Shooting with a fused neck

BoatTail

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Dec 12, 2013
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191
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.
Dbgiayb,
Thanks for your story in the the information, that helps me. Can you tell me, are you still able to shoot shotguns? Along with my long range shooting I have bird dogs and enjoy pheasant hunting. Are you able to get down on a shotgun stock? How much movement do you have side to side?
 

John Klingenberg

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Nov 13, 2018
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Michigan
I had c4,5,6 fused. I got rid of my 7wsm, my 30-338 and 7 mag. I could shoot them but my hands would go numb for a few days afterward. I shoot a high speed 224 Valkyrie, a 6br and a 260. They will reach out and can be challenging. I think it makes me a better shooter. I shoot a 308 and 30-06 fine but that's about the limit. I can say that a good suppressor will make a heck of difference in recoil control!
 

Dbgiayb

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Dec 25, 2015
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5
Dbgiayb,
Thanks for your story in the the information, that helps me. Can you tell me, are you still able to shoot shotguns? Along with my long range shooting I have bird dogs and enjoy pheasant hunting. Are you able to get down on a shotgun stock? How much movement do you have side to side?
Not the exact same thing, BoatTail, but I do shoulder-fire my KSG quite a bit. As I’m checking now, I get about pretty close to 90-degree swing with no discomfort. After that your waist will want to pitch in.
Again not quite the same, but I use flip-up sights and think I could line up with regular shotgun sight/bead.
I think it’ll quickly come as second nature as your body will naturally adapt.
About the only thing that gets to me is when driving by something, someone says “did you see that?” and I can’t jerk my head around and look. Not really painful, just irritating...
 

Buck Fever

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Mar 10, 2020
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The bad bush
Your wrist & finger stiffness is likely due to inflammation, and there are ways to deal with that which you may not have considered. I have been dealing with this inflammation issue for almost a year, and mine is because of lyme disease. I have had a slow, steady recovery, and I'm in much better shape in the last couple of months. One thing that made a huge difference is acupuncture. I went once a week for several months, then had about a six-week hiatus in my treatments due to the shutdown. I resumed the treatments several weeks ago, and that was then things really started to come together. My hands, which had formerly looked like two purple balloons, now look pretty normal. More importantly, the pain is greatly reduced, and they are fully functional.

I have been doing other things for this issue - like treating the underlying condition - but I think that the acupuncture treatments have had the most noticeable effect on the inflammation & pain. I also have been getting osteopathic manipulation to enhance lymphatic system function, which I think has helped as well. All the doctors involved in the process encouraged me to get back into my weight training program as soon as my hands could function well enough, which I did. This was when I really turned the corner in my recovery.

I think that your yoga is probably doing the same thing for you, and I wish that I had thought of that a long time ago. ( I probably could have done yoga even when my hands were a total mess, and this probably would have given me relief with the pain & inflammation in other parts of my body.) The big trick is to keep the body fluids moving, and not pooling in the tissue. Congrats on sticking with the yoga, and if you do decide to try the acupuncture and/or OM, let us all know how that works for you. I would extend this same recommendation to the OP for the neck problem. Sometimes these alternative treatments can get you over the hump while you're dealing with the nuts & bolts of the underlying problem. Best of luck to both of you guys with your recovery.
I'm sure they became inflamed but I'm pretty sure my finger issue was from some sort of hyper extension and I feel like I may have folded, pinched or tore the cartilage in my knuckle.

I crack my knuckles all the time because they get stiff and hurt. Leading up to the injury my middle finger was stiff and wouldn't crack for a few days so I forced it and boy did it crack. The pain from the stiff joint went away for a while but I got pain if I pressed something hard with that finger or tried to go in to the range of motion that cracks my knuckles.

I left it alone for a few weeks and the condition stayed the same.

When I began stretching the finger and mobilizing the joint (because I couldn't stand nothing anymore), my range of motion improved rapidly, I got to the point where I could crack the knuckle again and in about 3-4 days the pain was much less, after 2-3 weeks it was pretty normal (for me).

My wrist was pretty similar, it cracks all the time but there are lots of bones in there and several that are pretty easy to break. My wrist always bugs me, I forget what I was doing but I was repeatedly lifting my body weight with my left hand bent back at an odd angle putting pressure on my wrist. This made my wrist stiff and sore. I had some difficulty cracking it, then a very loud crack. There was pain but it went away if my wrist was in a neutral position but suddenly holding a rifle in a standing position, my wrist didn't want to bend enough to grasp the forend. The stiffness, weakness and pain continued until I started stretching and mobilizing my wrist. It's getting better, maybe 75% now but it was 5% and not improving a while ago. I was thinking I might have broken something but rest should have fixed that more than moving everything.

Blood flow, lymphatic system, or letting a bit of mangled cartilage go back to it's intended position, I'm not sure which one did it but it was moving and stretching that allowed healing to happen.

I did some yoga years ago and it did help improve my flexibility and reduced some of my aches and pains. I didn't stick with it but once my back issues started, I used some simple and easy yoga poses to mobilize and stretch my back after my chiropractor freed it up.

Doing a full yoga routine is probably better but I just do the bit that works on what is ailing me and only when my back is feeling stiff.

The one thing I can recommend 100% is if you have back or neck stiffness or pain, get it checked out by a good chiropractor sooner than later. Finding a good chiropractor is not always easy. I was referred by a friend whose father was a chiropractor for an NHL hockey team. Her father has passed away but he was one of the best so she knows a good chiropractor. Without her, who knows what I would have got? By my second visit my back was about 90% freed up and by my third it was moving like it hasn't since high school. I should have started probably 4-5 years earlier. I was stupid but luckily that doesn't seem to have left me with permanent damage.

If you don't think you are at chiropractor stage yet, try some yoga, it might help and it's near zero risk.

Most of the time when I hear about back surgeries, the story includes years and decades of dealing with pain and stiffness with poor or nonexistent chiropractic care. If a little yoga and some chiropractic care might prevent that, that's about the cheapest medicine ever.

Even if you get to the point of surgery, trying some of these techniques to see if they can help your healing is still probably a good idea.
 

Spd522

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Oct 11, 2018
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I had C4-5 fused in 1998. I found it difficult to shoot low prone because I was straining to bend my neck . I ended up using a taller bag or taller bipod if I had to go prone so I could get my upper torso higher. It has worked pretty well although this past winter I had a fusion at L4. What prone shooting I have done so far wasn't too bad but I can tell limited lower back flex has added a new challenge to it.
 

kiwi49

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Jul 31, 2014
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Carterton, New Zealand
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?
Mate, I crashed a dirt bike a couple of times.
#1 - L2, L3, L5 crushed veterbrae.
#2 - T3, T4 crushed.

I can shoot prone, but have recently started on a bench. Works much better.
Had a reverse shoulder replacement last week, so both my major hobbies are on hold ATM - motorcycle riding and shooting.
My gear is 'ancient' but works if I do my bit. 308W which I reload for.
If the scores counted towards range time, I'd be locked out 😁.
As mentioned in previous posts, if you want it bad enough, you'll find a way to enjoy your hobbies.
Kia Kaha ehoa (be strong friend).
 

djfergus

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Dec 25, 2015
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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?
Get yourself a braked 22 creedmoor & shoot , 90 bergers, 88 elds or 95 SMK's. 7 twist 5r or six groove barrel. You will have enough to take deer & under sized animals. Pure pleasure to shoot. They're the funnest shooting I've done. Mines not braked and its still a pleasure to shoot.
 

Tulsa Reiner

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Tulsa, OK
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?
Following up on what Bravo 4 said, I can definitely say you will be able to shoot, and long range. Shooting prone will be the most difficult because of the amount of neck extension required. For hunting you should plan on using a bipod or tripod, so you can be in a more upright posture (sitting, kneeling, standing). Also, you might need a new stock with an adjustable cheek rest.
Finally, get a couple of opinions (from neurosurgeons, who don't believe that fusing from the front is the only way to treat a neck problem) before you agree to a multilevel fusion. Some spine surgeons are just too eager to recommend multilevel fusion when the same success can be had from a posterior (approach from the back) operation that requires no fusion.
 

BigSky112

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Nov 20, 2012
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Shell, Wyoming
I have 2 levels fused, the only position that can be tuff is prone, prone uphill tougher than down hill, but still can be done, you just can lay there for long periods of time
 

clemens

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Jul 31, 2010
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Rathdrum Idaho
Is it possible if the position of prone is to harsh for the neck. What about tri-pod from sitting. I imagine recoil will be harsh no matter what. Good luck sir.
 

BoatTail

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Dec 12, 2013
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191
Any Doc bring up artificial discs?
My friend suggested them and I was hopeful. His wife had them put in and it solve the issue and recovery was quick. I sent a note to my doctor asking and if artificial discs were an option and they said it depended on how much arthritis I had in the neck but would review and discuss at the Surgery Scheduling meeting. However what Tulsa Reiner said sounds probably right. I was very hopeful for artificial discs so I could have the same motion but now thinking they will fuse it. I'll just have to deal with it. Thanks everyone and for the information on how to continue shooting with this type of repair. It has been very helpful.
 

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