and I am concerned about the pain and taking a lot of pain meds.

    I am glad to hear about your ROM. I have read that many people were able to regain a lot of their ROM which was an issue for me because the 2nd NS I saw, he did a C7-T1 Anterior fustion that didn't take, refused to do any more surgery because he said I am too young to lose so much ROM. I then went to a 3rd NS because of pain in my left arm along with tingling and a lot of weakness. I can barely use my left hand. So the surgery is needed. If I wait, it is possible the nerve damage will be permanent and I could lose full use of it.

    Anyway, didn't mean to go on as I did with my story. Just want you to know that your story has been very helpful to me in that it has brought up a few more questions for my NS. I am trying to be as informed as possible and reading people's stories really help.

    Thank you!
  • Hi, I had c4/5, c5/6 acdf done in 1993. I woke up from surgery cured. Left arm was "asleep" before, and it was wide awake and hurting after. I did fine until 1998 then I developed chronic pain in my neck. As time went on, I got pain in my arms and had emg's which showed radiculapthy in L c7, R c7/t1.

    Now, I have myelopathy so new MRI shows c3 and c7, the dreaded "adjacent segment disease", and so in the next week or 2, (when they call and give me a date) I am going in to have c3 and c7 done, to complete the circuit. They say they might do t1 too.

    Anyway, I was hopeing you were all doing back flips and playing tennis, softball, rapelling down cliffs, and all kinds of fun things. It sounds like more of the same for me, just worse, except maybe no myelopathy problems, its so bad I cant open a door, button a shirt, lift my feet up to put pants on, etc. It really sucks.

    Anyway, if anyone has any "tidbits", how painful? I remember the first one with an iliac crest graft, that was painful. Then I had to wear an aspen collar for 4 months, so none of that this time. Sounds like other issues though. Thanks all.
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