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Recent C2 fracture

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    Recent C2 fracture

    4 weeks ago I was in a car accident. The airbag was deployed and I have no memory of after the impact until I was in the ambulance en route to hospital. I have a non-displaced fracture of the body of the C2 vertebrae extending into the articulation of the C1. No spinal cord involvement thankfully. I am being treated with an Aspen collar (no surgery) and have follow up x ray and appt with the orthopedist at 5 1/2 weeks. When I was in the hospital I was told by my nurse I would probably need physiotherapy once my collar is removed. I regret I didn't ask more questions but will have another opportunity at my 5 1/2 week appt. I'm wondering about how long I'll have this collar on, what physio will entail and for how long, when I might be possibly cleared to go back to work and if there might be any lingering chronic problems in future. I'm managing well at this time and am no longer taking anything for pain. I only take the collar off to carefully shower but boy does it hurt if I accidentally turn my head a bit. Murray

    Welcome to CareCure. You are indeed very lucky to not have any spinal cord damage with a fracture like this.

    Normally a cervical C1-2 fx/dislocation will be treated by immobilization (collar) for 3 months. Follow-up Xrays should be done when you return to see the orthopedist to see if callous (bone healing) is taking place. Head rotation should be avoided at all costs, as rotation takes place primarily between C1 and C2 and this could disrupt healing. Flexion/extension is also to be avoided, but this does not stress your fracture site as much as rotation does.

    We would recommend that you wear the collar 24/7, and not remove it for bathing. The best way to do this is to put each half of the collar in a plastic bag, seal the bag, put the collar in place (while laying down), then hold it in place to sit up and use masking or paper medical tape to hold the collar in place, wrapping the tape around and around your neck to do so. To remove it, cut the tape and plastic bags. The other alternative is to see if you can get a separate collar to use just for bathing.

    What kind of work do you do? You are likely to have restrictions for any lifting as well as movement of your neck for at least 3-6 months.

    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.


      Thank you for that information. I wish I had asked more questions at discharge.
      My hospital discharge paper said "Activity: no restrictions. as tolerated." I think I'd better be more careful.
      I still have the ambulance collar that was applied after the accident. I could wear it in the shower and until my hair dries.

      I am a floor nurse in acute care psychiatry where there is some risk of aggression but I will be off as long as it takes.