Hi my name is Jon. I am a very active 35 year old male, who worked out vigorously and now has had 2 major back surgeries in the last 5 years as well as my Right Knee ACL Reconstruction in 1999. All injuries are due to sports and wear and tear. The neck is also hereditary as my Mother and Maternal Granmother necks were fused. They had success, but they also weren't as active as me or muscular. At any rate, I will stick with my back.
In 1991, I ruptured my L4-S1 (missing one lumbar congenitally) while I was squatting, training for football. It plagued me through my 20's intermittently. In 2004, I had sucessful artifical disc replacement. I did not have immediate results. It took almost 2 years, but by 2006, I was feeling great. I returned to my love and passion of vigorous exercise for 3+ years until in February 2009, something terrible happened to my neck. There was nothing specific I did that I can pinpoint, but it happened at the Daytona 500 and by the time I flew back to California, I could not put my head back on the plane seat.
I was diagnosed w/ 2 bulding discs, spinal stenosis, foraminal stenosis and pronounce osteophytes. All of this was completely surprising. After 6 months of conservative treatment, including chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, yoga, injections and physical therapy, the only thing that worked and temporarily was Cervical Epidural injections. After an epidural injection put me in the hospital overnight In July due to a complication with procedure, I proceeded to seek out 3 different neuro surgeon opinions and opted for 2-level fusion. Evidently chiropractic care took my C6-C7 bulge that was 3mm in March to 8mm in July. My symtopms were excruciating neck pain, no radicular pain in the arms. The bulges were central, so therefore that is why I did not have arm pain.
I had surgery on 8/31/09 and initially surgery went well, went home the next day, pain was minimal and I was excited and optimistic. I began walking more and more each day and was feeling great. Then one Friday night 4 weeks out of surgery, I was babysitting my little 3 month old at the time and flared my traps, causing the pre-surgery pain to return. Since then, I have had periods of good weeks, followed by flare-ups everytime I try to get back into physical therapy or handle my now 7-month 22 pound year old. As I write this, I am having a horrible flare-up that has lasted 3 weeks on Monday. I have swelling in my C7 junction that plagued me before surgery, but not after. My traps, scalens and muscles under my occipitals are wreaking havoc on me. I've been trying stretching and physical therapy since then to no avail. In fact, I think some of the yoga poses worsened my situation, not to mention going home for the holidays where I drove approx. 1300 miles over a one week period.
What I hope to achieve from being on spine-health is advice to help me through my neck recovery as well as provide guidance where I can. I can speak about lumbar artificial disc replacement as a way to go for anyone who is looking at it. My Dr. says my lower back looks like a 17 year old again. If only I can repeat the same for my neck. Doubtful with fusion, but I hope to regain some semblance of normalcy and activity. I do not need to lift heavy weight or play high contact sports anymore, but i want to be able to run, work out and play non-contact sports. Not to mention enjoy social settings, hanging out with friends and loving my wife and family.
Thanks for letting me share some of my history.