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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

Hi this is my first post, but i have been reading the spinal problems boards since my car accident at work on 8/24/04. I am an NYPD Lieutenant and was chasing a stolen motorcycle when he stopped suddenly and our anti-lock breaks failed and my police car skidded into the motorcycle. The mtorcycle operator and the 2 police officers who were in my vehicle are ok-- i was the only person who was injured. I suffered a herniated c5-C6 disc which compressed the nerve root at c6. I also suffered a herniated disc at L5-S1 whish is giving me agony as well. The cervical herniation was more of a concern for me since i had severe pain and numbness in my left arm into my hand. i still have the pain but it has only been 6 days since the surgery. i have discomfort in the back of my neck. Before the surgery i tried physical therapy and 2 epidural injections in my neck amd one in my lower back. All 3 had very little to no help. I now have a hard collar and am using a cane for balance because of my lower back pain into my left leg. My surgeon(orthopedic) actually asked when i would want to correct the lower back, i said ---- lets see how this works.
My question to anyone who might be able to help, is some of my friends and doctors believe that my police career is over. with a one level cervical fusion would that be the case?
I had a one level cervical fusion with plating back in January. I am currently going through physical therapy. I do not have an "active" job like yours, but I find it difficult to believe that your career would be over. My surgeon assured me that I 'would be good as new' once full healing took place. The only problem I would have would be a minimal loss of mobility in my neck. Everyone is different, but a one level fusion should not be that big a deal for a police officer. What are they basing their assumptions on? I would certainly talk to some other people to get their opinions. Good Luck!!
I, too, have a physical job (I'm a field engineer) and have worried about the long-term effect (I'm 46 years old and need to squeeze out another 13.5 years or so of work). Everything I've read looks fairly promising for a one-level fusion. Like you, I've also had a C5-C6 fusion with plating. I had the surgery a little over 5 weeks ago and will return to work in 3 more weeks, but on light duty.

I'm still getting some of the same pain I had before the surgery but understand it can take as long as three years for the nerves to heal, so I'm getting really friendly with my bottle of Tylenol... :)

My worry relates to lifting over my head but I think I'll probably be OK. The NS seems to think it will be ok, but will just take a while to recover.

Good luck!

Hi Mike,

Man, did you hit a nerve (no pun intended) with me. I had two levels in my neck messed up and L5-S1 at the same time. Mine was due to genetics and getting old, but the pain still was similar to yours. I had the arm, hand and chest pain on left side, and could barely walk due to the cramping and pain in my left leg. I looked like a little old man walking around :) I had some of the same treatment as you, including shots in the neck, chiro, PT and three shots in the lumbar.

I had ACDF with plate and donor bone on levels C5-6 and C6-7 on June 30th 2004. Today, I am continuing strenght training and can honestly say I feel 20 years younger. My L5-S1 has improved on it's own, although I can still feel it a little. I have been strenghtening my lower back , and this seems to help.

My docs said that I sould avoid things that might jar my neck like roller coasters, rodeo riding, etc., but they also said that life is a risk, you could get in a car accident or something, whether you had this surgery or not.

The only real problem I have is range of motion. I can't turn my head as far to see things...especially when driving. I've gotten used to turning my body rather than my neck, and added close-up mirrors. In your case, your range of motion should be 50% better than mine, which will probably be difficult to tell the difference.

Consider that Mike Allscot, the fullback for Tampa Bay Bucks, had this surgery and returned to playing pro football. I would bet you will be able to return to work without will need to deal with the lumbar...hoping yours goes away like mine did.

Lt. I might be able to help. I am retired (IOD) from MNPD and I just had a 3 level anterior cervical disectomy w/fusion(c3-c4/c4-c5/c5/c6) Dec 8th '04 and I have nerve damage to my left upper arm. The back of my neck still hurts and I have another appointment w/ neuro surgeon in June. My lower back will need surgery again (2 previous disectomies) but I am going to put that off as long as I can. The driving is the worst part of fusion, backing out of parking spaces and trying to pull out in heavy traffic and kinda looking over your shoulder. I can look left and right but not as good as before surgery. You learn to live with it. If I were in your shoes I'd look for a GOOD inside job or detective work. You can't beat the extradition section of C.I.D. or and I.O.D. pension would be nice, if you want to go that route. Be careful out there...
thanks to all ----- although i am a
LT, i still like to get into stuff. I like the action ----- now it has been almost 2 weeks since the surgery and still no relief to my left arm--- i saw the surgeon yesterday he said it may take longer because the nerves were severely compressed and he had to manipulate them alot. He said i had a lot of osteophytes that had to be removed
Hello there,
I had acdf of c5-c6 on jan 04. It was pretty successful in that the pain is down to about a 1.5 from a constant high of about 7 or 8, despite percocets and vicodin (12 a day). My hip still hurts from where the doc took the bone out to replace the disc. But oh well, it will pass sooner or later I'm told. I'm scheduled to go back to surgery in may 05 for shoulder impingment. Not looking forward to that, but I'm still taking pain meds and I'd like to get off.
My doc says I should be able to resume my regular life, and go on with high impact sports if I so choose. I'm not an extereme sports fan, believe me, but I taught and competed in karate for about 15 years. I miss it. But I am afraid to go back to that sport because the disc at c6-c7 is also slightly herniated.
So, I know exactly what you are going through. I used to be a network administrator and while carrying computers I injured my spine and shoulder. After the spine surgery, I got well enough to switch careers. Now I have a desk job that pays more money and uses other talents that I have.
So my advice to you is. If you have to do something else to support your family, start thinking about it now. I miss working on computers some, but I feel better knowing I'm not in a career where I could reinjure my self.
hey lt, ive heard of people returning to full duty, even at the patrol level. as an lt, you should be alright.
i'm somewhat in your position, except worse. not exactly sure how my c5/6/7 injury occurred. nor am i claiming it as a work related injury. im at the bottom of the totem pole, with only 5 years on. im trying to delay surgery as much as possible, and hoping for some miracle.
On the bright side Mike.....I had C5-C6 disc replaced with donor bone and a plate put in on Feb 10 at 2pm. At 7:30pm I walked out of the hospital with no neck, shoulder or arm pain for the first time in 3 years. My throat was the only pain I had, and it still feels like a lump in there, but not bad at all. I'm no spring chicken, I'm 64, but I've been doing things since 2 weeks after surgery that I haven't done in a long time. I also have a herniated disc at T8-T9 which hasn't been fixed yet, but even it doesn't give me as much trouble as before. Hopefully when you get the lower back fixed you'll be kicking up your heels again. It's amazing how things change once the pressure gets off the nerves around the spine.
thankyou--- for the inspiration--- it has now been 3 weeks post op, still have daily pain and numbness in my left shoulder and arm. I know it will take time --- but untill i feel better from the cervical fusion, i do not want to have surgery on my lumbar.

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