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Questions for a C3 Complete SCI

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  • Questions for a C3 Complete SCI

    In July, 2009 I broke my neck and was diagnosed as a C3 complete injury. I am fused from C1 to C6. I was on the ventilator for several months, but now breathe on my own 24/7 with no assistance. I can move my head, neck and shoulders. I have sensation in both biceps and slight sensation in my right forearm.

    My question is am I truly a C3 complete? Do I have the chance for motor recovery? If so, when? My injury is 7 1/2 months out and I am fustrated at the lack of return. I can sit upright on a bench with minimal assistance. I have been doing a lot of E-Stim for my arms, but have not yielded any results.

    Any input anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Scott
    Cleveland, Ohio
    C3/C4. Complete

  • #2
    Sfedor, sorry you broke your neck. Glad you found Care Cure. Welcome!

    Great you are not on a vent anymore. Must feel nice to be able to breath better. Sounds you have been doing a lot of work over the last several months. Great you are able to move your head, neck and shoulders, and can sit up on a bench.

    Do you have a physiatrist you work with in Ohio? I cannot comment if I think you will get more recovery other to say that I understand many times, maybe most times, when docs think it is complete it is actually incomplete injury and injuries can improve over years time. Sounds like you have been through a lot. Maybe others here can share more input. Please also take a look at the previous post (hopelost) and some of the other sticky information on this thread and care thread.. Great people here...Good luck and keep posting.

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    • #3
      After my injury I was at Metro Health Medical Center for 5 months. While there, I had a Psychiatrist (sp?) as well as a routine therapy schedule. I am now at a skilled nursing facility - no Psychiatrist, but receive daily OT and PT.
      C3/C4. Complete

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      • #4
        A physiatrist is a doctor specializing in rehabilitative medicine different from a psychiatrist. Since you went to the Model SCI rehab, my guess is you must have seen a doctor with that specialty. Glad you are getting some PT, OT there. Are you going to be staying at the NF? Do you have other family to help or have you made other living arrangements? I'll let others join in here..http://www.sci-info-pages.com/model.html
        Last edited by med100; 02-15-2010, 07:44 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sfedor408 View Post
          . I have sensation in both biceps and slight sensation in my right forearm.

          My question is am I truly a C3 complete? Do I have the chance for motor recovery? If so, when? My injury is 7 1/2 months out and I am fustrated at the lack of return. I can sit upright on a bench with minimal assistance. I have been doing a lot of E-Stim for my arms, but have not yielded any results.

          Any input anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated.

          Scott
          Cleveland, Ohio
          No not C3 complete more like C4. That's my understanding. Can't answer the other questions.

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          • #6
            C3 would be determined by sensation, not muscles. Do you have normal sensation around your throat? Tops of your shoulders is C4. It would be pretty unusual for you to be completely vent free at C3. Christopher Reeve was C3, and was unable to achieve 24/7 vent free status even with all the therapy he got. The diaphragm is innervated by C3-5, with C3 rarely being enough by itself to innervate the diaphragm full time.

            (KLD)
            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.

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            • #7
              I have sensation across all my throat, the tops of my shoulders and deltoids. I can also feel down about 1/3 of my back and on my chest to my nipples.
              C3/C4. Complete

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Sfedor408 View Post
                I have sensation across all my throat, the tops of my shoulders and deltoids. I can also feel down about 1/3 of my back and on my chest to my nipples.
                Do you have any shoulder abduction (deltoids)? Is it at least a 3 grade? Of so, then it is most unlikely that your level is actually C3. Nipples are T4. See the attached dermatome map:



                The name of the injury should be the lowest level that has 1) normal sensation AND 2) a muscle graded at 3 or better.

                (KLD)
                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.

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                • #9
                  thank you for the chart - very helpful. Based off of it, I have feeling in C4 and C5 (biceps). I am able to shrug my shoulders up, rotate them in circles and squeeze them back to pinch my scapula. I have no lateral movement of them.

                  Most of this I got back within the first few months; over the past several months, I have seemed to stall and have regained no sensation or motor anywhere else.

                  It's frustrating and patience is not my best virtue.
                  C3/C4. Complete

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                  • #10
                    you will get more back. very slow, months....

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                    • #11
                      My husband Dave broke C4-C6 in Oct 08 fall from tree. The doctor said he had damage on the cord to C3 area and he is complete.He has not recovered any other sensation since then. His feeling is above the nipple line and he can shrug, more on one side. He was off a vent for a few months, but got pneumonia over the summer and now uses it at night or if he needs a rest during the day.We have oxygen on hand if needed. He has a hard time getting a good cough.
                      From our short time since this happened we have seen that no two people are the same, so I can only tell you what our experience has been.
                      There is a lot of information on this site. I wishwei had known about it sooner.
                      Good luck!

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