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Traction Nightmare!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,623
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:31 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical

A few months ago I woke up with a severe stiffness in my neck. It did not go away and on the 10th day I decided to see a Physiotherapist. He said that I may have a problem with my disc and decided to put me into traction. However after 2 or 3 minutes into traction I started to feel nauseous and light headed. I called out for the physio to let him know but no one came. I called out several times and even shouted but still no one came. I then passed out and woke up with the physio standing in front of me calling my name. I was in a cold sweat, very weak and had to be helped to an adjacent bed where I lay for 30 minutes until I felt a little better. The therapist told me to drive to my GP who advised an MRI scan. Reflecting back on this I should not have driven as I was so shaken up I dropped my keys a few times on my way to my car. After my consultation with my doctor I went for an MRI. It turned out I had quite a large herniated disc in the c5/c6 region which he said was very unusuall for a 27 year old.
I went for a consultation with a neurosurgeon who said that the most likely reason I passed out whilst in traction was because of the disc interaction with my spine. I am now told I need to get c5/c6 fused as my neck is unstable and am at risk of damage to my spinal cord. My question is, should I take a case against the physiotherapist for leaving me in the traction unattended? What should I do?
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Comments

  • You would have no case against the pt......
  • Hi,
    A pt must have a doctor's order before providing pt- so if he did not, then he is in big trouble!!

    If the doctor sent you to a pt without doing xrays, mri etc..
    then he/she should not have ordered pt without knowing what was going on in your cervical spine.

    Of course, you could have had the condition before pt and the traction aggravated it. There is no way to know without having tests before and after.

    Feel better!

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,045
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    I agree with the others here. You really dont have much of a case in terms of any law suit. However, I would want to understand more about the traction they put you in. Traction is fine for lumbar patients, more pounds can be put into it without causing additional problems even when the disc is herniated. In fact, many times, it can do exactly what traction is suppose to do. I have yet to find any type of traction that can help with the Thoracic discs. But when it comes to cervical discs, anyone doing this must use caution. There are several home traction units for cervical patients. I used one for about 5 years while I had C5/C6 and C6/C7 herniated but it was attempts to avoid surgery. Once you do get fused, you should never use cervical traction... Ok, off the track for a second.. But when cervical traction is being used, attentive therapist will watch you for the first few minutes and will make sure you lie still when the traction is over for at least 10 minutes. Getting up too soon will almost always result in dizziness and light head feelings.
    Also, please do not take this the wrong way, but there is no such thing as being too young to have any size of herniation. That can come to a teenager as well as a person in their 90's.
    One thing I would also consider is getting additional opinions. Without knowing the doctor's reading of your MRI Images we cant say one way or the other. But if your doctor is saying surgery, then that is something you should consider. However before you even go that route, make sure that your doctor has identified all the conservative treatments you can have. These can help delay or even prevent surgery
    The more you know about your medical situation and the various actions the better off you will be
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hey guys, thanks for your comments. I think I may have been misunderstood. I'm not out to cause the ruin of a PT and could never really prove that what he did caused any further damage to my spine but the main problem I have is with him leaving me unattended, no call button, supervisor...nothing! It was honestly the scariest moment of my life as I could feel myself slowly loosing conciosness and could not get out of the traction. I have spoken to a number of PT's since who have all said that it was malpractice and was extremely dangerous what he did. Whether is was the blood to my brain being cut off or something happening to my spine I think the fact that either of these were allowed to happen was appalling. Am I wrong??
  • razor,

    my PT always left me with a "bell", no matter what treatment she left me with, because as mentioned above, they do have to usually treat several patients at once. If I was in any pain or distress, I rang the bell and she would drop what she was doing.
    I had an "unpleasant" experience with her once when she was giving me accupuncture. She treated my thoracic spine and I had no pain afterwards for more than a week, the next time I went, she treated my thoracic AND cervical where my c5/c6 damage was. I had the #$%# scared out of me when she hit the actual nerve that was damaged and I blacked out in vision for a few seconds. She said it was normal to have some "weird" side effects sometimes, AFTER the treatment. As soon as she removed the needle it came back. Initially I "blamed" her for causing me more trouble, but as I thought about it, it's just like anything, if you get the appropriate information before a treatment of what "could" happen or how you "might" feel, was all I was looking for as some re-assurance.
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