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C5 Incomplete Fracture Stories

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  • C5 Incomplete Fracture Stories

    Hi All.

    A family member has suffered a serious spinal cord injury over a month ago. He's a young guy, in terrific shape, however the injury has left him with no movement at this time from the chest down. He's rehabbing at a great facility in New York however I wanted to know if anyone has a story to share or to give us an idea of what to expect over the next month, 3 months, and year(s).

    We're a close family looking to provide the best environment and support that we can for him along with trying to get a handle on what's being done in this field to one day enable him to do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it. We understand that this is a long process with no guaranteed results of a complete recovery.

    If you've been affected by a C5 incomplete fracture and you could share your rehab story, it would be appreciated. While I'd love to hear the great stories, it's necessary to hear about the challenges and what can be overcome.

  • #2
    i was injured years ago,
    c5/c6 incomplete injury
    partial sensation bellow injury, first year i'd say is the hardest. look at it as being born again u have to train/relearn everything which takes time but with the right attitude and taking it day by day it becomes easier to cope.

    that said i am attending university, and have a well paying summer position so as long you never stop setting achievable goals there is so much that can still be done from a chair.

    then again maybe he'll be one of the lucky ones that just walks out of the hospital.


    • #3
      I was injured many years ago, and I agree that it is like starting a new life. He will need as much support as you can give him, but also need you to let him try things on his own when he thinks he is ready. I managed post-injury to get two different degrees, work for over thirty years full time, travel, and have a good life. I pushed a manual chair for decades, but in the last ten years or so have gone into a power chair because I overdid the use of my shoulders and now have to give them a break. I drive a van with an automatic ramp on the side and use hand controls, which gives me my freedom. He will have many, many challenges coming up, and there will be difficult days. For most of us humor, support, and sometimes even a sense of the surreal can be helpful. He has one very important thing in his corner, and that is the close family you describe yourself to be. It is a great blessing to have caring folks around. Feel free to ask specific questions if you want to. You will get many responses, and we all wish you the best of luck.


      • #4
        i am a c6 inc. 9 months post injury and can walk with hand crutches about 20 yards. it was about 4 months post injury before i was abale to stand on a walker. i can walk on a walkr really good now. but my family and girlfriend pushed me very hard.i have came along way and still have a long way to go. push him and don't let him give up.
        keep your head up!


        • #5
          I'm c5,6 incomplete, 13 years post.
          I have feeling and movement all the way down to my toes, can walk short distances with a walker and one leg brace.

          There's no way to tell what return he will get. He needs to work his ass off and hope for the best.


          • #6
            Ree, I moved your post to the New SCI forum. I would encouarge you to do some time reading posts on this forum about others with similar injuries, and checking out the "sticky" topics at the top of this forum.

            Do you know his current actual neurologic level of injury and ASIA category? This is much more important to know that where factures occurred. Some people break their necks with no neurologic injury at all; it is the damage to the cord that determines the outcomes.

            Where is he actually going to rehab?
            How old is he?
            Was he a student or working prior to this?
            Does he have decent insurance or was he uninsured?
            What was his living situation, and will he be able to return to this after his rehab is over?

            As you probably already know, it is way too early to say if he will get any functional recovery at this will be at least 2 years before you tell how much recovery will occur. Meanwhile, it is critical that he and his family learn absolutely everything they can about SCI...not only exercises and transfers and how to use a wheelchair, but how to stay healthy, prevent pressure ulcers, problem solve bowel, bladder and skin problems, etc. etc. etc. Read everything you can here. Ask for more education at the rehab center, and attend all the classes they offer. Be sure he participates in both counseling and recreational activities. These are not frills, but key to a healthy recovery.

            Get him on-line as soon as possible (this should be part of his rehab) and get him here as well. This community helped so many others with their recovery!

            Please come back often and ask questions. We will try to help.

            The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


            • #7
              Ree, I'm a C5er, no feeling/movement from the chest down. I was injured in 1973 and spent 6 months in a rehab hospital. Like others have mentioned, the first year is hardest while going through the adjustments of a new life. So many things are so different, even the holidays didn't seem the same to me. My muscle function return leveled off at about 2 years post. An SCIer eventially develops a daily routine and things begin to go smoother. Good family support is very important.

              I have quite a few homepages of other quads on my website which may be helpful for you to check out. It's at:


              The best to you and your family.....Tim


              • #8
                This forum is a great place to start to network. It sounds as though your family member has a good support system with all of you and that is a huge part of adapting and dealing with this type of injury.

                The more specific you can be with the questions and the information that you provide, the better the information you will get.

                The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


                • #9
                  My son broke C5 one year ago. His injury is C6/C7 incomplete. He spent 3 mos at the rehab. As the time goes by he gets stronger. Now, he uses the standing frame at home at the minimum of 3 times/week for 45-80 minutes. He used the Bowflex for his upper body. He plays wheelchair rugby. He uses manual chair full time. Support from family is very important and prepare for his bad day.
                  This is a great web site for information such as care, cure and research.

                  Good luck to you


                  • #10
                    I suffered a C5/6 incomplete injury one year ago, but not a fracture. I was very lucky in that I never lost sensation and only my biceps, deltoids, and shoulder rotator cuffs were affected. In other words, breathing, bathroom issues, and walking were/are not a problem. Even so, I spent four weeks in the hospital and when I left, I was pretty helpless. I could not push myself up in bed and had to either roll very hard to get out of bed or inch myself out. I walked with my arms almost glued to my sides; I had poor balance and fell straight down numerous times, causing bruises on my face and several cuts to my forehead. I could not get off the floor independently. I could not feed myself, even with adaptive utensils. I could not type on the computer.

                    One year later, I can walk with my arms swinging in somewhat normal motion and have only fallen once in the last six months. I can easily get out of bed or off the floor. I can feed myself with regular utensils. I can use the computer easily.

                    I cannot cook as I cannot lift things at waist height so cooking is slightly hazardous, but I can wash dishes or stack the dishwasher. I can just about drive, but again, it is hazardous as I would not be able to react appropriately in an emergency. I struggle to bathe and dress myself above the waist although I can pull a T-shirt on.

                    I am pleasantly surprised to some degree with how much I have improved in the last year--when I look back it seems incredible--but at the same time, disappointed that I have not improved even more. Due to the fairly minimal injury I had, I guess I thought I would return to "normal."