Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Neck Injury, Chronic Pain, Strength Training Possible?

the.true.samiamtthe.true.samiam Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi, I'm a 29-year-old male from Ontario, Canada. I was rear-ended by a transport truck on July 24, 2008. I suffered a "comminuted fracture involving the body of the C5 with vertical fracture through the body of the vertebra and anterior displacement. There was also a posterior shift in the more posterior portion of the body."

On July 26 I underwent "an anterior cervical discectomy at C4-C5 and C5-C6, instrumented fusion, autologous bone graft, and insertion of a titanium (cool!) cage with anterior cervical plate." On July 28, a second surgery was performed, "this time posteriorly to the C3, C4, C5 and C6, of bilateral lateral mass screw placement."

Sorry about the mumbo, these quotes are copied directly from my medico-legal reports. Basically, I cracked my forehead off the steering wheel (no airbag deployment after hitting the ditch, as we hit at an angle) and broke my neck. Luckily (thank goodness) I had no cord damage at all, other than a brief episode of spinal shock.

When they did the screw placement, they cut through the muscle tissue in my upper back/neck, so I have ongoing shoulder pain, and the obvious neck pain. I also sometimes get a strange-feeling constriction in the back of my throat from all that hardware being right behind it. My pain fluctuates from a 2 to about a 6 on a really bad day. I find it helps to put those numbers on it, as I can understand numbers. I do not take any prescribed pain medications on principle, so it can get bad, but I find topical numbing creams like Voltaren help the shoulder pain if it's minor. Nothing I have ever taken has even touched the neck pain, except the hydromorphone they gave me in the hospital. Scary stuff, that.

I don't want to be that guy who gets depressed and angry at the world, and I guess nobody does. But I see it sometimes, so I want to start working out again. Obviously I'm going to talk to my GP first, but I want to get a feel for what others have gone through. I know this is a serious injury, but has anyone else had something similar? I am just so tired of being weak, I can't work anymore, so I raise my boy. I love that I get this chance to see my son so much more often than most fathers. It's just not as physical as my work was. As weak as I've become since the collision, I always feel vulnerable to the point of paranoia, and I'm tired of that feeling.


  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i am sorry i cannot help you with your questions but i did want to say hi and let you know that you are not alone!it must be very difficult to have such pain and not use any pain medication.. what "principle" are you not taking medication on? i use pain medication daily as do many spineys on this site and i live as fully a functioning lifestyle as possible considering my problems.. this would not be possible without medication... perhaps this is your problem.. if you saw the right doctor, a pain medication specialist, he could assist you in finding something to help you with your pain and to let you funtion... anyway,something to think about.. good luck to you..stop by the forum anytime.. you won't find a more caring group of people.. Jenny :)
  • Thanks for your response, lulu. Perhaps 'principle' is a misleading word, I'm not talking about some kind of religious prohibition or ethical objection. I don't think my pain is high enough to warrant a daily dose of anything really effective, and obviously anything non-effective is pointless. I have tried T3's, ES ibuprofen and tylenol, none of these work (they seem to have no effect, even negative side effects; it's like taking a sugar pill lol).

    I have been considering asking for something, not for regular, daily use, but only for my bad days. Most days my pain is just a constant 2-3, almost background noise in my daily activities, so despite the serious nature of my injuries, it's (so far) not as bad as it sounds. My bad days, however, are very bad. These are the days I tend to spend in the fetal position, lol. My wife gets very worried, but as much as it sucks, it IS just pain, not a new injury.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    ...the saying about.."only sick people take medication..so if I stop taking medication, I won't be sick." :)
    I do understand what you are saying though. If ineffective or side effects..it could make daily life worse.
    I do take something everyday in the hopes of staying out of the ER. I live at a 6..7..daily..with the meds. Nothing takes it away..but mostly ER visits cut down..Thank God!
    And I get that fetal position,too. Often times I need to lay on my back in fetal position and I call it "dead bug" position. We gotta do what we gotta do. :)
    It's a balancing act..for my life.. to prevent out of control pain and medicate to function..at least some days. My life is very limited. And also...the pain is a reminder of needing to take care of myself.. no bending..lifting..twisting..you know.
    I worry if pain completely gone..I may overdo.
    So on disability now...with a full time job of balancing and navigating through my issues.
    You take care!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    are very important as part of a total treatment/recovery from spinal surgery/injury/etc

    Post surgery most doctors prescribe a limited amount of pain medications to get you pass the hurdle. For many that is all that is required. For others, it might take staying on those pain medications longer.

    For many of us here that have been suffering from chronic pain for over 20+ years, pain medications almost become a daily routine.

    Its only when pain medications are abused does a potential problem come into play.

    When people say they do not want to take pain medications for whatever reason, my comeback has been Would you drive a car without a seatbelt?
    While the analogy is not completely accurate, it serves a purpose to illustrate that there are things that are necessary.
    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
  • Hi

    Welcome to Spine Health. I totally understand what you are saying. Years ago I had a motorcycle accident and I t-boned a car doing about 40 mph. As a result I wound up eventually having 2 posterior cervical surgeries at C1 and C2. I had two muscles atrophy to nothing on the left side of my neck and multiple muscles in my shoulders. So I am very asymmetrical from my chest up. I detoxed off of all opioid pain medications and now fight my daily pain with a spinal cord stimulator and an anti-seizure medication. I have constant daily pain with flares brought on by different activities. I could give in and just medicate and "exist" in this world but instead I choose to get on with life. By doing so I have naturally increased my upper body strength and gotten into a daily pattern that makes life manageable.

    My neurosurgeon told me that if I were to do a specific PT, it could create further imbalance and the best thing to do would be to "live life". So I do. I now have two jobs that require a lot of lifting and stacking and janitorial work. Plus I also train and ride my horse. With this I have done what no PT program could do. I have strengthened my arms, shoulders, neck and core muscles. Unconventional for a 49 YO woman, but very effective. It has helped me better manage my daily pain levels. I also believe it will aid me in fighting further deterioration by slowing it down.

    Living life is a great pain management tool. I hope you are able to figure something out that works for you. I totally believe that I don't have to subscribe to the common playbook of chronic pain.

    I think what you are doing is admirable and hope it continues to work for you. Stay in touch with your doc and don't be afraid to let him know that some days it just isn't tolerable. Find what works for you and press forward.

    Kindest regards,

  • I have several fractures around the T1 area from my surgery. Because of the ongoing pain I stopped using my right arm as much which has brought on weakness and increases the pain...kinda a vicious circle. For the last 4 weeks I've been doing PT to strengthen my right arm and shoulder. And it's working.

    Of course its something you have to continue but it definately helps. I'm with you on the pain meds but there are some things that are non-narcotic that might help. Anti-depressant and anti-seizure meds can help fool the body. Ice, heat and massage are also good tools.

    Check out Ron's "tool box" post. We don't and shouldn't rely on just one thing to bring pain relief. Instead we need a tool box full of options.
  • for all the responses, I haven't checked this post for a week lol, just been lurking.

    I should clarify that I'm not against pain medication. But from my (limited and mostly experimental) experience, the minor stuff doesn't do anything, and I'm not ready for the major stuff. Maybe I will be one day, but the hydromorphone experience from my hospital stay post-op is still pretty fresh in my mind. Very easy, I think, for me to get snared by a dependency.

    My constant pain level is pretty low, and the flare-ups, while stupidly intense, are manageable if only because of the "light at the end of the tunnel" mentality I tend to adopt. My wife is very supportive during these trying periods, and I get through.

    My biggest worry now, and the reason I plan to start working out again, is my physical weakness. I'm tired of not being able to do certain tasks, not because it's a bad pain day (although that happens as well), but because my physical condition has deterioted due to a lack of physical exertion. I was forced to leave work by the pain and risk of further injury, so I have no strength anymore. I will be seeing my (new) GP today in a few hours, and will discuss these thoughts with him.

    In response to Dilauro: no offense, but I think your seatbelt analogy is flawed in several respects (as you acknowledge to some extent). It isn't against any law to forgo pain medication. There are also no risks attributed (realistically) to wearing a seatbelt, and the side effects of doing so are very minor; such is hardly the case for pain medication. And stating that a problem only exists if abuse occurs is short-sighted, since it is often impossible to see this problem before it is upon you. The risk is always there, and is a problem by itself, even if it doesn't materialise.

    The decision to use or not use pain medication is a risk-reward calculation. The risks are pretty much invariable, so if the pain (and therefore the relief to be gained) is minimal, then it can't outweigh the risks. As my pain gets worse over time (I am assured by all the specialists that this is inevitable), and the risks stay the same, eventually there should come a time when the reward outweighs the risk. While I will constantly revisit the question, the answer probably won't change until that day arrives.
  • Pandora Charms, I don't know what your post was about, but I can guess from your user ID. I'm sure you must get SOME sales using this method, or you wouldn't still be doing it, but no matter how much pain I'm ever experiencing, it will never be close to enough for me to consider any pseudoscientific 'cures', so don't waste your time on me buddy.
Sign In or Register to comment.