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Already have C456, now adding 6/7, how will it feel?

candle99ccandle99 Posts: 279
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Just wondering for you folks that have had my luck of continuing to pop discs, wanted to ask a few questions about my upcoming March surgery #6.

To refresh, I had C5/6 fused and two months later, had C4/5/6 done. Just my luck and that surgeon wouldn't admit it, but he put a screw into my C6/7 disc space. For months and months, he said there was nothing more he could do for me. So I left him and found a new surgeon, I wasn't fused at C4/5/6 at all and my grafts were sinking into my bones. So he added posterior hardware to hold it steady. That helped immensely but I've still continued to have shoulder blade pain like I've been beat with a 2x4. It's been almost a year and finally my fusion looks almost solid.

Now, this March, I'm going in to have another ACDF to take off the plate holding C4/5/6 and put one from C6/7. It's collapsed just about entirely and the disc doesn't show up much on the MRI I had. But at least it doesn't look like it's compressing my spinal cord. I just have nerve root pinching that needs to be addressed or I'm going to cut my arms off.

I want to know how much more stiffer will it feel to have C4/5/6/7 fused? I can hardly twist to drive a car now so how do you cope with driving after. Also, I'm guessing that it'll be hard to fuse that spot since it's my pivot point right now??


  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,368
    But I think I am C4-C7 ....

    This is after 5 surgeries. My Range of motion is limited to about 5% in any direction up - down - left - right - etc.

    Due to my "medical condition" and an accident ... the state cancelled my license to drive. I can't really argue because my ability to drive - turn my head and see is limited.

    I drove on pain meds and attempted to work for 1 year before it all caught up with me, physically, mentally, etc .... and I stopped working and reapplied for SSD.

    I like you have other problems that are creeping into the picture - a herniation at L4-L5 with left leg numbness and etc and an area of bad anterior and posterior stenosis at C3-C4 indenting the thecal sac (hour glass pinch).

    Hope you have an easy time of it - and are not still working,

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

  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I have unusually good range of motion to hear my surgeon speak. The only range that I have lost( that is noticeable) is the ability to look up. During a flare-up I will protect my neck and limit my range of motion to keep the pain away. I just had a physical for work and the Dr. that gave me the physical was also impressed with the range of motion I still have. That being said, when I drive I have to use my mirrors or turn my body when backing up, I guess I have just learned to turn my body instead of turning my neck. It reduces the amount of pain I have. ( does that make sense?). Are you having the anterior or posterior approach for your surgery? Good luck and keep me posted.
  • Howdy Candle,

    I'm fused (sort of...C6 is cracked and moving) at C5/6/7 with issues at C2/3 (stenosis, spurs, bulging), but after my C6/7 was added *I* did notice changes. I can't for instance see my armpits when I shave, can't touch my chest or shoulders with my head, and when shopping, looking at the top shelf..I have to back up to see. Not sure if that helps, but that is my range of motion thus far. I'm also losing C7/8 (T1), but pain doesn't change my range of motion at that level yet.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I figured that range of motion for me will be more limited since I have posterior and anterior hardware. I'm not working. I was a computer programmer and all the desk work on the computer was just too much. I was having to work heavily on pain meds and I had an hour drive to/from work. I'm on LTD and retired disability for now. The LTD folks have made me apply for SSD and I was denied the first time although they mentioned in the denial that they knew I was disabled from my profession, but not from all work. duh. So we've appealed and waiting for a court date or something, while I go thru another surgery knowing that after this anterior fusion, I may still have to have posterior support to fuse. My posterior hardware is very prominent and causes pinching feeling as the muscles try to function back there.

    Yesterday I went back to wearing my soft collar trying to cut down the pain. I don't know if this will help the C6/7 level at all but it's worth a try. I've been heat padding and limiting my housework and stuff.

    Susan, I'm impressed that you are still working? What do you do? I have osteo really bad in my knees to add to my problems and my lumbar aches alot, so standing, lifting, sitting, anything for any length of time gets too much for me.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I am only 3 weeks back to work and I question myself daily if it was the right decision. I work for a doctors office doing the billing. I am having a hard time daily and I keep telling myself it will get easier but I am beginning to wonder. I will give it at least a few months before I make my decision to stay or retire. I would love to continue to work but I just dont know if my body is going to allow it. Sitting at a desk all day has caused my neck to flare and the muscle spasms to last all day long. After a day of work it is home and straight to bed. Hopefully things will ease up soon.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    My first ACDF was with C4/C5 and then several years later C6/C7.

    I had pretty good range of motion after the first surgery, but with the plates and everything fused, I have lost a good deal of range of motion.

    Its side to side and up/down. The side to side effects me the most while driving. I have a large over sized rear view mirror which helps. But also, while sitting socially (dinner, parties, etc), I have to be in a place where I need mostly center-to-right moves, center-to-left is hopeless.

    The up/down really doesnt impact that much. One problem, I cant put my pants under my chin to hold them into place while folding them.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,368
    anymore for the same reason ... No way chin to chest.

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

  • Hi everyone, I'm back at home from my 4th neck surgery...adding another ACDF on C6/7. The surgeon said my disc was almost gone but did have a big hole in it from a screw from when another surgeon had done my C5/6. I kept asking about it on xrays, but that doctor wouldn't admit that he'd done anything to cause my C6/7 to collapse. This surgeon agreed with me and now after surgery, it proves it. I know we sign something saying that we don't hold them liable for mistakes with hardware, but it's so aggravating when it happens. I'm glad that I changed surgeons.

    So I'm doing well so far (knocking on wood) and hope that it continues. I've had some shoulder blade pain and my arms are sore, of course, my neck is swollen on the outside very badly, and sure, it's swollen on the inside. I haven't tested my range of motion yet. My doctor said the screws held so well that he decided not to put me in a collar. I hope this wasn't a bad decision. I have had a very hard time fusing with all my other fusions. My Vitamin D stays low even though I take two 600 D with calcium supplements a day. I've had gastric bypass and that makes it hard to absorb anything.

    Thanks for your replies.

  • Sounds like you really needed to have that surgery to fix your neck.

    You know the rules, and that this will take a while to get you back on the road again. Hopefully the worst is over and the road will start a gentle downhill ride very soon, which will lead to a better life.

    I have also just been diagnosed with Vitamin D and calcium deficiency. I wonder if some of the pains, tingles and numbness could be caused by this. I had even hoped that perhaps they all would be a result of the deficiency so that just taking the supplement would be all that was needed to 'fix' it. My doctor said she thought that at least some of my symptoms were coming from my neck/back problems.

    We don't know why I have this deficiency, but I wonder if my fat free diet due to gall stones could be the cause of the Vitamin D deficiency as that vitamin is fat soluble. I know that vitamin D is needed for calcium absorbtion, so that could be why I am low in calcium.

    I really hope that your recovery will go smoothly.
    You must be so relieved to be on this side of surgery. :-)

    Keep resting and walking >:D<

  • my ROM is very limited in my cervical, has been for many years due to all the damage from C1-T1, am trying to put off fusion as long as i can, as i also need fusion in lumbar

    anyway what i do when driving is turn my whole body to see for blind spot and reversing

    also keeping head straight foreward and i cant look up for more than a few seconds, so you adjust and limit your movements to get around things, though some of course just cant be done

    i hope you continue recovering well and sorry to hear about screw in disc , yikes!
    take care
  • I had an ACDF w/ fusion in 2006 on C-3 thru C-5. Now after almost 5 years I find out that the bottom of the graft never fully healed and am now going for Posterior Cervical Laminectomy w/ fusion of C-5 through C-7. He'll be using bone from the same hip(at my request) because a cadaver bone has less of a chance healing than my own.
    I've had OA since about 1999 beginning w/ right hip and has progressed to entire body except left elbow and right knee...go figure!
    I'm 52 and I wake up everyday with more pain. I know it gets so depressing at times. I just don't like how this has progressed so rapidly.
    I see so many of you have extensive issues with your OA and I should feel thankful but I can't see past MY pain! My heart goes out to all of you!
    I woukld like to know if anybody has had this surgery PCL/F and how has your recovery been?
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