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Whiplash 1 Year after ACDF (C5-C6-C7)

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Old 07-07-2010, 12:35 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2010
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fixmeDr HB User
Whiplash 1 Year after ACDF (C5-C6-C7)

Anybody have this experience? Was rear ended at relatively low speed. Ironically the ACDF probably functioned like a brake w.r.t. my necks ROM with the energy being dissipated in the C4-C5 and C7-T1 IV disks. Symptoms had slow onset.

First stiffness for several days. Then hyperesthesia around the base of my neck. Then this feeling that my head was too heavy for my neck to support. Then a feeling of deep bone pain at the base of my neck. (vicinity of T1-T2) Then headache pain radiating up along two paths from the spot where the bone pain is perceived into the occipital region of my head and then into and across the parietal region to the forehead. When the headaches crank up the inside of my head feels like a pressure cooker and the feeling is my head is going to explode. When I feel the heaviness of my head on my neck I can lower the pain/discomfort by half by applying 3 to 5 lbs. of distraction to my head. On the other hand 5+ lbs of compression creates unbearable pain. Icing down the region between C2-T3 knocks the pain down by a factor of 3. Also the neck pain and headaches are strongly modulated by automobile suspension noise. So Much so that I can hardly stand to drive. On top of that the neck pain/ache and headache is variable over both long and short time intervals.

MRI shows moderate anterior thecal sack compression at C4-C5 (dural sack squeezed to a sheet but no serious chord impingement) and moderate left foraminial narrrowing from uncovertebral osteophytes.

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Old 07-07-2010, 02:38 PM   #2
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Re: Whiplash 1 Year after ACDF (C5-C6-C7)

When part of your neck is fused, the rest of the vertebrae take the brunt of the problems. The fusion can rock on the lower vertebrae and the uppers take more of the whiplash. So you probably have a lot of ligaments that are damaged as well as bone bruises on the lowers. All of it just takes forever to heal.

You might want to use a soft collar for a while just to give the muscles a rest. I remember when my very healthy and robust 19 year old son got into a car accident and had bad whiplash, he turned into a wimp with the muscle spasms and pain. Doc said it would take 8 months to heal completely. So you can imagine how long it will take you to heal.

But do watch for symptoms of cord compression in case it worsens(numbness in toes, legs, muscles that seem weak or stiff in your legs or a change in your gait....walking like a drunk but not intentionally). And your moderate nerve compression will produce problems in your left shoulder/upper arm area. I have compression at C4 and it keeps pulling my shoulder backwards when I try to reach forward.

Hopefully everything will remain stable and you'll just heal up nicely. If you have any other questions, come on over to the Spinal Cord Disorders board where all of us cervical folks hang out.


Jenny(fused C3 to T1)

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