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Old 02-28-2003, 09:47 AM   #1
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Location: Indiana
Posts: 710
franjo HB User
Question Can coughing=cord damage?

Hi everyone!

I had mentioned this on another thread, but still want to pick your brains....I have a tethered cord, and last year had a bout with bronchitis with severe, body-wracking coughs. It felt as if my cord would rip out of my body, with electrical shots of white-hot pain zipping through the core of my body, throughout my hips and down my leg. My EX-neuro said that it was probably muscle pain, but by now, I think I know the difference between muscle and nerve pain. I really think I did some damage to my cord during this time. I know that spinal fluid pressure increases normally during coughing/sneezing. Does anyone here think that coughing can cause nerve damage, especially since my cord was vulnerable anyway? Thanks for loaning me your brains for a moment! I promise to return them.....franjo
__________________
Spina-bifida occulta; Congenital Scoliosis (dextrorotatory and 'S' curve, 42 thorasic and 57 degrees lumbar); Meningomyelocele (split cord @ L1); Diastematomyelia (re-sectioned at L2-3); tethered cord @ S-3; cysts on cord; various developmental abnormalities of the spine: narrowing of all disk spaces, defects in posterior arches, ectasia of the spinal canal and dura, segmental disease, sclerosis in L. iliac bone and adjacent sacroiliac joint, unilateral osteitis condensans ilium, hypertrophic facet disease L4-5 and L5-S1.

Surgeries include, but not limited to:
Lumbar fusion-1968
Fusion with Herrington Rod instrumentation-1970
Femoral osteotomy-1971
Tethered cord release-1987
Rod removal-1987
Chiari-type pelvic osteotomy-1988
Trochanteric osteotomy-1989
Tethered cord release-2003
Fusion with instrumentation with lots and lots of screws-2003

 
Old 02-28-2003, 10:40 AM   #2
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Location: welland, canada
Posts: 447
melanie dawn HB User
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Hi Franjo,
In my opinion yes. For the info is there that coughing , sneezing,straining can put increased pressure not just in the thoracic area, but also onto any damaged discs, and if they are central they would therefor put more pressure on the cord. The other factor there is that hyperextension and flexion alter the dimensions of the spinal canal, again increasing pressure on the cord.With your cord being tethered it doesnt have the ability to move and adjust with you. The pain that shot thru you, was it like an electric shock? I get that if i turn my head sharply to the right with flexion at the same time. Makes me feel like i stuck my finger in a light socket while standing in a pool of water, massive electrical shock, and you probably know that that is called Lhermettes sign(sp).This occurs in spinal cord compression ,MS because of the lesions which probably cause some tethering etc. So I do not think you are off track here. YOu know your body very well, you have lived in it your whole life. You have enough experience to know the difference between muscle pain and other sensations.
It is like me thinking about all of the weird things happening to my body and some quack telling me that it is not related to my cord compression. I was told in Chicago that all of these wild and wonderful things were from the neck injury, that the compression,spasms effect not only the levels below, but can interfere with the 9-12th cranial nerves , lots of parasympathetic control from there. Also suboccipital spasms affects blood vessels serving the upper cord,parts of the brain etc. Lack of spinal fluid flow also messes with you , and can lead to increased ICP, with all of the things that go with that.
Everything from my persistent feeling of having a stuffy head, nose ,ears, hiccups,tachycardia, swallowing difficulties, visual disturbances etc. are all related to this involvement.(mustn't forget my busy bladder
Well i just really rambled here, but my point was that you know your body, and when you get a really knowledgeable doc. I dont think they discredit any of your symptoms, because they know their neuroanatomy/functon and pathology and the complicated interconnectons involved.
Thanks so much for your earlier post, I dont know how to express what your posts mean to me. You have a couragous , giving and beautiful soul, with a healthy dose of humour thrown in for good measure. I only wish that we could meet face to face, so you can see the smile that you bring to me. Apparently I'm a little
sentimental today. But boy what a great day, you,me Charlotte, sharing a day in the sun, with all of this behind us.With perhaps some fancy tall cool cocktails,never really been a drinker but would sure like to cut loose right now!
As always , Love Mel
__________________
Congenital Cervical Stenosis,complicated by:
Paracentral Disc herniations ,bone spurs C4/5,C5/6,C6/7
loss of lordotic curve
Advanced myelopathy inc. walking difficulty, loss of gag reflex with swallowing problems, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia, spacticity

 
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Old 02-28-2003, 12:58 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Indiana
Posts: 710
franjo HB User
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Mel,

Thanks for all that good info. And, yes, it's like a shot of electricity, sometimes it makes me feel nauseous afterwards. I've also experienced it while stretching for something. You'd think that a neuro would've known that. It doesn't surprise me though, this is the same neuro who told me that tethered cords rarely re-tether. As it turns out, if you have a tethered cord release done, it's practically a given that they will re-tether, in 15-20 year cycles. The neuro in Chicago said that any neuro who doesn't know that is someone I should run, not walk, away from. Watch me run! What's scary is that the same neuro who told me they don't re-tether, was only too willing to cut on me himself.

One question, What is ICP?

Thank you for your kind words, Mel. I often think of you when using my arms to shower, fold clothes, or whatever. That's the one part left of my body that is still strong with no problems. Talking with you makes me remember how blessed I am. My heart goes out to you. I hope these problems will be a dim memory soon.

Maybe we will meet someday. Do you think it would be possible? I think that would be fantastic. I don't generally drink either (one beer a year), but I'd slam 'em down for a good reason such as that. We find ourselves in Canada occasionally when in PA. My husband is a fanatic Zippo collector, and we go to Bradford, PA every other year for their international swap meet. These people are nuts. At one auction, one lighter, I repeat, ONE lighter went for $9,000. Hubby has about 500 right now. It's funny because sometimes neither one of us can find a light!

Hope you're having a good day. Has the gorilla left the building yet?.....Love, Teri
__________________
Spina-bifida occulta; Congenital Scoliosis (dextrorotatory and 'S' curve, 42 thorasic and 57 degrees lumbar); Meningomyelocele (split cord @ L1); Diastematomyelia (re-sectioned at L2-3); tethered cord @ S-3; cysts on cord; various developmental abnormalities of the spine: narrowing of all disk spaces, defects in posterior arches, ectasia of the spinal canal and dura, segmental disease, sclerosis in L. iliac bone and adjacent sacroiliac joint, unilateral osteitis condensans ilium, hypertrophic facet disease L4-5 and L5-S1.

Surgeries include, but not limited to:
Lumbar fusion-1968
Fusion with Herrington Rod instrumentation-1970
Femoral osteotomy-1971
Tethered cord release-1987
Rod removal-1987
Chiari-type pelvic osteotomy-1988
Trochanteric osteotomy-1989
Tethered cord release-2003
Fusion with instrumentation with lots and lots of screws-2003

 
Old 02-28-2003, 05:10 PM   #4
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Location: welland, canada
Posts: 447
melanie dawn HB User
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Hi Teri,
how are you? Okay the answer to your question, ICP is intercranial pressure. When there is brain swelling or as in my case, obstruction to spinal fluid drainage, the pressure goes up. When it is increased it can cause multiple symptoms, most common of which are pressure(brutal)headache,nausea,projecti le vomiting,visual disturbances,a full feeling in the ears with possible hearing changes.
Next, your right about the neuro, he should know this , just like the one I saw should have recognized my symptoms and known they were possible at the level of my injury.
It just goes to remind us that they are human, some care more than others, and some have much more knowledge than others, some are better listeners etc.
And of course the cord has a high chance of retethering, any surgical/repair site has the potential for scar tissue. There is always some scar tissue, but how much is individual. Some of these guys just p!$$ me off. How can anyone so easily write off or ignore a human being, especially when holding such a position of trust. The old saying still rings true, you are your own best health care provider, and it is up to us the patients to protect our health in every way, including knowledge.
I wonder how Charlotte made out, and if she has had her call returned? Please take care of yourself, I'll be thinking of you Mel http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/heart.gif
__________________
Congenital Cervical Stenosis,complicated by:
Paracentral Disc herniations ,bone spurs C4/5,C5/6,C6/7
loss of lordotic curve
Advanced myelopathy inc. walking difficulty, loss of gag reflex with swallowing problems, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia, spacticity

 
Old 03-01-2003, 05:23 PM   #5
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Location: Carthage, NY, US
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KeithEugeneW HB User
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Mel,

I'm glad I read your last post, I had never heard of ICP before, and from what you describe it to be, that explains a lot for me. Before I was put on Neurontin, I would get incredible migraine headaches sometimes 2-3 times or more per week, so bad that I would have to leave work when I felt them coming on. I could tell I was going to get one because my neck would get very warm and stiff a few hours before. I get strange sensations, even now while on the pills, several times per week where my ears begin to ring loudly and then shortly after that I get a sensation suddenly as if I stuck my head underwater, because I can barely hear. It usually goes away in a matter of hours or overnight. It always seems to accompany times when my neck and shoulder are at their worst as far as stiffness and pain go. Since my C5-6 and C6-7 disks (what's left of them) are compressing my spinal cord, I suspect that must cause pressure in the spinal fluid, perhaps like a dam in a slow moving river, and reading what you wrote just helped me understand a lot about what is happening inside me. Thank you for making that connection for me.

 
Old 03-01-2003, 07:50 PM   #6
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melanie dawn HB User
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Hi Kieth,
You also need to understand that there are other causes for these headaches other than ICP increases. One of the other factors is that when there is severe spasming at the base of the skull(occipital area) and upper neck, you can also have compression of the occiptal nerve. Often the headaches are not true migraines, but occipital neuralgia, there is a complex of nerves that can be compressed and irritated. Any of which may cause varying neuralgias,with the symptoms of persistent feeling of stuffy,congested head,ears.
I know that they used to feel that these phenomena ocurred only with the upper area,C2-3. But this has been found to not be solely true. Lower injury can affect these areas in part because of the severity of
spasms and the snowball effect of them. For instance, I have herniations at C4-5,5-6,6-7 with pronounced cord compression. But i am showing higher level deficits. Things like laryngeal paresthesia,no gag reflex, heart arrythmias etc. These are considerd higher level deficits,but lower injury can effect the cranial nerves also , in certain cases. I guess my point is the whole thing is so complicated, there are no easy answers, and we are all wired a little differently, and therfor react a little differently.
Good luck and take care Mel
__________________
Congenital Cervical Stenosis,complicated by:
Paracentral Disc herniations ,bone spurs C4/5,C5/6,C6/7
loss of lordotic curve
Advanced myelopathy inc. walking difficulty, loss of gag reflex with swallowing problems, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia, spacticity

 
Old 03-01-2003, 09:21 PM   #7
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: St Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 581
joprud HB User
Post

Hi Mel,

We are so fortunate to have you here, you are so knowledgeable. Thanks so much for your help and for your patience with our questions, especially when you are suffering so much yourself. You truly are an angel.

You mentioned no gag reflex, I'm just wondering, can a person also have the reverse affect... a very sensitive gag reflex? (especially brushing teeth) I've had this off and on,more on than off for yrs now. Or is this maybe a symptom that actually is "all in my head" tee hee
Also you mentioned persistent feeling of stuffy,congested head,ears. Do you literally mean just a "feeling of" or that they actually are? I've been stuffed up for yrs now too. When the neuro sent me for an MRI of my head they thought it showed chronic sinusitis and sent me to an ortolarentologist(spelling?) basically a glorified ENT I believe. tee hee Anyhoo, she said I didn't and sent me on my way, so I still don't know why I'm stuffed. I hope my questions don't sound crazy, but it would be nice to know if that's what it's been all this time.

Thanks again.

Take Care,
Joanne


------------------
  • At the age of 8, Sept ‘63, bad fall on back on stairs compression fractures of D6 and D8
  • Diagnosed DDD 1993
  • C4-C5 posterior osteophytic bar effacing ventral thecal sac Mild stenosis of neural foramina
  • C5-C6 posterior disc protrusion effacing v t s .Mild stenosis of neural foramina
  • C6-C7 posterior disc herniation effacing v t s . Mild stenosis of neural foramina
  • C7-T1 Small perineural cysts present in both neural foramina.
  • left convex scoliosis of mid thoracic spine. wedging of T7. wedging of T5 .degenerative end plate changes at T8-T9
  • L4-L5 diffuse disc bulge effacing v t s. hypertrophy of facet joints, minimal central spinal stenosis.
  • L5-S1 posterior disc protrusion with associated tear of annulus fibrosis. hypertrophy of facet joints.
  • S1-S2 Perineural cysts involving S1-S2 nerve roots.

[This message has been edited by joprud (edited 03-02-2003).]

 
Old 03-02-2003, 09:01 AM   #8
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melanie dawn HB User
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Hey Joanne,
No the congestion is real, it is to do with a whole host of factors, from altered venous drainage, to altered csf flow,to a change in nervous tissue and function.
For me I have the permanent stuffed up nose, congested head and full feeling ears, as if i had i wicked head cold. Which of course I dont. I haven't had a cold in over two years( I like to save my sickness's for major things hee-hee-hee)
This congestion for me has no associated increase of mucous secretion with it.
As for the no gag reflex, I gotta say that totally freaks me out!Never mind the fact that the NS said that progresses to delay of, or loss of swallowing ability, problems with voice etc. I love to eat, and would be totally p!$$@d, if i couldnt swallow! I dont know about having a hyper gag reflex. I have never read anything on that. But everywhere else the nerve damage can cause loss of sensation or hyper sensation, so who knows, ask you Dr that one.
This stenosis , spinal stuff is so complicated and does such wild, weird stuff to us. For me everything from irregular heart rythms, to bizzare bouts of hiccups(which I found out are related to phrenic nerve irritation) that is another scary one, because the phrenic nerve is responsible for control of breathing.
Okay, once again in my long winded way, what I'm telling you, is tell your Dr everything, no matter how embarrasing or seemingly trivial, because every little thing can be relevant to your condition and diagnosis.
Take care of yourself, Hope to hear from you soon
Mel
__________________
Congenital Cervical Stenosis,complicated by:
Paracentral Disc herniations ,bone spurs C4/5,C5/6,C6/7
loss of lordotic curve
Advanced myelopathy inc. walking difficulty, loss of gag reflex with swallowing problems, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia, spacticity

 
Old 03-02-2003, 10:01 AM   #9
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Indiana
Posts: 710
franjo HB User
Post

Yes, we are all blessed to have such knowledgeable people on these boards like Mel and the others. I guess they know that after they are back on their feet again, they can never leave here! We need them too badly! Thanks to all those brains out there who work on our behalf in spite of their own mountains to climb. What a display of courage!....Teri
__________________
Spina-bifida occulta; Congenital Scoliosis (dextrorotatory and 'S' curve, 42 thorasic and 57 degrees lumbar); Meningomyelocele (split cord @ L1); Diastematomyelia (re-sectioned at L2-3); tethered cord @ S-3; cysts on cord; various developmental abnormalities of the spine: narrowing of all disk spaces, defects in posterior arches, ectasia of the spinal canal and dura, segmental disease, sclerosis in L. iliac bone and adjacent sacroiliac joint, unilateral osteitis condensans ilium, hypertrophic facet disease L4-5 and L5-S1.

Surgeries include, but not limited to:
Lumbar fusion-1968
Fusion with Herrington Rod instrumentation-1970
Femoral osteotomy-1971
Tethered cord release-1987
Rod removal-1987
Chiari-type pelvic osteotomy-1988
Trochanteric osteotomy-1989
Tethered cord release-2003
Fusion with instrumentation with lots and lots of screws-2003

 
Old 03-02-2003, 05:01 PM   #10
Inactive
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: St Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 581
joprud HB User
Post

Hi franjo,

Quote:
Originally posted by franjo:
Yes, we are all blessed to have such knowledgeable people on these boards like Mel and the others. I guess they know that after they are back on their feet again, they can never leave here! We need them too badly! Thanks to all those brains out there who work on our behalf in spite of their own mountains to climb. What a display of courage!....Teri
I couldn't have said it better myself!!!

Hi Mel,

Thanks for the reply.

I too have the permanent stuffed up nose, congested head and full feeling ears. I also rarely get sick.

As for the hyper gag reflex, I couldn't find anything on it either.

I will take your advice and let the docs know about everything (no matter how embarrasing or seemingly trivial). I just feel better going in when I've check with you guys first (I have a little more confidence when I feel I know somewhat what I'm talking about)
As others have said "Knowledge is Power"

You're A Sweety!!

Take Care,
Joanne

------------------
  • At the age of 8, Sept ‘63, bad fall on back on stairs compression fractures of D6 and D8
  • Diagnosed DDD 1993
  • C4-C5 posterior osteophytic bar effacing ventral thecal sac Mild stenosis of neural foramina
  • C5-C6 posterior disc protrusion effacing v t s .Mild stenosis of neural foramina
  • C6-C7 posterior disc herniation effacing v t s . Mild stenosis of neural foramina
  • C7-T1 Small perineural cysts present in both neural foramina.
  • left convex scoliosis of mid thoracic spine. wedging of T7. wedging of T5 .degenerative end plate changes at T8-T9
  • L4-L5 diffuse disc bulge effacing v t s. hypertrophy of facet joints, minimal central spinal stenosis.
  • L5-S1 posterior disc protrusion with associated tear of annulus fibrosis. hypertrophy of facet joints.
  • S1-S2 Perineural cysts involving S1-S2 nerve roots.

 
Old 03-03-2003, 07:42 AM   #11
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: welland, canada
Posts: 447
melanie dawn HB User
Post

Hi joanne,
its funny about the stuffy head. After my accident and even up til a few weeks ago , Dr's kept asking me if i had any unusual symptoms in my head. I kept saying no. Because I thought it was congestion from my sinus's. Some days it was what we used to call the wooden head, you know that funky feeling head you get before a cold or flu hits full force. Except I've had that more days than not since my MVA two years ago.
If only I would have done the homework earlier on !
Then I could have said yes, I do have that!
Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.
Have a good day, talk to you soon, Mel
__________________
Congenital Cervical Stenosis,complicated by:
Paracentral Disc herniations ,bone spurs C4/5,C5/6,C6/7
loss of lordotic curve
Advanced myelopathy inc. walking difficulty, loss of gag reflex with swallowing problems, neurogenic bladder, occipital neuralgia, spacticity

 
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