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Cervical Disc Fusion - How long before you could gig?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by kesslari, Jul 21, 2012.


  1. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    I'm going to need to have 4 cervical vertebrae fused.
    Have any of you undergone this? And if so:
    How long before you could hold a bass to practice?
    How long before you could gig?

    Note to all who *haven't* had this surgery:
    Yes, I've tried a whole lot of alternative therapies. Please don't tell me how chiropractic (or whatever) will fix it for me. Trust that this is a necessary step. I know the first 4-6 weeks post-op are very restricted - I want to know how long it will take to be able to resume gigging.
     
  2. nortonrider

    nortonrider

    Nov 20, 2007
    I had a 3 level cervical fusion. C4-5, 5-6,6-7.
    I had to take it easy as long as I wore the collar(6 weeks) and then They told me that I was good to go.

    It takes at least a year for the bones to get a fuse going (one of my levels took 2 years to completely graft), but it is actually the plate and screws that keep your head attached to your body.
     
  3. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Minneapolis
    I had my first vertebrae fused. (my surgery was on the other end.) I rehearsed after a couple of weeks, sitting in a chair. It was awful. I gigged within a month, and it was a terrible, terrible idea.

    You are going to need some recovery time, man. Please don't push yourself, and make sure you ask all these questions of your SURGEON, and then LISTEN to what he tells you.

    After surgery, you need to get set up with a physical therapist. Be very careful. This is your SPINE we are talking about here, and doing four vertebrae, I don't think you should be gigging too soon at all.

    I hope all goes well for you. I'm a year and two months out from my surgery, and I can touch my toes, and due to some physical therapy and weight training, I'm in the best shape I've ever been in.

    Do I still have pain? To be honest, yes, sometimes. But it's nowhere near on the level of the pain I used to have, which was crippling.
     
  4. nortonrider

    nortonrider

    Nov 20, 2007
    As far as holding a bass, I didn't.
    I rigged up a stand (out of an old music stand) and kept my bass attached to it so I could just walk up, turn it on and play.

    It would have hurt quite a bit to have hung it around my neck, not to mention with the collar on, you can't look down far enough to see it if you did.

    P.S.
    I was only in the hospital overnight for observation after the surgery.
     
  5. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    This is good, helpful stuff guys. Thank you.
    And yes - I have learned enough in my life not to push it. I'm wanting a realistic assessment since I'm going to have to call a blackout for 2 bands, and probably cancel some existing gigs (or have them get a fill-in).
    And the stand for the bass is an EXCELLENT idea. Thank you for that.
     
  6. Hey buddy! Sorry to hear you're going to add another surgery to your list... too bad... My uncle had two cervical vertebrae fused, and it caused tension with the wife because for the first two months he couldn't go out to bars or concerts for more than an hour or so before he had to turn around.

    With so many factors, my quasi-informed guess would be 2-3 months, and even then, have your family/band load/unload your gear. You know. Be selfish. Better than hurting yourself!

    And, for the record, I moved to the east bay, otherwise I totally would've hit up your shows. However, would DEFINITELY go to a funky send-off as your last pre-op surgery.

    Just curious: where are you getting the fusion done? UCSF? Stanford? Somewhere else? And how did you chose your surgeon?

    In the meantime, I hope you are managing the pain and inflammation as well as you can. Pain killers, ice, and a La-Z-Boy chair work wonders!

    Positive thoughts are coming your way. Be well.
     
  7. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    My sincere best wishes for your health and healing.

    That said, you could probably start playing fusion right away!
     
  8. Indiana Mike

    Indiana Mike

    Nov 18, 2005
    Evansville
    I had a cervical fusion 14 months ago . One level done thru the front . I was released in a month and resumed my job as an industrial HVAC mechanic / Technician. I lift and move around a lot of weight ,climb ladders,pull chain falls etc....

    I could do anything I wanted after a month but it was NOT without residual pain .

    At about 4 months post op I felt pretty good and now it's like it never happened .

    I suffered with recurrent "attacks" for years before the last one drove me to demand a solution . Best thing I ever did .


    Good luck and follow doctors orders.
     
  9. deeptubes

    deeptubes

    Feb 21, 2011
    Virginia Beach
    5 or 6 years ago, I had C6 and C7 fused, and they replaced the disc with cadaver bone. I tore the meniscus and the disc got pinched between the vertebrae and essentially ground it up, like a mortar and pestle. A piece of the disc was jammed into a nerve that ran down my right arm to my index finger. It was the worst pain I have ever felt. I couldn't even sleep in my own bed. I had to sleep in a recliner and could only get about 2 hours at a time. The orthopedic surgeon said the pain I was feeling is worse than childbirth. I still have some numbness in my right finger due to the nerve damage. It has slowly improved with time. I can feel pressure but can't really tell the difference between different textures. For example, If you blindfolded me, I would be able to tell the difference between rounds and flats, but I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between 100 and 220 grit sandpaper. After surgery, it took about a month before I could get back to work as an electrician. It took a couple of months before I could bounce around again. For me, the test was jumping rope. When I could jump rope with no pain, I was good to go.
     
  10. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Do y'all mind sharing a few words about what symptoms drove your physicians to recommend surgery?
     
  11. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    fdeck - for me, pain in the neck and a particular spot in the right shoulder blade (referred pain). Originally I also had tingling and pain down my right arm. That led to the first MRI's and a number of injections back in 2006/7. Those helped the symptoms, but the MRI's showed significant degeneration of 3 discs, and impingement on the nerves coming out from the spine. The current MRI shows that I have bone impinging on my spinal cord directly, which is a Very Bad thing, and without surgery I am at risk for spinal cord (and other nerve) damage. Also loss of dexterity in my hands, which for us is a major scare.
     
  12. Indiana Mike

    Indiana Mike

    Nov 18, 2005
    Evansville
    I had issues for years then....

    when you have reccurent episodes of ridiculous pain and then when you lose all the strength in your left arm and you hand doesn't work right anymore its time to do something.

    I had an MRI that showed a destroyed disc as well as bone spurs . I was facing permanent nerve damage and nearly total loss of the use of my left arm from the shoulder down . I pushed and got it taken care of fast and have about 95% back .

    The pain before surgery was insane . I never knew a person could actually hurt that much. I am glad I didn't have any guns in my house at the time . Yes , suicide crossed my mind more than once during that time
     
  13. KwinS

    KwinS Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    Dallas/Ft. Worth
    Recovering from a swollen cord from C1 to C7, here. I have had very similar symptoms, too. My left/right coordination is still a little off, and with exertion, it feels like I have steel bands wrapped around both arms that get tighter and tighter. I probably couldn't pass the sandpaper test mentioned above. It's actual damage to my cord, rather than structural, and has been healing for almost a year!

    MBrace makes a holder that screws on top of a mic stand. It saved me from totally throwing in the towel as far as playing an instrument while I began recovering.
     
  14. deeptubes

    deeptubes

    Feb 21, 2011
    Virginia Beach
    My symptoms were instantaneous. I went to the doctor, and he thought it was an issue with a strained muscle in my upper back. He prescribed me Vicodin and Skelaxin. Of course, they had no effect. Kept going back, and they finally set me up an appointment with an orthopedist. During my initial visit, I was in the middle of describing my symptoms, and he stopped me and told me the rest of them. He had been doing this for more than 30 years, and had heard the same symptoms thousands of times. Turns out, he was the president of the group Orthopedic Surgeons of America. His hands were as soft as butter that had been sitting out for 2 days. A week later, I had my surgery.
     
  15. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Got the Mbrace stand today. I really like it. I can play without hurting as much.
     
  16. KwinS

    KwinS Supporting Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    Dallas/Ft. Worth
    Mine got me through my toughest times! Glad you like it, too!
     
  17. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    So I go under the knife on Friday. If you're the praying type, send a few my way, please. Thanks.
     
  18. nortonrider

    nortonrider

    Nov 20, 2007
    Hang in there, Man!
    It'll be all right!

    Post surgery they wanted me to walk a mile a day, expect that!
    Like I said earlier, I was only in the hospital overnight for observation.

    Sleeping with that collar on SUCKS! - expect that too!

    I am guessing that they are going in from the front (Anterior),
    if so....
    expect swallowing to be an issue until the swelling goes down and things
    fall back into place. (your swallower, voice box, etc...)

    Get as much done to make recovery easier on yourself NOW, because you
    ain't going to feel much like it next week.
     
  19. RosieB

    RosieB

    Feb 10, 2009
    Prayers definitely coming your way.
     
  20. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Thanks amigos y amigas. I know I'll get through it OK. One step at a time.
     

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