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Fresh out of the c collar, tingling when moving my neck

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  • Fresh out of the c collar, tingling when moving my neck

    Hey all, I broke C2 and C3 10 weeks ago in a rock climbing accident. As a result I have Central Cord Syndrome, C3 ASIA D. I have a mild case, and my remaining symptoms are some numbness in my hands, and arm and shoulder weakness.
    I was cleared on Tuesday to remove the c collar and I have started doing some range-of-motion exercises for my neck. The neurosurgeon said that I might experience some tingling or other sensations when moving my neck for the first time in 10 weeks and that I shouldn't be concerned unless something changes dramatically.
    I have noticed that moving my neck side to side increases the numbness in my hands for a few hours. Also, moving my chin down to my chest causes a buzzing vibration sensation through my back and legs.
    Did anyone else with incomplete injuries notice things like this when moving their neck for the first time? I'm more curious than worried, but just wondering if it is common and if anyone has any insights into why it happens?

  • #2
    Did you have flexion/extension films done when you were cleared to remove your collar? Have you reported these problems to the neurosurgeon? While it is not uncommon to have some neuropathic pain in your arms with CCS, the fact that these are positional problems and intermittent concerns me.

    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.


    • #3
      Marmar, I do not have a traumatic spinal cord injury like yours, mine is from MS lesions with spinal stenosis, herniated discs and bone spurs. My symptoms are very much like yours, though, because the same parts of the anatomy are involved. The zing you feel down your back and legs when you tilt your chin toward your chest is called "L'Hermitte's sign" - it's typical of MS, but many other types of cord injury can cause it.

      I would be very careful about doing any kind of range-of-motion or other exercises for your neck unless you're under the supervision of a PT or physiatrist (rehab doctor) with neurological expertise. Increasing numbness in your hands that lasts for several hours is something that I would interpret as your body saying: Don't move your neck from side-to-side. It's not much use for your surgeon to tell you not to be concerned unless "something changes dramatically," because at that point there might be no going back.

      Not trying to alarm you, but I have sustained numerous injuries as a result of complying with advice from enthusiastic doctors and inexperienced PTs. I lost almost all the use of my left arm and hand as a result of the latter, and it did not return. Your cervical cord is the main switchboard in your body, be ever so gentle with it and have frequent followup. It's wonderful that your injury is not more severe than it is, so I urge you to err on the side of caution and listen very closely to what your body is saying - if it hurts, zings, or reacts with prolonged symptoms, back off.

      Others might disagree with what I've said, but experience has been a hard teacher for me.
      MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions


      • #4
        Thanks for the quick replies!

        Yeah I did get flexion and extension X-rays before being cleared and they said that everything looks stable. I will give the neuro a call in any case.

        It is good to know the name of this phenomenon, it sounds exactly like what I'm experiencing. From what I have read with some cursory googling it looks like it can happen after neck trauma.


        • #5
          Just wanted to give a little followup. The neurosurgeon and my PT both noted that the chin-down buzzing sensation is fairly common and should go away over time. The increase in numbness after turning my head has gone away quite a bit over the last few days and does not seem to have left any lasting effects.

          Thanks again for the advice. Bonnette, I am sorry to hear about your experience and that it led to a permanent disability.


          • #6
            Thanks, marmar. I am delighted to hear that your followup appointments were positive and that your symptoms are lessening. All best wishes for your complete and uneventful recovery!
            MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions


            • #7
              In case anyone is interested, the chin-down buzzing sensation is almost entirely gone now. I can still feel a very slight tingling on occasion when I look down but it is almost not noticeable anymore.


              • #8
                Glad to hear this news!
                MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions


                • #9
                  Congrats Marmar. It's nice to hear news like this.May you continue to improve and maximize your potential in every way.


                  • #10
                    Thanks. I know that I am very lucky in my injury. Well, first unlucky then lucky