Shooting with a fused neck

BoatTail

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Dec 12, 2013
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I recently found out that I'm going to need neck surgery. After X-rays and MRIs, they found two discs fused and determined the majority of the other vertebrae and my neck will have to be fused to resolve some major issues.

My question is, is it possible just still shoot long range or even shoot at all with a fused neck?

I did some personal testing I don't think I can unless I make major changes to the height of the scope ring and possibly changes to the stocks of my rifles. I'm worried that my lifestyle and my love for shooting will have to be discontinued.

Does anyone have any experience with neck issues and still been able to continue shooting?
 

Bravo 4

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I had a pretty severe injury to my neck (and head) many years back. Lucky to be alive and luckier to not be paralyzed. They took a plug out of my hip bone and stuck it and a plate in my neck to fuse a few vertebrates together. A couple surgeries and over a year to recover. This left me with some reoccurring pain on occasion (really just irritates enough to make you uncomfortable and mad) and some limited range of motion.
I mostly shoot prone, preferring maybe a little higher than most. Up til about last October I still worked out like a mad man. At 5’7” and right at 220 lbs, I could bench 350 for several reps, 225 for over 25 reps, and military press my own weight 5 times. Now I have a big issue with my elbow (looking at a possible surgery soon) and have dropped almost 20 pounds and working more on cardio and not near as much weight training. I have been a sniper in the military for many years, most while having the plate in my neck, and now run a sniper school.
I don’t say any of this to boast, there is nothing special about me. I say this to let you know that you can still have a life after your surgery. The best advice I can give you is listen to the doctor and therapists, and don’t push it!
 

Quintus

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I had a pretty severe injury to my neck (and head) many years back. Lucky to be alive and luckier to not be paralyzed. They took a plug out of my hip bone and stuck it and a plate in my neck to fuse a few vertebrates together. A couple surgeries and over a year to recover. This left me with some reoccurring pain on occasion (really just irritates enough to make you uncomfortable and mad) and some limited range of motion.
I mostly shoot prone, preferring maybe a little higher than most. Up til about last October I still worked out like a mad man. At 5’7” and right at 220 lbs, I could bench 350 for several reps, 225 for over 25 reps, and military press my own weight 5 times. Now I have a big issue with my elbow (looking at a possible surgery soon) and have dropped almost 20 pounds and working more on cardio and not near as much weight training. I have been a sniper in the military for many years, most while having the plate in my neck, and now run a sniper school.
I don’t say any of this to boast, there is nothing special about me. I say this to let you know that you can still have a life after your surgery. The best advice I can give you is listen to the doctor and therapists, and don’t push it!
Bravo 4 you should have listened to your mother, you are something special and thanks for your service. Having shattered vertebrae in my lower back It took some time to get comfortable shooting some positions particularly prone. With time and following your doctors orders and putting the work into your PT you will be shooting again.
 

david g ranes

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Sep 9, 2009
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310
The lower in your neck your problem is the better off you are I had my neck broke in 2004 it was broke at c2 which 90 percent of the time kills you so I am very lucky c1 and c2 is the most flexible joints in your body and I lost 40 percent of that movement side to side some up and down movement I still shoot a lot it isn’t as easy as it once was first thing I’ve had to move my scopes back as far as i can with regular rings then I went to rails now I’m replacing stocks for ones that adjust I can’t shoot prone at all but bench or over a pickup hood I get by fine it can be done you just have to figure out what your work around is shooting doesn’t hurt my neck but it hurts all the time any way so that’s not a biggie just start out shooting a 17 or something light to prove to your self what you can do after being in a halo 93 days most things don’t feel so bad after that but I do feel for you because I’m living it but don’t let it stop you the biggest sadness to me is after 40 years shooting a recurve I had to give it up just start out slow and light and take care. David
 

Buck Fever

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I'm not in any type of shape like Bravo 4 but I have noticed over the last decade or so that as I get older, I am getting weird injuries. My back has been giving me trouble since about 2014. I finally got a few chiropractic adjustments and began stretching more and that seems mostly resolved. Lately my middle finger and wrist on my left arm have been giving me pain and stiffness. Stretching seems to help a lot, my middle finger is fixed, the wrist is about 75% back.

So stretching and Yoga are my advice if your mobility is poor. With a fusion, discuss it with your doctor to make sure you don't do something you shouldn't.

I was lucky, my chiropractor said my back didn't feel like it had any issues beside being stiff and locked up in places. I'm going to try and keep it that way. The theory of Yoga is to heal and strengthen by promoting blood flow in every part of the body by moving everything. I'm more targeted but the theory seems to work.
 

BoatTail

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Thank you for the information you all have given. I'm encouraged some what I have heard. My fuse will include c3 through 6 maybe 7, I don't remember. I've learned that (correct me if wrong) above c3 is 40% of the necks movement. One solution is to be higher in the prone position or find a position that does not cause pain. The other is to get into benchrest or rail shooting which I think I could enjoy as it lets me continue to do reloading and load development for accuracy. Did I get this right or other things that I might be able to do?
 

Ranger Rick

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Sep 6, 2019
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Everyone is unique. I will have my 3rd spinal fusion later this year. For me both my neck and lumbar fusions had amazing results. Titanium + bone fusion. Six months after the surgery I was shooting with a higher cheek weld and higher rings.
The neurosurgeon is MVP! It took 18 months and four neurosurgeons before #4 got the spot on diagnosis and treatment. A navy flight surgeon with a lot of spinal trauma surgeries was the man. Second opinions are important. It is a major operation.
 
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J E Custom

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Texas
Everyone reacts differently to spinal surgery, so I would recommend starting very slowly with small calibers/cartridges with little recoil. I would also recommend a muzzle brake for all of your rifles to reduce recoil and minimize the chance of Re-injury.

A good brake will/should allow you to shoot larger cartridges and I would consider even placing one on the 223 size cartridges to start with. Most good brakes will reduce recoil over 50 %. this would allow you to work up to the point you feel comfortable shooting.

Don't rush it and start low and move up as you feel like it is not harming you.

Good luck with your surgery and don't give up.

J E CUSTOM
 

aushunter1

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Nov 16, 2012
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Australia
Cant say I have any experience with the injury but all I can say is if you want to hunt still choose a round with minimum recoil(like 260REM or dare I say it 6.5CM) & fit a muzzle break, plus some shooting stix could help where you can sit.

If anything shooting off the bench you feel even more recoil, unless you get a sled?

Good luck with it.
 

BoatTail

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Dec 12, 2013
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Thanks for all of your encouragement and good advice. This is what I was looking for.
 

manitou1

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Mar 27, 2012
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Missouri
I had to quit shooting magnums and now shoot 7mm-08 and .280s. I get headaches when shooting. C4-C5 fusion 15 years ago. Mine was not without problems. I know several that have done very well. I suffered with headaches, spasms and stiff neck for 14 years post surgery, with multiple procedures after to help. For some reason, it just got better this past year. Go figure.
 

Dbgiayb

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Dec 25, 2015
Messages
5
I recently found out that I'm going to need neck surgery. After X-rays and MRIs, they found two discs fused and determined the majority of the other vertebrae and my neck will have to be fused to resolve some major issues.

My question is, is it possible just still shoot long range or even shoot at all with a fused neck?

I did some personal testing I don't think I can unless I make major changes to the height of the scope ring and possibly changes to the stocks of my rifles. I'm worried that my lifestyle and my love for shooting will have to be discontinued.

Does anyone have any experience with neck issues and still been able to continue shooting?
I won’t burden y’all with all the history of my head trauma, but I had an extensive fusion from C4 all the way to T1 about 5 years ago. I shoot everything up to my 338 LM, and haven’t had any problem. Mostly Benchrest now, since I did have trouble getting prone like before. I would suggest an adjustment period of a few months of taking it easy, but my surgeon wasn’t worried about it when I asked specifically about shooting recoil. He said the titanium and screws weren’t going anywhere while the fusion solidified.
 

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