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New cervical spine info- amazing

Cath111CCath111 Posts: 3,702
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi there.

As you can tell by my signature, I had a 3-lvl ACDF in Oct.08 and am currently just over three months out from a 1-lvl TLIF. I'm in PT for my lumbar, but because I wasn't able to get PT after my ACDF (due to unforeseen circumstances), they decided to evaluate my cervical spine today.

I should say that the PT I'm going to is in my spine center, so the PT person can go look at my x-rays and doc notes any time before, during or after my appointment.

So today, before my PT began my cervical evaluation, I pointed out a lump that I have underneath my right ear that's been there a long time, but wanted to know if she could tell me anything about it. After feeling around a bit, she said she wanted to go look at my latest x-rays. She came back and felt around some more, then she told me that the C-1, C-2 and C-3 vertabra are all rotated to the right, each incrementally about 1-2 cm. So, the knot that's under my ear is actually the right side bone of my C-1 vertabra. Obviously, it shouldn't be there, it should be forward and I shouln't be able to feel it.

She also said that because of this, my head is too far forward and that's why I'm having so many problems with my muscles in the front and back of my neck and why my head feels so heavy much of the time. She had me stand up and look at her and she moved my head the way it should be positioned if my cervical spine was the way it was supposed to be, and it felt very, very awkward. Isn't that weird?

I've only heard once on these forums about rotated vertabra and now that's what I've got. It had to have happened as a result of the horrific car accident I had 30 years ago that began my spine problems that began in 2008 and thus, has been this way for many years. It doesn't hurt, however, and she says she can rotate these vertabra back into position with PT. Can that possibly be true?

I just wanted to share this because I was so shocked at how bad my cervical spine really is. Man, the spine is such a strange thing and so much can happen we don't realize that it just amazes me.

Anyway, thanks for listening.


  • Out of curiosity, was this rotation noted on previous x-rays or MRIs? I hope all works out for you.

  • Howdy Cath!

    I'm actually NOT surprised at what she found. I had the same disks that are causing me problems now (L2/3/4) do that 6 months after I crashed a helicopter - though not *that* far twisted. I had a Neurologist who also practiced Chiropractor back in the bottom 80's. He discovered mine with x-rays, and told me he couldn't promise that he could straighten me out - he did! The neck seems more "adjustment" friendly than the back, so my guess, she can probably make major improvements if done right.

    Please let us know how it goes. If it is anything like my back was, it hurts like the dickens for the first few adjustments (muscles too get confused), and then you start feeling marked improvement. Mine never twisted again that I know of. Good luck with it!!

    I wonder Cath, is it possible your lowest fusion didn't take due to the abnormal loading C1/2/3 is doing? It is a hard level to fuse to begin with, so just wondering? Keep us posted please! *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • This is all news to me. Nobody has ever mentioned it before. The x-rays my PT looked at after feeling my neck are the same x-rays my surgeon looked at. I can't guess why my surgeon didn't see it or saw it and didn't care, or even if he thinks it's a nonissue or even nonexistent.

    I have wondered what this lump has been for as long as I can remember. It's been there a long time and I know it's not normal. Another PT in this same office, but a year ago, told me it was my C1, but we never had to the opportunity to explore further.

    The skeptical part comes from the fact that I've got no symptoms that I can contribute to this particular thing or area other than what I've mentioned (head heaviness, muscle spasms and tightness), and I'm not sold on misalignment anyway having read some new information I've been given.

    I need to research this and see what I can find. I won't be trying to find a diagnosis because I don't particularly care due to the nonissue, but am now curious about this finding.

    Thanks for the thoughts, Marianne. We'll see what happens.

  • Thanks Brenda.

    Maybe I should've been talking millileters, or some other measurement. I didn't pay too much attention to the exact measurements, so I could be totally off.

    What I find interesting is that even after today, with no pain, this lump is further forward than it was when I got to the clinic. I'm not talking a miracle here, just that I know this thing and it's moved.

    I don't know if the C1-3 are causing problems with my lower fusion, but doubt it as it's never been mentioned and it's notoriously the toughest to fuse. My MRI and report at those top C levels weren't bad in 2008, but who the heck knows.

    I trust my surgeon, PA and PT, i.e. the whole clinic, but they do tend to be conservative.

    It will be fine unless they do something to make me worse. LOL It's just an interesting development at this point.

  • Cath,

    A CM for one level is pretty big, I just assumed it was a total between the C1/2/3? Either way, they aren't were they are suppose to be! (G) It sounds like you are in really good hands! If she did some work towards aligning that area today, it is quite possible you "will" see and feel a difference! As I mentioned, with my twisty mess, I could feel the difference from the first treatment. Yeah, muscles hurt like you know... but by around the 4th I think most of the pain was gone, even the muscles settled down. I think too the first 3 treatments were within a week, and then twice a week after that.

    As for the loading change. Yes, from everything I have been able to read, and too what I see on here, C6/7 is the hardest level to fuse. From what I got, it has the most movement and too carries the majority of the weight before the thoracic comes into play. I guess it can all add into the equation right? What the hey right, ask next time if that is a possibility. Wouldn't it be a kick to find out that is what caused it, and now maybe fixable? Just thinking out of the box of course...that level bites as we both know! (G) Please keep us posted on the progress!! *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I was wondering has anyone else had cervical screws brake. I'm on a quest to find a surgeon who knows how to fix me.My next big question is what if I don't have it fixed will the screw fragments cause more damage than haveing surgry and it not fuse?
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