How long does it take to heal whiplash and cervical fusion surgery?
by Lori Alexander
I had surgery on my neck last April...C3-C4 fusion.
I have been in pain on and off since then but it got very severe at the beginning of Dec.
I started icing and wiggling a week ago and it feels a lot better but I was just wondering, in your experience, how long it takes to get completely well?
I was in a bad car crash 20 years ago and have suffered with neck pain all these years.
I'm very faithful with the icing and wiggling and am just wondering if it could take weeks or even month of doing this to get well.
Thank you so much, Lori
I really wish I could have worked on you a few times before your surgery appointment....
But on to your questions.
How long does it take to heal from cervical fusion surgery?
Well, that just all depends. The problem really isn't the fusion healing, it's the muscles that were already TOO TIGHT, the shrunk wrapped connective tissue, the Process of Inflammation that's been around the last 20 years and is still in place.
Let's just assume the surgery was sucessful and did what it was supposed to do. I'm not sure what it was supposed to do, what did they tell you?
And let's assume that the fused cervical vertebrae aren't going to irritate anything or cause any problems.
It's a great sign that the icing and wiggling has been helping. I would continue that, with modification.
1. Start ice massaging with a small water bottle. Start digging into the muscle, gently at first don't hurt yourself.
You can massage with your fingers too, but ice will give you all the benefits of icing.
Gently dig in and start exploring, flipping around and into bands of muscle. You'll find some interesting/tender/painful/dense geography in there.
2. Keep wiggling. Maybe go a little slower and a little farther. Start exploring your range in ever direction and every possible pivot point.
Start slow, pay attention. Wiggle bigger when it's appropriate after you explore your range and make sure your body will let you go there.
I don't really have an answer to your how long question. Three are MANY variables/factors.
It could be never. It could be 'never unless you keep working on it'. Perhaps the doctors advertised the surgery as a 'fix', but from where I sit, it's unlikely that you'll get to a pain free, happy neck state without doing some work on it to reverse the past 20 years of progressive tightness/shortness.
I do know that if you keep working on it, especially if you start doing the (ice) massage to help the dry crunchy half squeezed sponge turn into soft squishy relaxed sponge, it -will- get better.
As a general rule, the more you do, the better it will get.
If you do that diligently for a month, I expect your results will continue to progress, and accelerate as you go along.
If you don't do the work....remember what the past 20 years were and what it led up to? That's predictably how things go if you just let the neck do it's thing.
More questions, more answers. Keep me updated.
Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert