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Thread: C1/C2 injury--correct diagnosis?

  1. #1

    C1/C2 injury--correct diagnosis?

    My mom, who just turned 83, fell two years ago and according to my dad, fractured her C1 and C2 vertebrae.

    The main result is that she has very limited use of her hands and fingers. Her fingers are clenched and she is unable to unclench them. She can't hold a book or turn the pages. She is able to, on a very limited basis, hold a fork and use it to eat, and also pick up a glass and drink. She has been getting PT and massage therapy on her upper body, arms, and hands though we haven't seen any breakthroughs.

    I did some research, and it says that the C7 disc is what would cause these problems, not the C1/C2 as my dad said.

    Can anyone comment or offer some advice as to what to do next? Thanks.

    (This is my first post on the forum--I guessed as to where best to put this.)

  2. #2
    It does sound very odd. An injury that high would compromise her breathing as well as all arm function, depending on level of completeness.

  3. #3
    She doesn't have breathing problems per se; at the same of the fall, some congestive heart failure kicked in, so she does suffer from lack of energy as well. She needs to be on oxygen whenever it's convenient, but not always. As far as I can tell, her arm function is fine, though she doesn't have much strength (then again she never did).

    I'll have to ask my dad about this again. I am wondering if there is any other type of therapy that can be utilized to help her regain the use of her hands and fingers.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaysne View Post
    My mom, who just turned 83, fell two years ago and according to my dad, fractured her C1 and C2 vertebrae.

    The main result is that she has very limited use of her hands and fingers. Her fingers are clenched and she is unable to unclench them. She can't hold a book or turn the pages. She is able to, on a very limited basis, hold a fork and use it to eat, and also pick up a glass and drink. She has been getting PT and massage therapy on her upper body, arms, and hands though we haven't seen any breakthroughs.

    I did some research, and it says that the C7 disc is what would cause these problems, not the C1/C2 as my dad said.

    Can anyone comment or offer some advice as to what to do next? Thanks.

    (This is my first post on the forum--I guessed as to where best to put this.)
    It is possible that the fracture is at C1/2 and damage to the spinal cord is lower. Does she have use of her legs? What you describe sounds like Central Cord Syndrome.
    Every day I wake up is a good one

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by cheesecake View Post
    It is possible that the fracture is at C1/2 and damage to the spinal cord is lower. Does she have use of her legs? What you describe sounds like Central Cord Syndrome.
    She does have use of her legs--sort of. She can walk normally and support her weight, but she does need to be helped in keeping her balance, simply because in the past she loses her balance, falls, and breaks more bones. She also sometimes just collapses from lack of energy. So my dad, who is her FT caregiver, always supports her either from behind or at her side as she walks.

    For this reason she almost never uses her walker, because if she collapses, the walker is not going to help her.

  6. #6
    Check out these links:
    http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/c...ntral_cord.htm

    http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Inform...0Syndrome.aspx

    http://www.google.com/search?q=centr...w=1280&bih=650

    Many elderly are injured this way by hitting their chin and hyperextending their neck.
    Every day I wake up is a good one

  7. #7
    Thank you, cheesecake. I did speak with my dad today just to confirm it was C1/C2, and there seemed to be some confusion about that vs. T1/T2. Care to comment?

    The reason I'm here is because I would love to see my mom be able to use her hands and fingers again. She was an inveterate book reader all her life and now her books are just sitting there underneath her bedside table, gathering dust. Her neurosurgeon said after the accident that because of her age, surgery was not feasible. I know that the chances of her regaining meaningful use of her hands may be low, but I still want to see if anything's possible.

  8. #8
    I have a central cord injury that mainly affects my biceps and deltoids, but many other muscle groups are weaker than normal. When I first came home from the hospital, I could not hold a book or turn the pages. I soon learned that I could touch an ipad screen and turn the book pages with a light tap. I would upload books from itunes and then someone would put the ipad on the table for me. Making a slight tap to turn the pages meant I could read independently.

    This is probably true for kindles too, which are much cheaper. But even if your mother knows nothing about electronic readers, this is an easy fix.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kari in Pacific NW View Post
    I have a central cord injury that mainly affects my biceps and deltoids, but many other muscle groups are weaker than normal. When I first came home from the hospital, I could not hold a book or turn the pages. I soon learned that I could touch an ipad screen and turn the book pages with a light tap. I would upload books from itunes and then someone would put the ipad on the table for me. Making a slight tap to turn the pages meant I could read independently.

    This is probably true for kindles too, which are much cheaper. But even if your mother knows nothing about electronic readers, this is an easy fix.
    Thank you, Kari. I bought my mom an iPad last month, but for her even tapping the screen correctly is a chore. What I would love is for a company to come out with a voice-recognition system so you can just say "Turn" or "Turn Page" to make the page turn. I've scoured the web for this and haven't found anything; all I've found is handicapped people saying they wish such a thing existed.

    As far as I know, the technology exists for this to work.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaysne View Post
    Thank you, Kari. I bought my mom an iPad last month, but for her even tapping the screen correctly is a chore.
    Can she use a mouth stick?

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/64832134...thstick-stylus

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