Who's riding with fused vertebrae?

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

  1. Emmett

    Emmett Been here awhile Supporter

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    Three fused vert in my neck with a titanium plate, 65 yo, just completed a 6,153 mile trip, no immediate plans to stop riding.
    #81
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  2. dogsslober

    dogsslober No neck tie, Ti neck

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    Broke my neck and upper back in 2007, I'm 60 now. I still ride dirt bikes and mountain bike. If I listen to the Doctor I'd be just riding the couch, F that
    back.jpg halo001.jpg IMG_2635.JPG
    #82
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  3. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    C5-C7 (actually T1) wearing a Leatt neck brace for safety when off roading. Don't want to break any more of them, that'd be catastrophic.
    #83
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  4. pops

    pops Long timer

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    Wow, where has all the years gone to ?
    6 weeks now, totaly drug free. After 7 odd years of pain medication, definitely not my recommendation, to just lock oneself away for two weeks to quit .
    Even with the strife i have had after my operations, i would still go ahead with the fusions. Just not under my original surgeon.
    Hopefully all posting on here ,are getting stronger and enjoying life , pain free .
    #84
  5. 2old2Bbold

    2old2Bbold was 2bold2getold

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    8th grade football screwed up my neck. Not sure the doc at the ostio hospital didn't do more harm than the guy that stumbled in to my head/neck. From that day on, every time I move my head I get all kinds of crunching noises in my neck...still to this day. I rode enduros for a couple of years but the neck pain was really bad. Switched to trials for several years and that was much better...in every way. Got in to cycling (big time), ran a couple of marathons and triathalons. and didn't ride bikes for a few years. My old riding buddies started taking trips to Mexico so I got another bike to go on the DS type rides they were doing in MX and CO. In the mean time I'm still in to cycling and climbing. Climbed some 14ers in CO, Orizaba in MX and McKinley (Denali) in Alaska. Fast forward 30 years from the original injury and I wake up one morning with my left side tingling, like it's asleep, form my arm pit to my foot and split right down the middle. It took several months for the docs to figure out 2 disks were pushing in to my spinal cord. The surgery doc says do the surgery or you my not be able to walk. Well he does the fusions, c5-c6 and c6-c7, with bone from my left hip. The numb one. :D I stay in the hospital about a week and they send me home with a plastic/foam velcro neck brace and say I shouldn't drive for a while. I didn't ask about bikes or anything else. Learned a long tome ago....don't ask a question that might have NO for an answer. So I walked the 2 1/2 miles to work and back every day for a couple of weeks till a finally figured out it was more dangerous walking than driving. Almost got hit a couple of times by drivers not paying attention. The doc keeps me in the neck brace for about 6 months. Maybe he knew what I was probably going to do if I could get loose from that neck brace but I think he was just covering his ass. Anyway soon after that I was on a modified exercise program that I got from the therapy people gave me. Modified because some of the moves seemed to do some good, some didn't, and some seemed harmful. Mostly core work and added some upper body strength exercise I was already doing for climbing. Also started bicycle riding again which took care of everything else. One year after the surgery I went to Europe with 3 friends and climbed the Eiger and Mont Blanc. Fun stuff. Been riding ever since, mostly street legal dirt bikes on DS type rides, COBDR, NMBDR, CDR, CO jeep trail type stuff. Got a 2013 KTM450xcw a couple of years ago and love it. Still can't fell my left side and my neck still goes crunch, crunch every time I move it. I'll be 75yo next Feb. :thumb
    #85
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  6. BuckeyeDoug

    BuckeyeDoug Not a Pirate

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    L4-L5-S1 fusion in 2006 at 42 years old. Over a year recovery before I even jumped off a curb. Bought a hardtail chopper in 2008 and never looked back. Still ride in the woods single track too.
    #86
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  7. jeffmackvision

    jeffmackvision Boob man Supporter

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    C6-C7 for me. Just a little weakness in left tricep from nerv damage. But no pain. Can ride forever
    #87
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  8. John Havilah

    John Havilah Been here awhile Supporter

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    While recovering from a 5 level fusion in 2012 I sold my 2008 GSA, all my gear and said goodby to the lifestyle, this site and many other good things in life. Unfortunately, I thought life would only get worse, and it did. It got really bad, 80 lbs of fat, lots of meds, 8 more surgeries with 2 failures of hardware, and a visit into a very very dark hole called life for almost the past 6 years.

    I never dumped my doctor and he never abandoned me. He gave me options and answers but never pushed. In August 2019 before entering surgery in self absorbed agony, with 10 levels already fused, I said a final goodbye to my lovely wife, something I had never done before. I simply said I don't feel good about this one, I'm sorry, I love you and goodbye. While on the surgical table getting ready to be put under I made my peace with life, another first, and mentally said goodbye to life, I'll wake up in a better place.

    Here's my wake up:

    SpineJH.jpg

    Something unexpected had also happened, other than waking up. Other than the pain from having two feet of my back filleted, spine drilled, broken, straightened, lengthened and who knows what else for 6 hours, I was basically pain free. I took my first steps later that night and spent another 5 days in the hospital amazing my wife, myself, doctors and everyone else. This was also the first time post surgery I wasn't hitting the pain pump every 8 minutes. If you've been there you'll understand.

    My point in all of this is that even when things seem bad, they can and may get worse. Maybe forever or maybe just maybe even after years of decline, they can sometimes get better. In my case it is the latter. I've dumped most of the meds. Yeah I still have bad days but many are good, it's just that life is different now with different limits and my good is different than other peoples "good". When I walk into the spine clinic all the nurses and staff say "you look amazing" and my doc just smiles and we talk about the future, our cows and ranch, fun stuff. I lost 80 pounds. My scoliosis is gone, along with pre-diabetes, osteoporosis, BP is normal as well as cholesterol, I can walk again and most importantly I filled in that dark dark hole and I'm not in it. I'm happier than I've ever been in my life.

    9 months post surgery, I'm so regretting selling/giving away all of my gear and my GSA in 2012 for a song. I talked to the doc about getting back on the motorbike and he said "just don't fall or over do it", same thing he started telling me almost 20 years ago. I talked to my wife and she said "start looking for a bike, I know you loved riding, just don't over do it". For days now I've been pouring over bikes on the Flea Market, what fun. Who knows? Maybe I'll be riding again and hitting the savings for replacement gear. Little local rides in our mountains, I live on one of the best riding roads in the west right out the front gate. 1000's of miles of mountain and desert paved and dirt riding just minutes away from the garage.

    My sincerest thanks to everyone who told their stories before me on this post, they really helped me to see that a bunch of people have dealt with similar issues and decided to keep riding. Lesson learned, don't dump everything important in life and all of your riding stuff, sometimes life can and does get better again and back to normal. It's just a new normal.

    Skoal.


    UPDATE 9/8/20:

    Update to my 5/27/20 post above. Life got even better. I'm a happy camper! 9 year hiatus from riding just ended with a new to me 2017.5 GSA and some new Motoport Gear, boots, helmet, etc. My rides are short and easy, just working into knowing what my body can endure. I have good days and not so good ones just like normal.

    I know that my past days of big mileage and motobike camping are over, but god this feels so great and it I've already blown so many cobwebs out of my head on every ride. All I can say is if you are able to ride, even a little, try to keep riding after you heal. Just adjust things to where you are comfortable or get back into it thoughtfully if you are like me. Warning, if you are getting back into it and sold off all your gear like I did, it will hit the savings hard. For me it is already worth every penny.

    One last thing on the comfort side. I chose the GSA not because of using the bike for some "Epic" ride. I chose it because it is still just as comfortable, confidence inspiring and safe as my old GSA's. I just wish it didn't have so much electronic crap. Here are some pictures from yesterday:

    Third Ride 2.JPG

    Third Ride 3.JPG

    Third Ride 4.JPG
    #88
  9. johnwoodsrides

    johnwoodsrides Been here awhile

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    This past Monday I met with my neurosurgeon, as I have for the last 4-5 years, and we looked at my latest MRI and X-rays. The pain in my neck is at the point that it’s hard to work over head (I do kitchen/bath remodeling), and I left my riding buddies a day early to head home on our last trip because I was in pain and anxious about 10 hours of slab. The recommendation is to fuse C4/5, C5/6, C6/7 and C7/T1. I also have arthritis in the facet joints, which he will grind away ro allow more space, but requires the rear incision, which is more invasive. He highly recommends a job change (sure, 30 years in construction, no other experience). Coming to grips with (partial?) loss of income and wondering if I’ll be able to ride again. So far I have stayed away from opioids but have a prescription to fill....... not sure my need for bourbon to fall asleep is any better. I appreciate this bunch and your telling of your personal experience. Gives me a little hope.
    #89
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  10. badlandstom

    badlandstom Adventurer

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    madison mn
    I can relate. First, to how you've made your living and how that feels when that's taken away. After that many years doing bathroom and kitchen remodeling you have rare skills and knowledge that are in demand now more than ever. Not to sound all Pollyanna sunshine but one door might be closing but you'll be amazed at what other doors open up for you. I woke up in a hospital (work accident) and couldn't move or feel anything from the neck down. That part ended up being temporary. The rehab, opioids and re-learning basic life skills took awhile. (a few years). That was in '93. Six years ago, while Rockin' the Bakken shale oil boom I got a KLR. Life changing. Custom seat, adjusted handlebars and a little more self control than I was used to and I was a kid again! Adventure doesn't just pertain to the kind of riding I like but the life I've lived too. All that started catching up to me over the last four years. Old replacement knee and shoulder were replaced one more time with new ones. Its the old back and neck fractures that looked like the end of my riding. Instead I traded the KLR and set up a BMW GS including a custom seat. Right now Im setting up a little CRF250 for trail riding for in and around our winter home in Sky Valley, CA. My friends and family think Im crazy. Maybe so. I tried taking it easy and playing it safe for a year and a half. It was a slow rot. It took a real toll on my self esteem. I didn't much care for the guy I saw in the mirror every morning. Only you know what makes life "life" for you. Pain is a very real bitch to dance with every day and night. Doctors advise based on their past experience. You know yourself better than anybody else can, but you might just surprise yourself with what you can do. I'd encourage you not to surrender to the pain and the no risk, no reward life of constantly playing it safe. Try playing with the three axis points on your bike, seat-handlebars -foot pegs. If you need to tweek the suspension too, give it a try. Its weird, but long rides on the GS do more for me physically than the chiropractor seems to. An ice pack and Ibuprofen are always in my tank bag. The guys I do occasionally ride with know in advance I'm damaged goods and we plan accordingly. I wear "armored" gear I never dreamed of before but when I do occasionally dump, it minimizes those "what if's" the doctors and loved ones bring up. To quote the Toby Keith line, "I'm not as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was". Well, that lasted for awhile. I wont make that claim today. Listen to your doctors but listen to yourself too. Riding might look different than it did, but what matters is that you still ride if it means that much to you. At the suggestion of my doctor, I got my first and only tattoo when I turned sixty. "Endeavor to Persevere". Good Luck and all the best with everything you're dealing with.
    #90
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  11. bromax

    bromax Bromax Supporter

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    in 1978 at 25 yrs old I had L3,4 and 5 done. an experiment, no rotary or Striker bed. Walking 3 days after the operation.
    I was told no motorcycles or horses, so 3 years later bought both and haven't looked back.
    Can't touch my toes now because I'm a bit fat but couldn't when I was 20.
    Just don't get too fat it's hard on the back.
    Oh I should mention I have no pain because all the nerves were cut...:cool:
    enjoy the day
    #91
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  12. Lapchik

    Lapchik Tinkeritis posterboy

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    my dad and a good friend both have spinal issues and still continue to ride. My dad had two vertebrae in his neck fused, and he just rode without a helmet for a while until the doctor okayed him to ride with the weight of a helmet. In the event of an accident, car or motorcycle, there's a higher chance of injury. But he's not letting that stop him.

    A good friend has ankylosing spondylitis, which means his body is trying to make his entire skeleton into one piece, basically. He has most of his ribs and spine fused together because of this disease, but he also continues to ride. He has a gs, a Ducati "elephant", not sure what the actual model is, and an XSR700.

    For both of them, it's a risk versus reward type of thing, and they both chose to continue riding.
    #92
  13. configurationspace

    configurationspace delooper

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    By the look of that spinal fixation device, I think I know the team of team of engineers and orthopedic surgeons that designed the hardware embedded in your spine. It's medieval stuff. Amazes me how some aspects of modern medicine are so flash, but much of it is still brutal and primitive. When I was a kid I did lots of lab work for that team, cleaning up (mostly) cow and pig spines for experimentation.
    #93
  14. skidxr

    skidxr Excuses

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    FB_IMG_1504397466456.jpg I had a catastrophic accident in 2016, broken neck and quadriplegic. Fused C2 to C7. I learned to walk again and then ride again. Nothing is like what it was before but it can be done...
    #94
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  15. rob

    rob Been here awhile Supporter

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    I crashed in October 1976 and fractured a few vertabra. After being in traction for 6 weeks, I continued on as normal. In my late 40's I started to have problems and the first doc looked at the x-rays and saw old breaks and asked about them. Since then I've had six cervical surgeries and one lumbar that fused 4. I finally got pain relief with a nerve stimulator. I've lost strength in my left arm and I can't ride as long as I did. I got an AVG carbon helmet that helps but 5 hours a day is about my limit now.

    Attached Files:

    #95
  16. John Havilah

    John Havilah Been here awhile Supporter

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    Update in my 5/27/20 post. Riding again.
    #96
  17. badlandstom

    badlandstom Adventurer

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    Congrats John! You made it back to looking at the world through your handlebars again. The timing of your post couldn't be better. Last night I had "the talk" with my other half and a really good friend about "maybe its time to hang up the helmet". (Felt like an intervention) They pointed out this summers two back/spine episodes that meant periods of walker-crutches- cane mobility issues. They stopped there. I didnt. I pointed out the next stage. Within two or three weeks I was riding again. My buddy knows how much physical training I do everyday to retain mobility. After explaining to them what being able to still take off and go places on my bike means to me, he finally understood why I do what I do. If you're like me, or any of the other throttle twisters who, because of physical impairments, were told your riding days are over, Im guessing you'll never have a bad day on your bike! Again, Congratulations!
    #97
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  18. John Havilah

    John Havilah Been here awhile Supporter

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    A bad day, no! A trying day maybe. Here's yesterdays adventure: https://advrider.com/f/threads/bolt-vs-tire-bolt-vs-body-work-fender.1466634/

    Unfortunately I took the bike to the shop today (4 hour drive each way) for some repairs. Funny thing was I didn't worry I was going to go down, just basically rode it out.

    Even with little mishaps I think the best thing about riding again is that I just clears my head. I come back with a big smile and my wife and I talk about the ride. It's like a fun mission debrief. What went well, what didn't, what or who did I see, what do I want to change, etc. The coolest thing is that she is part of my rides now and for me that is really nice. Before each ride she asks about my goals for the ride, how I feel mentally and physically, etc. She only wants me happy, the safe thing isn't even mentioned since it is a given.

    The best part is everyday when I get home is, she's out on our ranch road taking pictures of me coming home. As she puts it "now you have closure". Basically ride for as long as you are happy doing it.

    First Ride 2a.jpg

    Unfortunately no ride reports for a week or two until I get the motorbike back from Ventura.

    I hope that your other half and buddy really got the message. I do think that the one thing that got through to mine was when I said I have to ride, it just means something to me that you don't understand. I also said that I'll stop when it is time and when I no longer feel safe on the motorbike. When I explained that being on a bike is the same feeling for me as being on a bicycle when I was a little kid. I meant freedom in terms of a clear mind just an activity where I'm don't to just a few basic instincts if that makes sense. For me that feeling is priceless.

    With all that said, after I ride I do hurt and I hurt more than normal. But I also hurt when I'm stringing a thousand feet of barbed wire too, so what's the difference with the exception of riding is a whole hell of a lot more fun! Have fun Badlands, I wish you well.

    P.S. Just had my 61st Birthday a month or so ago.
    #98
  19. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    Were the problems due to the riding or due to just plain being alive? Just curious.

    I am having problems with a knee after an operation, mainly going up and down steps. I need to get an exercise program going, because it seems to get worse if I sit around, but gets worse if I use it too much. Seems like tendons/ligaments, but the Dr. says arthritis. Problem is that was part of what he supposedly cleaned out a bit. The joint inside feels fine, it's around the knee cap and when the situation occurs, it is a point in movement where I'd collapse if I didn't have hold of a railing. My other knee, which highly likely also is arthritic does not have any problem and doesn't hurt beyond what might be expected for the far side of 60.

    Good part - riding doesn't aggravate the knee at all. I just want to make sure I have the stability with that leg, which I do. The spot isn't in the range where the knee is when I put a foot down on the bike.
    #99
  20. badlandstom

    badlandstom Adventurer

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