Post neck surgery - how'd you handle getting back into shooting your bow?

Thread starter #1

Bubba_1122

Senior Member
Injured my neck helping neighbors clean up after Irma this time last year. Had 3 vertebrae in my neck fused around Thanksgiving (C5-C6 and C7). Had a whole lot of rules as to what I could and couldn't do post surgery, but was released in May (per doctor - "you're doing fantastic - go live your life but don't do anything stupid"). Actually kilt a really nice turkey with a 410 on a Bog Pod with a Limbsaver pad shooting TSS #9's in early May. Was one of the highlights of my 48 year hunting career - mainly because I didn't think I was gonna get to hunt at all last spring.

One huge challenge is that had significant nerve issues down into my left arm - was some concern that I might permanently lose use of left arm pre-surgery. Thankfully didn't and am able to use it though not really built back the muscles. Have tried shooting bow. Draw weight at ~60 lbs. Can shoot it a few times but I hurt in right side of neck the next day. Little concerned about the torque the draw puts on my neck. Obviously don't want to mess something up. Have been talking to local bow pro about a Mathews Triax with 60 pound limbs. I think his plan would be to start draw weight low and if can build strength work back up a little ways to mid 50's.

Missed deer season last year and was hoping to get in the stand this fall. BTW, I hate a crossbow (have had a pile of people tell me to just go get a crossbow - but it ain't the same).

Anyone been through this same or similar thing and how'd it all work out?
 
Just go for it. It’s only your neck and arm at stake.
No seriously wait till next year. If your neck isn’t ready neither are you.
Ask your neck doctor not us or especially not the pro shop salesman selling the triax.
Maybe you can hunt turkeys but don’t be one.
Can you shoot a low recoil rifle without pain? Ask your doctor.
Skip another year with a crossbow then sell it? Ask your doctor.
Buy a 40lb recurve. Ask your 👨‍⚕️
Go with his advice.
 

Milkman

Retired Moderator
You say crossbow just ain’t the same, true. But then neither are you per your post.
Compromise to a crossbow sure beats giving up. Good luck with your recovery!!
 
I don't have a neck problem and u should discuss whatever therapy u thinking about with ur doctors ... I had messed up my shoulder and some rotocuff issues and putting off the doctor so I was struggling to shoot my bow ... my son saw this accubow device and bought for me ... I was skeptical but started really light and gradually increased the band tightness to where I'm now pulling my bow easier then before ... now if I can just get rid of the slight starburst on pins I'd be set ... I also wasn't crazy about a xbow bc there so good now it was like shooting a gun to me but if u want to be out there for as long as u can u need to be smart and try and save what u got ... good luck
 

Ihunt

Senior Member
Imo forget about a 50-60lb bow. Get a 40-50lb bow. Stay away from mechanical heads and light arrows and you’ll be fine.

My suggestion would be a 400-425 grain arrow with a QAD Exodus or a Magnus Stinger.
 

Deerhead

Senior Member
Bubba,

I had a herniated disc in C6 in 2000. The doctor wanted to do surgery but I refused. I ended up going with injections. They helped but it was a “very long” healing process. I had no strength in my left arm for a while. Therefore I had to lock my left elbow to hold the bow at full draw. One time my left elbow unlocked at full draw the bow slapped me in the face.

My recommendation for you is exactly what’s already been recommended. Start at a low pound draw weight and work your way up. Build your strength slowly over time you will feel much better. Shooting a bow keeps your back mussels strong and will make your neck feel better. Shoot all year long. You do not have to shoot 100’s of arrows a week. Just a few will keep your muscles in form.

Good luck!
 

catch22

Senior Member
You say crossbow just ain’t the same, true. But then neither are you per your post.
Compromise to a crossbow sure beats giving up. Good luck with your recovery!!
what he said
 

Hooty Hoot

Senior Member
Wow! I could have made the same post. Like you, I injured my neck and all kinds of aches and pains came after. I didn't have mine fused and suffered some level of pain 24 hours a day for two years. About six months ago, my neck just popped and I experienced instant relief. I still have a shoulder problem but it is a separate issue.

I put my bow away several years ago. Like you, I had to. I purchased a cross bow but my feelings are similar to yours. It is not the same for me. In no way am I knocking crossbow hunters, I just don't get the same enjoyment that bow hunting brought me.
 
Thread starter #10

Bubba_1122

Senior Member
Hooty Hoot, that's awesome about the pop and relief. Unfortunately, mine wasn't quite that simple (but I am thankful that I'm pretty much pain free these days, cause I've never been through anything like I was going through this time last year (and don't want to again)). I ordered the Triax. According to my bow pro he can safely set the weight at around 46 DW or so with 60 lb limbs and then I can work up to low/mid 50's if possible. Bow guys very sensitive to the neck/surgery issue. Wants to work with me on how I shoot to minimize stress. This guys very good. I don't believe he'd lead me astray to sell me a bow. Shot one bow at 47 that he had in the shop and was very gentle and I believe more than manageable. Gonna try that and see if can work the draw weight up some over time (maybe to mid-50's - I'm not one that thinks have to shoot it at 70 lbs to be a real hunter). If any discomfort I'll just set it aside and continue to work with strengthning bands and stretching exercises and work towards the bow next year. IF that doesn't work out I'll sell the bow and know I did my best to get there. Did sight in my 7mm-08 deer rifle yesterday with the same limbsaver on it. Piece of cake. Physical therapist said the areas of neck that were repaired are the strongest part of my spine because of the plates and bone grafts that were put in there. Interestingly the weakest parts are immediately above and below the repairs. Truly don't want to mess those up, so I'm gonna be conservative in my approach. Have a consult with neck surgeon for mid-October and we'll discuss the whole issue. On the crossbow - I just can't stand the feel of them. Just very awkward and clunky to me. That said, if I ultimately end up not able to shoot a bow I'll reconsider, but to go crossbow at this point seems like I'm giving up on the regular bow and I'm not quite ready to do that yet. I do appreciate all y'alls thoughts and ideas. Have helped me think through the issue. Bubba
 
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I had shoulder surgery a year ago. It is was my right shoulder. I was hoping to be able to shoot my bow comfortably by now, however, it started to bother me after shooting 6 to 9 arrows. I have the bow set at about 43 pounds now. I drew a tag for Kansas and still don't feel confident enough to hunt with my bow. My Dr. told me my tear was a one time repair if i messed it up again I would have to live with the pain. So instead of pushing it, I purchased a crossbow just so I can hunt. I still shoot my bow and hope to have everything good to go by next fall. It is not like shooting my compound bow but I actually have fun shooting it. I like to hunt and it is a legal tool that i can use to hunt without the risk of messing up my shoulder again at this time. If you like to hunt why not get a crossbow until you can safely hunt with the regular bow again?
 
Thread starter #12

Bubba_1122

Senior Member
Thanks, SwampMoss: I understand on the one time repair. I'm gonna walk out the possibility of bowhunting and if don't feel that's comfortable or safe, or if my doctor says it ain't safe then I'll just break out the 7mm-08 and gun hunt, or else go to the coast and fish until I'm able to use the bow. Missed deer hunting last year, so those that I had on target list from the year prior should be pretty nice now (if they're still around). Interesting thing is that I'm equally as concerned about getting a deer out of the woods as I am with getting it down on the ground. Think I have enough folks that'd help with get one out, so probably ok there.
 

Mark K

Senior Member
If your Doc and therapist cleared you then keep shooting until it doesn’t hurt anymore. You will not go back to “like you were before” overnight or with just a few arrows. I’ve never had neck surgery, but I did have shoulder and bicep surgery and even after therapy it took a WHILE before I got back to normal with my weight lifting. But, I never quit lifting. I’d bind my arm to my side and keep lifting like before. It took almost a year to get back to the weights I was doing before surgery. Yes there was some discomfort and maybe a tad bit of pain, but nothing I couldn’t work through.
 
Thread starter #14

Bubba_1122

Senior Member
Thanks, Mark. Just waiting on the new Triax to get here.

Meanwhile keep working on the exercise bands to help gain strength.

Gonna be cautious, conservative and persistent.
 
Hooty Hoot, that's awesome about the pop and relief. Unfortunately, mine wasn't quite that simple (but I am thankful that I'm pretty much pain free these days, cause I've never been through anything like I was going through this time last year (and don't want to again)). I ordered the Triax. According to my bow pro he can safely set the weight at around 46 DW or so with 60 lb limbs and then I can work up to low/mid 50's if possible. Bow guys very sensitive to the neck/surgery issue. Wants to work with me on how I shoot to minimize stress. This guys very good. I don't believe he'd lead me astray to sell me a bow. Shot one bow at 47 that he had in the shop and was very gentle and I believe more than manageable. Gonna try that and see if can work the draw weight up some over time (maybe to mid-50's - I'm not one that thinks have to shoot it at 70 lbs to be a real hunter). If any discomfort I'll just set it aside and continue to work with strengthning bands and stretching exercises and work towards the bow next year. IF that doesn't work out I'll sell the bow and know I did my best to get there. Did sight in my 7mm-08 deer rifle yesterday with the same limbsaver on it. Piece of cake. Physical therapist said the areas of neck that were repaired are the strongest part of my spine because of the plates and bone grafts that were put in there. Interestingly the weakest parts are immediately above and below the repairs. Truly don't want to mess those up, so I'm gonna be conservative in my approach. Have a consult with neck surgeon for mid-October and we'll discuss the whole issue. On the crossbow - I just can't stand the feel of them. Just very awkward and clunky to me. That said, if I ultimately end up not able to shoot a bow I'll reconsider, but to go crossbow at this point seems like I'm giving up on the regular bow and I'm not quite ready to do that yet. I do appreciate all y'alls thoughts and ideas. Have helped me think through the issue. Bubba
bubba you are on the right track,it just aint the same,have your bow pro sight the bow in start at 45lbjust shoot enough to kill at 20 and 30 yds the last 3 years I bowhunted I only shot up to 30 yds only practiced I time all year but I limited my shots,only took high % shots killed two deer the last years I bow hunted but this way is better than no way!you don't have to shoot hundreds of shots to be successful!
 
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