How do you all handle seeing people and them usually hugging your fused neck hard when you see them?

Faith981Faith981 Posts: 45
edited 10/08/2018 - 4:07 PM in Depression and Coping

I have a 3 level fusion from C4-C5, C5-C6, C6-C7. When I see people that know my neck is fused, (and these people are even nurses), they greet me with a hard painful hug around my fused neck. The most scary scenario for me is a funeral where people are sobbing, they tend to hug around your neck and squeeze the tightest. It not only hurts but I'm sure it increases wear and tear of the spine accelerating the time you need your next spinal fusion and lose even more mobility.

I just don't have it in me to for example, greet someone at their family members funeral and say, "I'm so sorry for your loss, don't hug me around my neck." It is very awkward and feels selfish. Or seeing a friend, and saying, "It's so good to see you, don't touch my neck." But I need to find a pleasant way to communicate this as they're coming at me. I even try to raise my arms high for the hug and people go over them, pull down my neck and squeeze my neck! At first I thought these people were unusual but it happens so frequently. And the people I tell forget, it's exhausting. I think only someone else in the same situation can really understand and give advice. Any advice on how to handle this? I would greatly appreciate it.



  • Thats a horror for me as people squeeze as they hug or pound my back.

    My buddy gave me a hearty hug and i about passed out from the pressure..i dont normally make sounds of pain but i scared him when i did..i had to frightened that he had killed

    I explained after a bit and now greets with soft hugs.

    My pastor who i had not seen in ages was a exeter Irish gentleman whome we loved dearly.

    He pulled me into a hug and pounded my back gently as he had since my teenage years..except now my T Spine was not as strong as before. Being the perceptive sort he patted my shoulder gently and asked what happened in between the years between our meetings. 

    I generally avoid hugs now..which is hard because i am a hugger of my close ones

    The pain and fear simply is not worth it

  • Faith981Faith981 Posts: 45
    edited 10/08/2018 - 9:52 PM

    Thank you to all your replies. I've been hurting worse since yesterday after a "hug" burning from my neck down my arm. While driving I hit a pothole several years ago, about a year after my fusion and developed a big herniation (C7-T1) right next to it on my spine that was perfect in the last MRI. I don't think it matters how long ago your surgery was, once the large fused segment is there and it pushes in an opposite direction it could cause permanent damage on the discs that were once designed to bend together. I'm considering sometimes just saying, "I'm sorry I can't hug you, my spine hurts too much today." Even someone at a funeral could hopefully understand. I'm reluctant to say it because I don't want any focus on me and my pain but I think it may be the smartest thing to protect myself.

    God bless you all and your health. It isn't easy but I'm grateful to have this forum.

  • advertisement
  • Faith981Faith981 Posts: 45
    edited 11/11/2018 - 11:55 PM

    @nutcase007- Thank you for your thoughtful response. I've thought about that too. I may be over thinking it but I may feel awkward suddenly showing up wearing my soft collar to a funeral like I was trying to get attention to myself. Usually when I do wear it I cover it with a softer fabric, in winter it looked like a turtleneck and people still touched me. My thoracic spine has hernaitions and they hurt. I'd have to make it obvious I'm wearing it or leave it uncovered. Am I weird for worrying about that I would look like an attention seeker? I guess after over 20 years of pain I've had my fair share of disbelievers, ever after my 3 level fusion, go figuire.

Sign In or Join Us to comment.