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C1c2 fixation

Hi all, I recently had my op to stabalize my c1/c2 as my neck was listing 8.5mm to the right. This was caused by the traverse ligament rupture, although I have no idea how or when this occurred. I had seen many osteopaths/chiropractors and physio and consulted drs on many occasions without being diagnosed. Then in April I tried a new chiropractor who refused to treat me as my neck was very unstable. I was lucky not to have too much pain more discomfort really and am now 4 weeks post op and on 50% of my pain meds that were issued when released. I have been doing my exercises and take the soft collar off s couple of hours a day, movement is coming back slowly and progress is good.

Can anyone say when they got back to work? My 1st post op Ith the specialist is not for another 2 weeks and I am still just doing the exercises given?
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  • LizLiz Posts: 7,910
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Hi liz, thanks for the welcome. Until April this year I had no idea about the progress of medical procedures and am truly amazed at what can be done. I am told that had I not had this surgery, a sneeze or jerk of my neck could have proved either fatal or left me paralysed so no choice really. Reading these post I realise I have been very lucky having had not really much pain, more sporadic than continual and fingers crossed that is continuing during my recovery. My only concern at the minute is that the back of my head is completely numb, does any know if this will wear off in time, ironic really as it was when the back of my head started to go numb when I sat down, that was when I sought further help!

  • Firstly, surgery on C1 and C2 is quite unusual so you may not find many others reply.
    How was your neck problem diagnosed? What it seen on an MRI scan or perhaps it was an x-ray?

    I had a fusion of C3/4/5 9 months ago.

    I can't comment specifically about the numbness on the back of your head, but numbness is quite common after spinal surgery.

    I had numbness in my lower back after my lumbar fusion. It lasted over a year. I can't be sure when it improved, but it is practically gone now. I think nerves can get damaged, either before or during surgery, and they are known to be very slow at healing. Perhaps it would be a good idea to just let your surgeon know about the numbness so he can decide if it is normal or not.

    I wish you a continued good recovery.


  • I went to a new chiropractor who on initial examination said there was something not right and I would need to get an X-ray before she would even think about any treatment. X-ray did show the problems but the radiologist failed to see it and recommended physio, my chiropractor still said no and strongly recommended an MRI which then on firmed the problem. As I said in the initial post I have been lucky!
  • patrain17ppatrain17 Ottawa area, CanadaPosts: 105
    Hey Ruffeo,

    I am fused from occiput to c3, wore a hard collar for 14 weeks and went back to work after 4 months. It seems though that our situation isn't the same. I will be glad to answer any other questions you have if you wish.

    Take care!

    Pat
  • RuffeoRRuffeo Posts: 12
    edited 08/22/2013 - 9:25 AM
    Hi all, I want to try and post regularly on this forum as i read several before my op and although they were scary there was also the comfort of knowing that i was not alone, particularly as i had never heard of this condition before. so here i am 5 weeks in and i feel the pain levels decreasing at a good rate however mobility seems to be very slow progress. Although I can turn my head left and right, I really have to focus not to move my shoulders, also tilting my head back is still very uncomfortable, and I can feel a slight grinding when doing my exercises. Is this normal?
    I have my first post op appointment with the specialist next week and will be asking if I can return to work, even if it is only a couple of days a week. Although I have been doing some walking without any problems, I have to recognise that doing day to day stuff will still have repercussions in terms of driving and using the computer.
    Overall I am pleased with the way things are going, although I might suggest the surgeon takes some sewing lessons as the scar is not pretty. Any thoughts views welcome - take care.
  • I have had 3 C1/C2 fusions so I will give my advise as the best I can as my condition will not be exactly the same my first question would be what kind of fusion did they do was it wires or did they do a screw fixation as that would determine the length of time that you will be out of work as will the type of work you do. My first 2 surgeries were in 1996 and they used the wire method. I had surgey in March and again in May and was released back to work in September with no restrictions. I regained all mobility back but you have to keep up with the excerises.
  • Thanks for your reply. I have 2 x 35mm screws with bars on each side. I have not had any bone fusion. My work is administrative in nature but I do drive to different sites throughout the day - the only lifting I do is carrying my laptop in my rucksack (am hoping to get a lighter version when I get back) as it was heavy before the op and I had already asked for a lighter one, I am looking forward to getting some physio as although I feel progress is good I can feel the tightness in the muscles and I feel a bit 'wooden' in my movement. Is it common to have more than one surgery?
  • It is not common. My whole situation is uncommon as my odontoid dens (the knob on the C2 that holds the C1 in place) never formed as a child.

    My 1st two were before screw fixation were used so they used a looped wire on the first surgery which came off within the first 2 months so they had to go back in and do 4 twisted wires which was doing the trick until I was rearended 14 years later after they had dissolved which caused the bone they placed to pop loose allowing it to float beneath my skull and required the 3rd surgery. If it wasn't for the car accident the third surgery would not have been needed.

    As for your question about the numbness for me it went away in time after the first 2 surgeries. It was gone for the most part by the time I was released to go back to work. At the time I was working as a waitress.
  • Well saw my specialist who told me to throw away my soft collar! I have been without it now for 3 days - bit weird and have needed the odd pain killer. No driving preferred for another 2 weeks (8) in total, and can go back to work following an occupational health assessment. My job is a trainer/assessor so only issue is getting out to my candidates, but work is ok with phone assessments. I have to say li am still worried, Dr says to remain careful as if I jerk my neck I would essentially be back to square one, also probably won't get full movement back as this is the price for being able to move my fingers n toes! I get it I really do, but what has changed, before the op it was be careful, post op it is be careful!!!! Plus my travel insurance just tripled in price - hey HO another hidden cost!
  • I have been back at work for a week now, albeit working from home. I can do between 1-2 hours on the computer and then I need to have a break - it is the looking down that is causing all the old symptoms to come back. I have started physio, slightly different exercises and some much needed massage to release my shoulders as they are continually tense making sure that I don't jerk my head!!!! No driving, honestly it is just not safe, I really need to get some more rotation - does anyone know he long it takes??
  • patrain17ppatrain17 Ottawa area, CanadaPosts: 105
    Hi Ruffeo,

    I'm glad to see things are progressing! Be patient! I didn't drive for 5 months after my last surgery, but my situation was a bit different. I sure was happy to have people to drive me around, especially to the physio. Take care!
  • Hi all, I have been getting pins n needles in my hands, have difficulty swallowing and despite eating more than normal i continue to weigh the least I have for sometime, and the numbness at the back of my head seems to be extending forward. My regular doc said to get an urgent review from my specialist, as these were all symptoms that they would expect to see pre-op not post. I checked that this would be covered under the previous referral, as it cost. £100 to see the consultant privately, oh yes I was told by both the surgery and the consultants secretary. So I see the specialist who basically said it was all in my mind and that I had had an operation that would cost me 70% loss of movement in my neck (this figure was never banded about before!), so suck it up. When I asked about the issues I had been sent back to him for he said he didn't know why I was experiencing these problems and gave me a prescription for muscle spasms and checked my reflexes which were fine and said it was all in my head. To finish off this wonderful experience I was charged £100 as he said it was a new consultation. Why do Drs treat you like a complete idiot - I know there was no choice for the op, and have no wish to be undergoing any more surgery, I was simply concerned about the new symptoms - really no need to make me feel like a stupid old woman!! Or is it me?
  • Hi all, well my luck continues. I finally got some much needed physio and I really cannot explain how much easier my neck movement is. Whilst the specialist said get used to 70% loss I now have a good 45% turn each side and I have the go ahead to drive. The need for pain killers is very sporadic it is now purely generated by muscle tightness, which with continued physio will I am sure wear off.
    So 10 weeks post op - am back to normal - well as normal as I am ever going to get. Hurrah!!!!!
  • Ruffeo said:
    Hi all, I have been getting pins n needles in my hands, have difficulty swallowing and despite eating more than normal i continue to weigh the least I have for sometime, and the numbness at the back of my head seems to be extending forward. My regular doc said to get an urgent review from my specialist, as these were all symptoms that they would expect to see pre-op not post. I checked that this would be covered under the previous referral, as it cost. £100 to see the consultant privately, oh yes I was told by both the surgery and the consultants secretary. So I see the specialist who basically said it was all in my mind and that I had had an operation that would cost me 70% loss of movement in my neck (this figure was never banded about before!), so suck it up. When I asked about the issues I had been sent back to him for he said he didn't know why I was experiencing these problems and gave me a prescription for muscle spasms and checked my reflexes which were fine and said it was all in my head. To finish off this wonderful experience I was charged £100 as he said it was a new consultation. Why do Drs treat you like a complete idiot - I know there was no choice for the op, and have no wish to be undergoing any more surgery, I was simply concerned about the new symptoms - really no need to make me feel like a stupid old woman!! Or is it me?
    I'm really sorry to hear about your pain...I do understand what you are saying though, my spinal doctor that i was seeing in 2008 diagnosed my conditon based on a MRI taken in 2005 at the time the MRI revealed mild changes he didn't bother taking a new XRay or MRI even though i was in agonizing pain. He told me that the etiology of my symptons were unknown and i was fine and to just go live my life. I saw him in August 2008 in September 2008 i had a 4-way odontoid taken of my C-spine in which revealed significant changes to c4-c5 -c5-c6, c-5 revealed moderate hypertrophy and foraminal narrowing on the right side form C4 through C7. According to his clinic note he stated that there was no narrowing of the spine. He had the nerve to tell me that there were no changes, how did he know he failed to take a updated Xray or MRI.
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