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.