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.