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    Old 12-26-2011, 07:44 PM   #1
    women51
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    Posterior C2-T1 Fusion

    I would like to hear from anyone that is further along than I am in the recovery from a posterior fusion. As of today I am 5 weeks post surgery and still having lots of pain due to muscle spasms. I am taking my Narco and Flexeril on a regular schedule. My pain management physician, referred by my surgeon, has just added Neurotin to my meds. I wear an external bone stimulator four hours a day. The application of heat/cold seems to help even more than the pain medication since I probably have built up a tolerance level to the meds, taking them since my auto accident in August 2011. My questions are as follows:

    1. Has anyone with a similar operation used a bone stimulator? If so, have you seen good results as seen on the xrays during your follow-up with the surgeon?

    2. Is anyone further along then I am with your recovery?

    3. When did you start physical therapy? My surgeon is indicating that physical therapy will not be started until I am six months post surgery.

    4. How long did you have to wear a hard collar? My surgeon is telling me that I have to be in a hard collar for 12 weeks, with no driving, no lifting more than 5 lbs.

    I am hearing that some of you with similar operation are weaned from the hard collar at 6 weeks. I would love to be weaned at 6 weeks instead of 12 weeks. I am not able to get a good nights rest wearing this collar in bed. Not being able to drive for 12 weeks is almost unbearable. I have a 6 week post operative appointment with my surgeon next week and have many questions.

    Women51

    Thank you for your responses...

     
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    Old 12-27-2011, 03:24 PM   #2
    SpineAZ
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    Re: Posterior C2-T1 Fusion

    Has the doctor considered anything stronger than Norco? And perhaps putting you on a long acting medication with Norco or Percocet for break through pain?

    I take MS Contin, Percocet, Soma, and Neurontin. I take the generic of each of these to save money.
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    Old 12-28-2011, 11:15 AM   #3
    jennybyc
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    Re: Posterior C2-T1 Fusion

    I think I kind of answered you before but in my case, the casue was different but the operation was the same. but...

    1)no stimulator for me. I had a bone putty used for the fusion that is no longer available so I started to fuse very quickly. X-rays done at 3 weeks post-op(I fell backwards in the kitchen and hit my head and neck on the fridge)showed I was already fusing...x-rays are you best way to know.

    2)I will be 5 years on Jan.11th. Neck still has pain but I find that swimming helps to alleviate the muscle pain. Rarely have to take anything for it. However, for some reason, I am now rebuilding the osteophytes the doc removed in the surgery and am probably facing additional surgery. But it's not bad. I have met people with longer fusions than either of us have who do work full time. I think it really depends on the cause of the problem as well as the skill of the doc.

    3)I began "passive" PT at 3 weeks. Passive means they move the joints and I just lay there and did nothing. I couldn't move my left shoulder at all and they feared a frozen shoulder so I started therapy for that ASAP. Active PT I started at 6 weeks but not for my neck...for my slightly paralyzed legs to help recover movement. PT on the neck muscles I didn't do until about 4 months post-op and did mostly E-stim which uses electrodes to make the muscles contract without my doing anything thing at all...again, passive. Didn't really do active neck exercises until about 6 months.

    4)I was originally told 12 weeks but after 7 weeks, he told me I could go to a soft collar....x-rays showed good fusing. I was driving with the hard collar(against the law but I had no one to drive me to PT). I was VERY careful.

    Having talked to a couple of people with failed fusions(they didn't grow bone rapidly enough and they broke the weakly fused bone) it is important to do what your doc says to avoid that result. It is painful and requires additional surgery and even more waiting time. He knows what he put in and where and how long it will take to fuse the bones together.

    If you think this is hard, try imagining what it would be like to be in a "halo" for 3-4 months if it doesn't take! That will make you more patient! Made me love my hard neck brace!

    Jenny

     
    Old 12-28-2011, 02:21 PM   #4
    women51
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    Re: Posterior C2-T1 Fusion

    Hi Jenny,

    I appreciate your answers to my questions. The last information about a failed fusion really makes me want to definitely follow the physicians instructions, which I have totally done so. I am a Registered Nurse and told by the surgeon, disability company, etc. that I will probably not go back to my profession. Yes, and nurses do make the worst patients by not following the doctors orders. In this case, I have followed them 100% because I cannot and will not have this repeated again.

    It is totally hard not being able to drive when I live further out of the city and transportation sources are minimal. I am a single mother with sons ages 17 & 19. The 17 year old is living at home; however, he is finishing up his final year in high school and works full time. I have exhausted my friends totally for driving me to/from appointments. I may have to drive one time to an local physician appointment with my hard collar because there is no transportation available.

    I am anxiously awaiting my follow-up appointment with the surgeon next week, will be 6 weeks post op, to see if I can go into a soft collar. I would like to work very part time from home and get out to see my friends. Seeing and visiting my friends helps tremendously with the psychological components to a very serious injury.

    Currently, I am renting a house in the school district where my son attends high school. Since he graduates this year and my lease ends in April 2012, I am headed into the city where more resources are available for the disabled.

    I will find out from my surgeon next week regarding short term and long term my ability to drive. Initially, I was told by my surgeon that I would not have anymore limited neck movement than I already had prior to surgery with great pain. Prior to surgery, I was driving but on a limited basis and not during our rush hour. The surgeon already told me that he sees me working part time from the home.

     
    Old 01-29-2012, 08:55 AM   #5
    EdwardD88
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    Re: Posterior C2-T1 Fusion

    Hope you are doing better, I had a c3 to t3 cervical fusion October 3, 2011 I have had a mix of good and bad days. I am starting to have more better days than bad now with the hope of more to come. I used the bone stimulator for two months and appears to have helped although I am still skeptical of how effective it is. I know valium is the absolute best for the spasms at least for me. I had horrible spasms in my back and it worked very well.

    I wore a hard collar for six weeks. I still do wear it occasionally I have found I'm having posture problems and it helps to wear it when I get home from work. I have to constantly remind myself to hold my head up. I am driving now and found I'm much more reliant on the mirrors. I still worry about airbags or getting hit in the rear.

    My surgeon never referred me to physical therapy. I feel better than I did before the surgery and am now only taking Tramadol for occasional pain. I have been having some trouble with the numbness around the lower part of the cut (t2 area)

    I wish you the best and feel free to post if you have any questions. I would like to know how you are doing and if you are having any problems with your recovery.

    Last edited by moderator2; 01-29-2012 at 09:11 AM.

     
    Old 01-29-2012, 11:33 AM   #6
    women51
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    Re: Posterior C2-T1 Fusion

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EdwardDavis View Post
    Hope you are doing better, I had a c3 to t3 cervical fusion October 3, 2011 I have had a mix of good and bad days. I am starting to have more better days than bad now with the hope of more to come. I used the bone stimulator for two months and appears to have helped although I am still skeptical of how effective it is. I know valium is the absolute best for the spasms at least for me. I had horrible spasms in my back and it worked very well.

    I wore a hard collar for six weeks. I still do wear it occasionally I have found I'm having posture problems and it helps to wear it when I get home from work. I have to constantly remind myself to hold my head up. I am driving now and found I'm much more reliant on the mirrors. I still worry about airbags or getting hit in the rear.

    My surgeon never referred me to physical therapy. I feel better than I did before the surgery and am now only taking Tramadol for occasional pain. I have been having some trouble with the numbness around the lower part of the cut (t2 area)

    I wish you the best and feel free to post if you have any questions. I would like to know how you are doing and if you are having any problems with your recovery.
    It is interesting in our similarities even though we didn't have the exact surgery. I feel much better than I originally felt and really starting to wean myself off the pain meds, except at night before going to bed.

    I do question the effectiveness of the bone stimulator and will find out for sure at my three month appointment on the 15th of February. I was real religious with using the bone stimulator the first two months, wearing it four hours a day as prescribed by my physician. The physician ordered the stimulator to be worn four hours per day for three months, which I question its effectiveness after two months.

    Now in terms of the hard collar I find it interesting that I am to wear this hard collar 24/7 for twice the amount of time you wore yours, or 12 weeks. Within this last month as long as I am sitting down I have taken the collar off to prevent muscle spasms between my shoulders and the neck.

    So when did you go back to work? Do you have a desk job? I am pushing my physician to let me go back to work after my three months but don't know that he will allow.

    I think that there will always be that fear that I will be rear ended or have the airbags go off. For my safety I will always be driving a big vehicle with wide angle mirrors to facilitate my driving.

    I cannot imagine waiting until 6 months post op to start physical therapy. Since my suture sites have healed I have gone into the pool to do my light water exercises with walking. I think in the long run this will help when I do my official physical therapy.

    It was good to hear that you do have numbness at the upper part of your head near the suture site. I have been experiencing the same.

    Women51

     
    Old 01-29-2012, 04:14 PM   #7
    SpineAZ
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    Re: Posterior C2-T1 Fusion

    I bought a panoramic rear view mirror (from autosport) that clips over a standard rear view mirror. It helps a lot. Then 6 mo ago we bought a small SUV (7 yr old Honda CRV) for me to helpful my back, neck and knees. Big step to buy a car for medical reasons but has been great and by buying a 7 yr old car the loan is minimal. Sitting a little higher also means I can strain the neck less. The previous owner of my car had put little round side mirror additions (they stick to the side mirrors) and those have been amazingly helpful.
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