Submitted by Mr Wax on Thu, 01/15/2015 - 19:43
Has anybody who surfs had any of their spine fused ?
Had my c6 disk taken out and replaced with a new one as well as the fusion on the c5-c6 , the operation seems like it went ok but having trouble surfing as well as i used to.
The operation was last May and i was out of the water several months leading up the the operation whilst diagnosing was taking place so i had from August 2013 to December 2014 out of the water and my first surf was Ullu mid December 2014 .I used 3 weeks surfing every day in Bali as a training ground to get surf fit again . Getting surf fit again at age 44 has been tuff and much harder than when i had to have 2 years out of the water when i was in my late 30's.
Surfing most days at present and have seen light at the end of the tunnel and can paddle out and catch waves as good as i could of hoped for at my age and on a short board .
But the thing is and this is why im writing this is my surfing or my balance you could say is really not what it used to be and im surfing really bad , I might get a couple of waves where i can feel i am back to where i should be but most waves i will have my feet too close together or i will dig a rail or basically kook it .
One problem is im riding the wrong boards in hindsight i should've started on a big board and worked my way down but im paddling ok now just seems like my balance is off and i could get another 35 percent fitter . I will be riding as of tomorrow the last board i was surfing well on before the operation .
P.S i was fit as and surfing everyday 2 years ago and surfing well until my neck problem .
PPS my first sign f my neck injury was numb hands at night while sleeping then tingles through my right arm and then my arm would hurt with severe pain then finally my neck started to hurt and a MRI scan nailed the problem of disk degeneration disease .
Cheers swell net readers. Mr Wax
I would like to add that i have been through the hard times of having to get from unfit to surf fit twice now and that spending even a week out of the surf will put you behind but obviously the longer out of the surf the harder and harder it becomes but you can get to as fit as you want or need to be as long as you still have your health .
A mate of mine broke his back at North Narrabeen around 6-7 years ago. Misjudged a backside barrel, got pitched and caught in two minds between landing flat or ducking into a somersault. The result: landed on his head in shallow water. The damage: five broken vertabrae from his neck down to between his shoulder blades.
How he got in and went to hospital is a story in itself, but for brevity all you need to know is he had to have all five discs fused to the disc above the damage and below it. Seven of his discs were held rigid by titanium rods held either side. Heavy duty shit.
He had a lot of rehab, as you'd expect, and he lost his range of movement, again as you'd expect, yet it wasn't a serious hinderance to his surfing. Went to the Mentawais about two years after it happened and did a season in Hawaii - his first, at 40 years of age! - about two years back.
Age may have helped, he was about 8 years younger than you when it happened. Yet the way I've seen him bounce back shows that it is possible. Sure it's not just time out of the water that's got you off balance? At 44 years of age you're on the slow slide, so any break is gonna be hard to come back from.
Gee your mate had a lot of work done to repair his back and its incorrigible to hear he has got back into surfing and to go on a surf trip to Hawaii sounds like he was very fit ."Rehab " i think thats the word i will focus on . Thanks Stunet
I've had the same op Waxer c5-6. difference is I got back into surfing for the first time in 20 years after the op. I would suggest it may just be your core strength affecting your balance. my neck only affects my backhand surfing as I cant turn my head far enough.
@ 50young , "so yeah" you can only notice that on your back hand your head wont turn enough. "ok". I will give that some closer attention because I think I might have very similar complaint although only that you have now mentioned it that I have now thought about it because it does make sense what your saying . I was putting it down to a off balance type of feel but I know I have lost 10 percent of neck movement witch I was told to expect and for any more disc's in the future it would be another 10 percent per disc . So if I was to have all 3 neck vertebrae fused you loose 30 percent . I don't know about the percentage loss for back vertebrae but I would guess a further 10 percent each again . Good of you to comment 50young very interesting indeed .
Yeah Waxer, neck gets a little stiff after a surf, but the only real downfall has been on my backhand.
What about during a surf ? Do you notice your neck not twist as freely as it was pre op ? My neck will almost lock up for a 1/2 a second and then feel ok So I get this horrible sensation but only quickly .
Hi everyone, stoked to hear that it is possible to get back in the water and I hope that everybody that has commented here is still enjoying good health and surfing. I am an Irish surfer living in the North East of England- good waves, mega cold! I had a spinal discectomy and fusion c6-7 last October and am currently trying to get fit enough to go back in the water. Things are going ok, but slowly, I can swim, ride a bike and have been for a little push around on a skateboard, all good so I have lots to be thankful for. Still nervous I guess about going surfing again, my surgeon said to go for it which was a real boost, but I think I may wait a few months yet. Did anyone else manage to get back in after 5 months or am I just being wildly impatient? Anyway health and happiness to all, Si.
Hey Irish you should be fine, I was back full on weight training etc after 3 months
Hey all I had a L4/5 disc replacement and s1 L5 Fusion I had a full recovery and was surfing unrestricted at 15 weeks.
Wherever possible esp for the neck you should aim for disc replacement over fusion. L5 s1 is an area that doesn’t rotate anyway. In the cervical try putting some foam that is 2 to 3 cm thick water proof from clarke rubber and put it on your chest will raise you and take pressure off the neck while padding .
A fusion does put pressure on the next disc up and if your older you may find you are stiff at that level and degenerative. If that disc is degenerate I would highly recommend replacing with the replacement disc. It will take all the heat of paddling and rotation and will handle it. But if possible do double disc replacement, it is important to make sure the discs don’t become to degenerate if they do then the facet joints adjacent will take the weight and degenerate, at that point fusion is the only option. I am 48 now and just have had double disc replacement at c 6/7 and c5/6 . My lower back surgery was end of 2016 and has been fantastic to this day.
spookypt have a read of this topic.
Crew salute each one of you!
All here are supportive of injured & disabled surfers getting back in the briny.
Thought it OK to link in recent swellnet myelopathyhttps://www.swellnet.com/forums/wax/482006
This time last year...tbb could tie a knot in a wave, now hurts to even look at one.
Myositis is a pain...can get to the nearest beach but can't walk to the water's edge.
Couldn't clasp , carry, kneel or stand on a board but crew know tbb better.
Can't wade but could still catch & bodybash own wave, if I could just get to one!
tbb has come across way too many basherz that broke spines & collarbones.
Soon as! All were back bodybash'n...just mind blowing as here...(All Ocean Addicts)
Really is ...nothing better we all wanna do than surfjustsurf.
tbb is painfully losing strength...but whole crew & you guys here are inspirational.
Makes me wanna have crack, if only one wave in the shorie would be so sweet!
tbb made a promise for a summer splash...perhaps Autumn...still an outside chance!
Certainly thinking about disabled surfers criteria...lucky to have them.
Not the end... Straight jacket fit on a Toxic Coffin lid sure beats tbb's sarcophagus.
Set of the Day~~^~~~/(`..[ s 1 )~~~~/((`..[ L 4/5 ) ~~~~/(C..[c 5/6 )~~~~/(C`..[c 6/7 )
Major Back Surgery (Opinions Please)https://www.swellnet.com/forums/wax/485297#comment-650200
Nice to hear some others are able to keep their surfing post ACDF.. im a 41 yr old male, and really grateful to have spent 4 uk winters away, surfing Ulu's and tripping around indo.. i always had a strange nagging ache on the boarder of my left scapula and rhomboid muscle., never the right side, just the left. It would get real angry when i'd surf 5-6 hrs+ a day, but no amount of massage or physio-ball work would get rid of it. I have recently spent 2years back in the cold, crappy UK.. working as a grp repair/finisher on boats, block sanding and polishing, but have been suffering terribly with 'golfers elbow' and general pains through lower back and even calves. A recent MRI shows degeneration of multi-level cervical discs, and spondilosis. I am currently unable to work because of weakness, and constant headaches.plus constant tremors in my right arm/ tricep. I'm now waiting for a 2 level C-5/6 C-6/7 acdf. Also removing the osteophytes in hope that i can regain some of myself back. I'm pretty terrified., missing my surfing., and would be grateful if anyone had any helpful tips. Best of luck to all of you out there in pain, or facing surgery.