Who's riding with fused vertebrae?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by NoTime, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. wjherrick

    wjherrick Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,439
    Location:
    NW US
    ...and a titanium cage wrapped around all. I work out 5 days a week, workin' abs and back related muscles. I ride the bike all the time with multiple 10 day camping trips on dirt. If you are dedicated and stay in shape, no problem. That said I'm not saying that I'm pain free but the pain just reminds me I'm still alive!

    Bill in OR
    #21
  2. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,303
    Location:
    Chambers Bay, WA
    NoTime--

    At age 34, I got a whiplash injury to my neck. Did not know it.

    At age 44, it started to hurt. Radiology showed disc deterioration and stenosis of the spinal channel. Treated it with PT and painkillers.

    At age 54, couldn't take it anymore. Got the surgery. This was August 2006. I chose to have a neurosurgeon be my butcher.

    He came in the front. Removed completely the discs between C5/6 and C6/7. Replaced them with cadaver bone. Titanium plate installed on the anterior of C5-6-7 to hold everything in place while the three vertebrae grew together into one big lump through ossification of the cadaver bone.

    Result? Pain gone. And I gained an extra 1/2 inch in height! And I can't turn my head as far as I used to. But I can still turn my head far enough to see behind me over my shoulder. And I can still put in 12 hour days in the saddle with no neck pain. I was off the bike for 6 months.

    Since then, I've had two high sides and god knows how many low sides (10?) on dirt. Also had one low side and one high side on pavement. The pavement high side was a nasty one where I flipped up in the air at 60mph and came down hard. Result? Broken bones-yes. Deep deep bruises-yes. Cuts and scrapes-yes. Neck pain-nope!

    My advice? You need to seek out the opinion of someone who does not stand to benefit either way. You got surgeons there trying to win your business and trying to tell you that their way is the right way.

    And my opinion, FWIW, is that any posterior approach is going to be highly invasive and will have a long recovery. The anterior approach, although it sounds nasty, is actually just a matter of pulling aside the trachea and jugular and carotid and esophagus to gain access to the spine. No muscles get cut, no tendons, no cartilage--unlike the posterior incision which is very serious business.
    #22
  3. NoTime

    NoTime Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    Elvistown
    Y'all are awesome - as usual. I really appreciate all the comments and hearing your experiences.

    Did the full 9 yards on last Friday. I've asked the doc for copies of the xrays for my scrapbook. Very impressive. I think I ended up with 3 levels fused in the front and C3-T2 done in the back. Like carrying around a bowling ball on my neck.

    I've decided to go ahead and part with my bike and adventure riding...for now... take it slow, get serious about getting back into shape as suggested and then see if I can get back on a bike. I'm optimistic. Thanks for the encouragement.
    #23
  4. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,303
    Location:
    Chambers Bay, WA
    oh wow.
    #24
  5. pops

    pops Long timer

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,853
    Location:
    Stirling North South Australia
    I did the same NoTime.

    I sold the ktm 950 adv :cry I thought it would be to much of a risk to ride after the op .
    The Doc did say that after around 6 months i should be ok to ride a bike again.

    So i am keeping the 1150 gsa sidecar for now .
    The wife keeps saying if i can not ride it. She will:thumb
    It has only been 5 weeks or so since my back op, It is getting stronger every day .
    Chin up mate you will get there :deal

    Cheers Ian
    #25
  6. Gillus

    Gillus High Desert Rat Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,163
    Location:
    Alamogordo, NM
    I had the S1-L5 fused in 2003. Neurosurgeon Doc told me I couldn't tear it loose it but 10 lbs (12 pack for reference) for 30 days, 30 lbs (case) for 90 days and then back to normal but don't overdo it. He told me I would be uncomfortable for about a year and the day the year passed, no pain and no problems. I have to be careful of not overdoing the one above it and it will get a bit more stress and movement. I will be 59 this August and will ride till I can't ride safely and it most likely will be from hereditary arthritis and too much work for too many years.

    My dad said good things come from hard work soooooooo I bought a GSA cuz it is the smoothest, easiest riding motorcycle available. You can too soon, get healthy and back in shape and enjoy the lack of pain with an optimistic attitude.:freaky
    #26
  7. findlj

    findlj How much fun is that

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Oddometer:
    332
    Location:
    Missouri
    Just an fyi on this line of thought for anyone else who's wondering about neck fusion.
    I have c7-c4 fused with an artificial disk (ADR) at c4/c3. The ADR is a ball and socket assembly which allows movement.
    I still ride motorcycles and bicycles regularly. I have a Tiger 800 XC and will ride some easy single track but don't push it. I road ride it regularly.
    I have lost some rotation with the three level fusion but not enough to keep me from checking traffic safely. I did lose considerable articulation ( rolling my head back) and flexion ( rolling my head forward). I don't find either of these affect motorcycling.
    #27
  8. Lokey

    Lokey redneck

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    252
    Location:
    Susanville, CA
    C5-6 fused in my neck back in 1994. No problems, although I didn't ride for 2 1/2 years after the surgery. I kept having dreams of my head popping off if I got in a wreck.

    Broke my back when I was 17, while I have had ongoing problems with it over the years, I haven't let it stop me from riding.
    #28
  9. Matt51F1

    Matt51F1 This space for rent.

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3
    I have had my L5/S1 fused and recently (3 months ago on Christmas Day), had a laminectomy and the implant of a coflex (titanium/cobalt spring).

    I have had absolutely no issues but I was off the bike for 4 months after the fusion as they had to go in through the front and I now have a caesarian scar but am still fat (must have stuffed the baby back in :wink: )

    A sport bike would kill me but the TDM looks after me quite well :clap
    #29
  10. Galloglaich

    Galloglaich Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    217
    Location:
    Scotland
    d0nt give up mate,C something is conncted to C......blah blah,got blown up 27 years ago.Dont do this,dont do that,ride and enjoy ,if it starts to hurt worry I know I have been lucky and I hope you are too:wave:wave:wave
    #30
  11. ttmike

    ttmike Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    Frisco, TX
    Wow, I had no idea there were so many kindred souls out there with spinal problems. I had a fusion at c4/5 and 5/6 when I was 30(64,now) and now it's beginning to deteriorate and give me pain problems. No strength or movement deficits, just occasional neck pain. I ride a dirt bike in the New Mexico mountains in the summer and a touring bike on the highway. Motorcyle riding never seems to initiate the pain, in fact, sometimes I think it helps ease the pain. My sleeping or sitting position seems to be what usually causes the problem. FYI , I take a lot of ibuprophen and, if the pain gets really bad, whiskey. It actually works better than morphine. Not while I'm riding, of course.
    #31
  12. MT Wallet

    MT Wallet Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2013
    Oddometer:
    4,032
    Location:
    North "Freezin" Dakota
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLqx_hh9eE8 This is a little long but if you can get through it you get an idea about current state of the art techniques. I'm not going to have any open procedures that aren't MIS if I can help it.
    #32
  13. a7an

    a7an Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    61
    I am delighted for those of you with successful pain free, highly mobile spinal fusions. Congratulations!

    Following an 8.5 year journey of research, misdiagnosis and poor diagnosis I elected to have a three level ADR surgery. In 2010 I had a three level (L3-L4 / L4-L5 / L5-S1) artificial disc procedure.

    Zero pain, zero limitations increased flexibility and no additional strain on adjacent discs. I recently tested the durability of my devices with a bone shattering mountainbike accident. No displacement, no subsidence and no lumbar spinal pain whatsoever.

    Challenge the medical community. There are better options out there!
    #33
  14. fallingoff

    fallingoff Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,677
    Location:
    syd oz
    been told many times to get fusion
    and others who say no.
    anyway now both bottom discs have fused on their own
    have a break further up
    cheers
    still manage most things kinda

    merry xmas
    #34
  15. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    20,391
    Location:
    Fayetteville, AR
    I had surgery twice in 2002. I have fusions in my lower back at L 3/4, C 5/6 with stabilizing rods adjacent to L 3/4. I'd be lying if I said riding didn't hurt but not riding would hurt more.

    My fusions, screws and rods were the result of a botched parachute jump and falling off a roof when I was a kid. Flexibility? What the hell is that? I just keep on keeping on. Like others I don't take heavy medication for pain but I take an 800mg Ibuprofen twice a day and when needed a couple of fingers of Jameson works well.
    #35
  16. Jud

    Jud Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,930
    Location:
    Arkansas Ozarks
    Fusion at L2,3,4,,,,,, T12 and L5 fractured back 20+ yrs ago. A month in the hospital, was bluntly told I wouldn't walk again. Several months in a chair, walker then a cane. Out of work over a year. About two years later I had the rods removed to continue racing {WERA would allow me to race with the rods in}. No issues for years other than sleeping on my stomach or the normal aches you have for a surgery like that. I even started lifting again {no heavy squats, very careful when lift heavy on the back} and then even got into running. I got back into open track stuff and have a couple of hard crashes on road and on the track. Countless dumps on the dirt.

    Eveything fine for years and then about 6yrs ago I had sever issues and discovered a pinched nerve at L4/5 due to wear and compression of the remaining disk. Also had stenosis and artheritis of course. Now, dual sport and heavy adv type riding can be terrible at times. As can the weather.

    My FJR is about perfect as it has enough forward lean to get some weight off the back an onto my shoulders/wrists. My DL6650 has been modded alot, bars back and up, footpegs lower and forward,,, feels like a dirt bike nearly which is bad for back, better for standing on pegs. My XR650L is the worst.

    At times, it just hurts due to pinching or the other crap, no riding needed to aggravate. Got stomach ulcers from Tylenol, frigged up liver from Ibuprophen/Tramadol and Celebrex. I got addicted to Tramadal about 3yrs ago and when that happened I decided no more meds and excepting a much more judicoius use of ibuprophen,,,, have stayed away from meds. I've had injections at the nerve roots {steriods, cortizon,ect.} and I think you are better off without and have stopped those too.

    I don't have alot of advice,,,,,, except, don't run. My docs specifically warned against lifting and running and I did it anyway. My docs have adamatly stated much of my present issues stem from the pounding of running everyday. Lifting,,,, not so much as I was very careful. Get afull suspension mountain bike maybe.
    #36
  17. pops

    pops Long timer

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,853
    Location:
    Stirling North South Australia
    Good to hear so many positive stories on riding after having fused vertebrae :clap:clap.
    Still hope for me yet
    All the best Ian
    #37
  18. GrouchyGeezer

    GrouchyGeezer idjit galoot, still Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Oddometer:
    8,082
    Location:
    S.E. Michigan
    No fusion, but had to undergo a Lumbar Laminectomy to relieve pressure on my spinal column from an old Enduro injury -- several fracture vertebrae.

    My Chiropractor was happy to hear I was getting a BMW GS rather than a Harley. "Better posture on the Beemer.", he said.

    I've never hurt my back with the 1200 GS, even when picking it up for the third time that day off-roading and I'm in my 60s. The last time I hurt my back was changing a tire, on my wife's SUV, while wearing dress pants (on our way to a wedding). Squating versus sitting to align the bolts to the wheel, was more than my back could handle. Messed me up for a few weeks.

    Keep your core muscles in shape and enjoy yourself! You'll know if you're doing something you shouldn't. :freaky
    #38
  19. David Shapiro

    David Shapiro Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    379
    Location:
    Northern Illinois
    First of all, you can't compare the experiences of a cervical and lumbar fusion. Strictly from a postoperative standpoint, it is far easier to get over cervical surgery. I speak from a unique perspective. I was a spinal surgeon who had to retire after a 3 level cervical fusion for spinal stenosis.
    I was cleared to ride 6 months after my successful fusion. My biggest problem is loss of flexion, not rotation. In fact, that's the reason I had to retire. I sold my brand new K1600GT, since I couldn't stand the thought of watching it depreciate in my garage. I'm looking for a new one for the spring.
    Lumbar fusion is different. I think that both the position and residual pain might make riding very difficult for some people. You would need to experiment to see what seating position fit you the best.

    David
    #39
  20. RTLover

    RTLover Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,543
    Location:
    West-central France
    No fusion, just a list of problems with the back that I inherited from my father. No doc ever told me NOT to ride, but some offered the 'it could become serious' advisory. One long running issue is nerve damage/pain from the C that may outlive me. The left forefinger and thumb are at times tough to handle, sometimes only a reminder. Funny thing is that I can ride my R1200RT for hours and days without it aggravating. In fact, the vibration really diminishes the pain. When I tell someone that, I usually see their eyes roll. :D
    #40