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New Member Needing Lots of Advice

Instability of the cervical spine with severe vertebral and neurological symptoms which are progressive. The principal cause of instability is chronic degenerative disease of the discs. I have been treated for six years with pain medication, muscle relaxors, and anti-inflamatory drugs plus physical therapy, massage, and steroid injecions. I was just told that my next step is a C2 through C6 Fusion.

I have been warned that this procedure will probably not decrease my pain, but am told that i might keep me from getting any worse.

I have been told that I will spend about a week in the hospital, thirteen weeks in a hard collar and about 9 months in physical therapy. The recovery process scares me as much as the pain from surgery.

I know I will be spending a lot of time in bed, especially at first, but would sitting in a recliner or rocker cause any damage?

What can I expect and does anyone have any suggestions?
'No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to unchartered land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.' -Helen Keller


  • First I want to welcome you to spinehealth this site has been a great resource for support and I hope you find it helpful. Just know you are not alone. I had 3 level ACDF C4-C7 on 4/16/12 and although initially recovery was tough you really learn your limiations and you adapt. I no longer feel like there is so many things I cannot do but I look at it as there are so many things I can do. I have had pain level decrease severly since surgery but it took 13 weeks before I was able to feel that and appreciate it. I am not pain free and may never be but I have enough ROM to live a full life. You are ahving 4 levels and that is a little worse than mine and you have a history. I needed 2 level 4 yrs ago but I went to a chiropractor and that bought me 3 pain free years. But when I started to lose my ability to use my arm because of cord compression I was rushed into surgery and it was the best descion for me. My arm strengh has come back little by little and I am starting to feel better. You can get through this and it is a process physically and emotionally but the folks on this site are here with you every step of the way. I wish you the best of luck as you begin your journey. There are links on the site to prepare for surgery and a recliner should prove to be helpful, I used pillows propped up in my bed. I did not have to wear a collar, that is really a MD call but with 4 level I am sure a collar will be helpful and after the intial couple of visits being very painful I found PT to be very helpful with my pain levels ( moving actually helps after you start to heal) So just take it one step at a time and ask lots of questions to your Doc so you are informed on excatly what they are doing to you. You may not get pain relief from this but stopping the progression is important. Just know we are here and you can PM if you need anything else. Keep us posted. Blessings Kim
    Kimberly Martin
  • welshladywwelshlady Posts: 121
    edited 09/11/2012 - 8:36 AM
    Hi Lamb, i have congenital fusion of c3/4 and went in May this year to have corpectomy on 5, 6 and fusion from 4-7, have 2 cages 1 top plate and 6 screws, i am in uk, but had the op one day and discharged the next day! (i did have hubby at home for a week or they wouldnt have let me out). and i didnt stay in bed at all, for the first week or so i slept sitting up on a load of pillows as couldnt lie down, lots on here say they sleep in their recliner chairs for a while. but if you stay out of bed and as mobile as you can its supposed to be better for you, my surgeon said to walk was the best thing i can do. by the time i got an mri i had to have surgery, no option for other treatment, and have myelopathy so still have pain and symptoms. but i can still walk of a fashion, and still type a little etc and am fairly independant at 4 months post op.

    i wish you all the very best, there is loads of great advice on this site i found invaluable, to help prepare for those early days, soft foods, handy grabber etc. keep in touch and let us know how you go, (and i was terrified before the op!!) if you want to pm me anytime you are welcome!) Tina Ann
  • I don't know if starting at C2 makes the surgery/recovery more difficult. I had a C3-7, was in the hospital 4 days, hard collar 4 weeks, then weaning off the collar. My surgeon didn't recommend physical therapy. I had radiculopathy down my arms but not numbness, so maybe that's why I wasn't recommended PT. The only "promise" from the surgeon was that the progression would be stopped. Luckily I have had some reduction in symptoms, but amount varies over time.

    Like others have said - check out the "sticky" posts for lots of information. BTW - I found recliners really helpful not only for sleeping at first, but for being up during the day. My recliner was high back so I didn't have to support my head and reclining was better for me than sitting or laying flat or with pillows.

    Good luck!
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
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