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no collor...no shower.

startersstarter Posts: 43
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have been told i cant take my collor off even for a quick shower for another 4 weeks.
I had two disks removed in my neck.
I cant quite get it why i cant take this off even for a shower? It would be maybew 10 minutes.


  • Hi,

    Probably because of the risk involved if you fell and your neck will have no support during that time. You have a lot invested in your operation so why take a chance and not follow what you have been told. I know falling won't happen to you.
  • YOu can get replacement pads for the inside, if your in a hard collar. If your in the soft one, they are easy enough to get, your local medical supply store has them. You will have one to shower with and with the heat trust me they begin to smell anyway. So by having two or the replacement pads you should be able to get in the shower, and both of them will smell, to boot.
  • I took the shower and my husbund put the repacement pads in them. My neck feels funny without the collor. I think im going to get to the point of wantiung to wear the collor on and off even after im given permission to take them off. They can be uncomfortable on hot days but i feel like a turtle must feel without its shell.

    I wonder if ill be told to wear the collor for sleep at the end of 4 week pierod. Ill probbably wear it,,, just so ill have a sense of safety.
    As long as my pads are clesan and dry i can handle it ...
  • you could risk permanent damage ,just wash around get help to do this with some help you could even wash your hair .there is a device where you lay flat on your back on your bed the other person puts this device under your head and connects the waste to a bucket then the other person wishes your hair .{we use them in hospitals |} but can be bought over the net or at disability shops .and for the rest of you body you could stand in the shower whilst someone showers you down from the neck.
    kath ..tony's wife {health visitor and fully qualified senior nurse}
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • I was allowed to take a shower without my collar, but used a shower stool and my hubby did all the work, washing me and my hair. I don't know why you must shower in yours, but glad you're following docs orders.

    I understand how you feel. I became very used to my collar and I love the way you explained it - when it's off, it must what a turtle feels like without its shell. That's exactly how I felt. Love it!

    When I was moved to a soft collar, I did wear my hard collar ocassionally when I slept because I was afraid I was turning my neck to much. Then, in turn, when I had no collar at all, I wore my soft one to bed ocassionally for comfort as well.

    I'm glad you're getting used to it. My hubby also helped me with washing the pads and replacing them. Kind of like having new sheets on the bed...ahhhhh.

    Take care and keep us posted.
  • I never had to wear a hard collar, soft only at night and in the car. I think I will always wear a soft collar at night from now on. I often have "night terrors" where I jump up out of my bed and usually move my neck how I am not supposed to! Maybe that's how my neck got hurt in the first place!!!!! So I probably will wear my soft collar from now on to bed. I probably should buy another one, even though I have been washing it.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • I think ill be wearing this collor at night for a long time.Ill be having therapy after it comes off and probabbly will keep it onat night till the therapy has stopped.. I want to be sure everything is fully fused before i risk tossing and turning in bed wit hmy neck going in every direction.

    Its hot today but i still feel safe with it on. I may give it a name....any ideas?
  • I had a hard collar with the replaceable pads which I wore 24/7 unless taking a shower. I was given another collar - same shape but made of foam, which I wore in the shower. That worked fine. If you weren't given one you could probably get it at a medical supply store.

    I weaned off the collar to fast and got increased pain. I'm 10 weeks out so if my pain levels go up I wear the collar to bed. I wake up every time I turn over with or without the collar because of hip pain with turning, so I am cognizant about my neck when I turn. Sometimes I get confused If I have too many or not enough pillows to keep my neck level.

    Take care.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Hello! I am into my fourth week of recovery post 3 level discectomy and fusion. I can now take a shower WITH my special soft/foam collar. Perhaps your doctor can prescribe one for you. I feel for you because I began to feel that the birdbath method wasn't meeting my desires (not need). Now, three showers later, I am so happy about it. I, too, wanted to rebel prior to being allowed to shower as of this past Thursday. But, like another poster said, you go through this surgery only to lose patience now and ruin it and possibly have to do it again?

    Hold on, be patient, and ask your doctor about the collar that can get wet so you can take a shower. Good luck!
  • I just had one 6/14/11 at the same levels you did. I am wondering what is realistic to expect by way of energy, ability to do, sit up, etc. four weeks out. When did you return to work, if you worked. I had my first post surgical appt last week and the doc was vague about what I can expect. I know everyone is different, but I have no point of reference. Thanks! Also, are there particular moves or movements to avoid to minimize the possibility of damaging all my docs great work?
  • IM alowed to shower,,, but must wear the collor! I dont mind the colllor ..i just wish i coukd have few minustes with it off a day,like in the shower but im not alowed,
    I cant shower spontanousely like i did, I need to be sure the replacement pads are clean and ready to put in when i get out and i rather do that when my husbund is home as he puts them in for me.

    Ill probbably keep the showers down to three times a week unless we gop through a humid phaze here in the ohio valley.

    They said i could swim but again the collor must be on and that means i have to be sure all clean replacement pads are nearby and ready for use.. It can be a "pain" to do this,,bu tmy neck was very weak,, and i think they want to be sure the fusion isent intervered with.
  • I just had one 6/14/11 at the same levels you did. I am wondering what is realistic to expect by way of energy, ability to do, sit up, etc. four weeks out. When did you return to work, if you worked. I had my first post surgical appt last week and the doc was vague about what I can expect. I know everyone is different, but I have no point of reference. Thanks! Also, are there particular moves or movements to avoid to minimize the possibility of damaging all my docs great work?
    I'm a 3-lvl survivor and not sure if you were asking me these questions, but I'll answer anyway. As you said, everyone is different, but this was my personal experience.

    By 2-3 weeks out, I was gaining energy and had been able to sit up almost from day one. Laying down was much more difficult for me in those first couple of weeks. I was in my recliner a lot. I started a walking regimen about 4 weeks out, if I remember correctly, I mean outside walking.

    I was active inside after the first couple of weeks - meaning going up and down the stairs, going to the kitchen to get something to eat/drink, etc.

    I didn't go back to work until 10 weeks after my surgery, and then only part time. My doc told me to expect 12 weeks off afterwards, so I was slowly weaned myself back into work. However, as an aside, the minute my FMLA was over, I got laid off. Lovely, huh?

    Anyway, I adhered to my no BLT and took care not to move my head too much for the full 12 weeks - the braces helped me with a reminder. (I was in a hard brace for 4 weeks then a soft brace for 8.)

    Hope you're doing well and improving.

    Starter: Showering does sound like a pain. I've never heard of someone not being able to take their collar off just to shower, but each doc is different. Yours is apparently very conservative and personally, I'd rather have that than one who doesn't have you wear a collar at all after an ACDF.

    As for a name: I didn't name mine, but what about "Huggy"? I know we have a member named that here but that's all I can think of. :-)

    Take care and again, you both, keep us posted.
  • Huggy is good,
    I think ihave whatis called a soft collor.the hard lining is plstic whith washabale soft pade inside.
    There is the back where my neck is a littel loop that i think is there to keep my neck from tiliting back,,
  • I had my cervical fusion in January. I had to wear the hard collar for 14 weeks post op. 24/7
    thank goodness for a helpful hubby, he would help me in the shower and then change out the inserts.
    Please do follow the doc orders! you have invested your time and your body in this process, take the necessary time to heal!
    At 14 weeks I had still not fused, not unusual I am told, so the doc ordered a bone growth stimulator. I wear it 4 hrs a day, expected do this for 9 months.
    the recovery is slow for me, but I also had a second surgery, lumbar in May, so I think it is all to be expected. I don't know yet about returning to work. They require me to be 100% and I sure am not yet...
    take it easy and focus on healing!
  • Thank you for the feedback. It really helped me. I am scheduled to return to work in 12 weeks. I hope my job can hold on that long. I can now take short walks and limited activity. I noticed that I am good for 2.5 hours of sitting up straight and even after that I EXHAUSTED! I want to go to work for training sessions but there is no way I can endure that right now.

    Again, thank you all for sharing as this experience far exceeds what anticipated. God bless you in your healing journeys.
  • It starting to get hot.
    Me and huggy get along fin,,but with the humidity im not so sure.
    I sooo want to open this collor up enough to let air to breath through my neck area,,but even for a few minutes , i was told 'no can do".
    Im not understanding if im very still and lay down why i cant for a few minutes each day letmy neck'breth". T^His doctor seems bery strict.

    I really dont see him though much. ITs the nurses that convey his instructions. I sow wantto rip huggie off and let the brezzes in... but im not alwed to even open her up... and its gettting so hot!
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