Has anyone had a fusion such as the C4-C7 and as a result have been afraid of certain movements because of adjacent disc disease? I apologize to people who are aware already of what I'm dealing with but I'm still so frustrated and in pain. I had a fusion C4-C7 (10 months ago) and prior to that had a small disc herniation at C3-C4 that my surgeon left alone. After surgery at 41, he told me I most likely will never need surgery again. Well, I have a new small disc herniation C7-T1 that happened in the last two months ago (the C3-C4 has pretty much not become worse for the last year) that I'm currently going to physical therapy for. It is still hurting and I'm confused why I hear other patients come in to PT and say the exercises are helping them but I'm not having that kind of relief. I'm concerned it maybe a movement that I'm unknowingly doing.
I may have an illogical fear, so I just wanted to put it out there and get different patients opinions that I hope could be comforting. Sometimes at home or pt, I will be lying on my back and will slightly lift my head up to move my shoulder length hair away from under my neck. For example, if I'm lying on my back (supine) and I lift my head up/forward, I'm moving exactly at the C7-T1. So my head and neck are coming up and forward at the C7 but at the T1 my torso/ribcage and shoulders are back lying down putting an opposite force. Wouldn't that be a harmful motion for a spine fused at C4-C7? I do this movement because I forget, I'm trying to be "normal" and then I'm angry at myself for moving like that and possibly hurting my spine. As I read these forums I see some fusion patients are athletes and nothing seems to stop them, so perhaps my cause isn't from how I move so much as it is my fitness level perhaps? I'm not obese, but I'm not an athlete either. I could stand to lose 40 pounds to get back to my weight at 18 years old when I was very thin. The worse thing that happened to me to cause this C7-T1 herniation was hitting a large pothole or severe coughing from pneumonia that hurt like nothing I've ever felt before. Otherwise I think it could be caused from poor body mechanics or a lot of little bad movements. My pt tells me all of our bodies wear out on us but that doesn't really answer this particular question.
My PT also tells me I shouldn't be afraid of any movement that doesn't cause pain, but I don't completely trust that. Should I not be concerned about a movement like the one I just mentioned putting undue pressure on the adjacent spinal discs? What has been your experience with this? Do I just need to become really strong and my neck will be protected?