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Thread: c5-c6 info...please

  1. #1

    c5-c6 info...please

    Hi everyone! I am new to this site. I am a caregiver to my mother who fell december 17, 2004. she broke c5 and c6 and pinched her spinal cord. in the cord was a large blood clot. doctors said it will take up to 2 years for the cord to heal itself. she has controlled movement of her arms to her wrists. sometime s she has involuntary movement of her hands. she has feeling at certain areas of her body. she also can differentiate between sharp and dull. i just don't know a lot about her injury, like what may happen in these next 2 years, if anything. if anyone else has this injury please talk to me to help me get through this. my mom is 48 and this injury is taking a toll on me and my entire family tremendously. thanks for reading my note. shelly

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by ss74
    Hi everyone! I am new to this site. I am a caregiver to my mother who fell december 17, 2004. she broke c5 and c6 and pinched her spinal cord. in the cord was a large blood clot. doctors said it will take up to 2 years for the cord to heal itself. she has controlled movement of her arms to her wrists. sometime s she has involuntary movement of her hands. she has feeling at certain areas of her body. she also can differentiate between sharp and dull. i just don't know a lot about her injury, like what may happen in these next 2 years, if anything. if anyone else has this injury please talk to me to help me get through this. my mom is 48 and this injury is taking a toll on me and my entire family tremendously. thanks for reading my note. shelly
    ss74,

    Hemorrhage (bleeding) at the spinal cord injury site is common. Many people who have had spinal cord injury have some hemorrhage at the injury site early on and it shows up on MRI scans as an increase in signal (brightness). It also shows up on CT scans because clots have increased calcium but this usually cannot be seen until weeks after injury. This occurs because spinal cord injury damages blood vessels in the spinal cord and blood does get into the tissue. However, it is different when somebody has a hematoma, a collection of blood that results from continued bleeding after the injury. A hematoma may compressed the cord and blood may leak out into the surrounding cord. From your description, it seems that your mother had the latter. If the clot is outside the cord and compressing the spinal cord, surgery is usually indicated to decompress the cord.

    It is still relatively early after your mother's injury. Most people continue to recover for several years after injury. So, she still has recovery ahead of her. It sounds as if she has an "incomplete" spinal cord injury in that you describe preservation of sensation below the injury site but more information will help. Most people with such injuries continue to improve. How is her bladder function? Does she have preserved anal sensation? I am puzzled by the description of "involuntary" movement in her hand. Is this spasm (movements) or increased tone? Does she have spasticity and spasms in the legs?

    Much evidence suggests that intensive exercise and rehabilitation can increase the rate and extent of recovery after "incomplete" spinal cord injury. How much physical therapy is she getting? Is she doing standing and walking exercises? Is she trying to use her hands? Is she swimming (aquatherapy)? There is a theory that is supported by some evidence that lack of use causes not only degeneration of muscle but also the nervous system that controls the muscle. Called "learned non-use", it can be reversed to some extent by intensive and repetitive use. There is of course a limit to what exercise and repetitive use can do but there is some evidence that suggest that as many as 80% of people with "incomplete" spinal cord injury can recover ambulation.

    I do want to emphasize that such information is a two-edged sword. While it may encourage some people to work hard at recovery, it may discourage others if the work does not restore as much function as expected. It may lead to disappointment and loss of motivation, as well as rejection of the information. The first year after injury is a very emotional time. Some people are not ready to take on intensive exercise programs. Some people develop unreasonable expectations of recovery and then become disappointed when they don't recover as much or as soon as they expect. It is important that your mother works with a doctor or therapist who understands her situation, who is knowledgeable about different approaches, and can provide continued encouragement and support.

    This is a good place to ask people about their recovery. If you look through the 300,000 plus posts on this site, you will find many personal reports of recovery of function. More than half of people who have had spinal cord injury recover the ability to walk over time. They call themselves the oxymoronic name "walking quads" or "walking para". They will also tell you that it is not enough to recover walking, that they wish for more improvement, and have serious problems with their bladder, spasticity, or development of neuropathic pain. Finally, most will tell you that recovery is very hard work.

    I hope that this is helpful.

    Wise.

  3. #3
    I sustained a C5/C6 spinal cord injury about 13 months ago. You will most likely come across a good number of C5's, it seems to be one of the most likely places to injure your spinal cord. Personally, I feel lucky about my condition. I didn't need a vent, never had skin problems, and have full function of my wrists. From what you have described, you and your family should feel lucky in a way. You'll probably come across similar injuries that have that have it far worse.

    The main difference between me and your mother would be our age since I am 19, but that doesn't always seem to matter much. If your mother was in good physical condition before her injury, you should expect a pretty good amount of recovery if not more. As for recovering in two years, I'm not sure really where they get that number. I have heard the same thing, and I have met people that have fully recovered in less than two years, and people that have started to make a recovery more than 10 years after the injury. Obviously, you want return before 10 years, but don't feel like after two years is up that there will be no more recovery. Every spinal cord injury is different and there is no way to pick an allotted amount of time for recovery.

    Being able to tell the difference between sharp and dull is huge. That to me seems like a great indicator of more things to come. The best advice I can give is to do extremely hard work and therapy right away. The months and the few years after the injury are crucial. It is a lot easier to recover sooner rather than later. Act now and try to make the best of your mother's condition. Good luck and keep checking this site, there is nothing you won't find on here.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Aly's Avatar
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    My being a complete injury and at this for over 12 years now I don't know that I can give advice on your mother's condition since it is different than mine. But I would say that you and your family need to make sure you don't get consumed with taking care of her. Make sure that all of you get time for yourselves. I know my mother got very overwhelmed in the beginning, because initially I was very weak and needed a lot of care. If you guys do not stay healthy emotionally, it will make it much harder for you keep her spirits up and keep her going. Make sure you get alone time, other family time especially if you have a family of your own, and make sure that you have someone that you can talk to if and when you get overwhelmed. Just as much as she may need to guys right now for a support system make sure that you guys each have one also. Best of luck to you all for her to have a productive speedy recovery.
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  5. #5

    Unhappy C5

    SS74,

    Sorry to hear about your mothers injury. I am a C5, over 7 years now. It has been rough on my entire family. If she recovers that would be spectacular, but you should prepare for the worst. She can become pretty independant even if she does not recover, but she will need the whole family's support. There is adaptive equipment for driving and if she was working. The state can help place her in a job if she is willing. Homecare/healthcare aides are generally not covered by insurance unless it was a car accident, so look to friends, family, church and other institutions to raise money for things she will need. Do not wait until she recovers, it will prolong her ability to help herself if she does not regain everything. Dig deep into your states agency's for help, no one will let you know what is available. Its sad to say, but you will need to push all the buttons to make things happen.

  6. #6

    Exclamation Mentally

    Listen to the post by Aly. A breakdown in the overall family attitude would not be a good thing for anyone. Try to get outside help, do not do it by yourself. In the long run this will be good for everyone.

  7. #7

    hi

    thank you so much for responding to my questions. any information is wonderful. it helps me to understand the injury better. my mothers bladder control is controlled by straight cathing her every 4 to 6 hours. she can sense when she is full. currently she is permanently catherized. we are dealing with a pressure sore on her sacrum. keeping the urine off the open area keeps from excoriating it further. she also knows when she is moving her bowels at the area of the rectum, but i don't know if she can sense the actual fullness. i still need to do a bowel program to help stimulate her. we insert suppositories to help her go. the involuntary movement of her fingers is stretching and bending. i once asked her to stretch out her fingers and she did but yet asked on another time she could not do it. she always has spasms in her legs. she will tell me that they are so strong she feels them throughout her abdomen. if i can offer you anymore info i will gladly let you know. i appreciate all the time you took with answering my notes. thanks so much

    Hemorrhage (bleeding) at the spinal cord injury site is common. Many people who have had spinal cord injury have some hemorrhage at the injury site early on and it shows up on MRI scans as an increase in signal (brightness). It also shows up on CT scans because clots have increased calcium but this usually cannot be seen until weeks after injury. This occurs because spinal cord injury damages blood vessels in the spinal cord and blood does get into the tissue. However, it is different when somebody has a hematoma, a collection of blood that results from continued bleeding after the injury. A hematoma may compressed the cord and blood may leak out into the surrounding cord. From your description, it seems that your mother had the latter. If the clot is outside the cord and compressing the spinal cord, surgery is usually indicated to decompress the cord.

    It is still relatively early after your mother's injury. Most people continue to recover for several years after injury. So, she still has recovery ahead of her. It sounds as if she has an "incomplete" spinal cord injury in that you describe preservation of sensation below the injury site but more information will help. Most people with such injuries continue to improve. How is her bladder function? Does she have preserved anal sensation? I am puzzled by the description of "involuntary" movement in her hand. Is this spasm (movements) or increased tone? Does she have spasticity and spasms in the legs?

    Much evidence suggests that intensive exercise and rehabilitation can increase the rate and extent of recovery after "incomplete" spinal cord injury. How much physical therapy is she getting? Is she doing standing and walking exercises? Is she trying to use her hands? Is she swimming (aquatherapy)? There is a theory that is supported by some evidence that lack of use causes not only degeneration of muscle but also the nervous system that controls the muscle. Called "learned non-use", it can be reversed to some extent by intensive and repetitive use. There is of course a limit to what exercise and repetitive use can do but there is some evidence that suggest that as many as 80% of people with "incomplete" spinal cord injury can recover ambulation.

    I do want to emphasize that such information is a two-edged sword. While it may encourage some people to work hard at recovery, it may discourage others if the work does not restore as much function as expected. It may lead to disappointment and loss of motivation, as well as rejection of the information. The first year after injury is a very emotional time. Some people are not ready to take on intensive exercise programs. Some people develop unreasonable expectations of recovery and then become disappointed when they don't recover as much or as soon as they expect. It is important that your mother works with a doctor or therapist who understands her situation, who is knowledgeable about different approaches, and can provide continued encouragement and support.

    This is a good place to ask people about their recovery. If you look through the 300,000 plus posts on this site, you will find many personal reports of recovery of function. More than half of people who have had spinal cord injury recover the ability to walk over time. They call themselves the oxymoronic name "walking quads" or "walking para". They will also tell you that it is not enough to recover walking, that they wish for more improvement, and have serious problems with their bladder, spasticity, or development of neuropathic pain. Finally, most will tell you that recovery is very hard work.

    I hope that this is helpful.

    Wise.[/QUOTE]

  8. #8
    ss74, you are welcome. I am moving your post to the Care Forum where the SCI-Nurses can see it and where some of the questions concerning care can be better addressed. Thanks. Wise.

  9. #9

    Wink Spasm's

    Spasm's are common. I find spasm's to be more common if the bladder is full or gas. If she is on ditropan, this may cut down them a bit. (In my case it does). It will be trial and error for all of us. I take a pain medication called Zydone which seems to work wonders and it is less damaging to the liver and kidney's over the long-term.

  10. #10
    it is very hard to maintain mentality. my sister and i both do most of the caregiving for my mother. my dad and aunt do some on the weekends. my sister and i both have a family and trying to maintain that plus the injury has been extremely hard. i have been seeing counseling since march. my sis has not been to any counseling but has been also put on antidepressants and sleeping pills. the medications do help us but i am thankful to have found this site. it helps me to get questions answered and to realize that there are others that feel like myself. thanks for the advice.
    Quote Originally Posted by backspace
    Listen to the post by Aly. A breakdown in the overall family attitude would not be a good thing for anyone. Try to get outside help, do not do it by yourself. In the long run this will be good for everyone.

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