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C7/C8 quad questions

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    C7/C8 quad questions

    My best friend was injured in a car accident a few months ago. she is C7/C8 incomplete. I'm trying to find more information on this. I was wondering how much improvement/recovery other people with this or a similar injury have had. Things such as hand/leg movement and feeling, bladder control, torso control, and anything else. Thank you very much.
    Oh also- this is completely unrelated but why do the newest replies go to the top of the page instead of the bottom like most message boards? It there anyway I can change this in my preferences or is that just the way the board is?

    [This message was edited by Sammie on 04-15-03 at 10:36 PM.]

    Recovery varies with the injury, the person, the care etc. so predicting the recovery a person gets is not very exact.

    My C6-7, incomplete injury resulted in my still having triceps and biceps, nearly normal sensation on the radial side of my hands, numb feeling and weakness on the ulnar (outside) side of my hands. I was about 2 mos post injury when I noticed a definite jump in voluntary control of my hands. Not much change since. A C7-8 may have more hand control. Voluntary B&B never returned though I have incomplete sensation from the midchest down. Unlucky enough to have central pain problems but meds help some.

    Some people do recover nearly all function if their is no terminal tissue damage and doctors are able to stop the self-destructive process the damaged spinal cord undergoes when bruised or crushed. So that's possible. Some people report getting recovery 1-2 years after injury.

    Many C6-7 injuries are like mine but without much hand control. A good splint can provide support for the hands to do many things though.
    Probably not a point for C7-8.

    A few may have damage farther up the nerve cord than the injury site and not have as much tricep strength. Most people and therapists will tell you to go for all you can get and once you get something back keep using it.

    Good luck and best wishes to your friend

    Joe B
    Joe B


      Do you know how incomplete she is at this time? Generally, the sooner someone starts to get return, the longer return continues and the greater the degree of return. The first 2 years are the most important time for most people, although return may continue even beyond that time for some. It is important for those who are incomplete to get ongoing therapy so that they can maximize the use of any return they get. No one can really predict how much or how little return there will be, and of which functions.

      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.


        I am C3/C4 incomplete, almost 8 years. For me, I got the fastest return that I was going to get in the first three months. After that, the progress gradually declined, but I continued to get a little return for five years (at 5 years, bladder retention finally ended once and for all along with the need for daily low doses of antibiotics to prevent bladder infections). I absolutely agree with KLD though, as long as she is getting return, she should continue therapy so that she can make the most of what return she gets, and learn to compensate for what she doesn't get. I stayed in PT for most of the first 18 months, even paying for some out of pocket because I had used up all my covered sessions. It was well worth it. Even in the last month, I went back for a couple refresher sessions because I felt like my gait had deteriorated and needed brushing up (and it has really helped). If she is outpatient, which I presume she is, make sure she finds a PT who is experienced with spinal cord injuries. Also, some PT's are alot better than others. I went through several. It wasn't me, they just kept leaving or being transferred, although I was starting to wonder! And she may well need some OT as well, I didn't mean to leave them out. Good luck to your friend, I was told by my rehab doc that on average return continues for 1 - 2 years. You sound like a good friend. Meanwhile, if she has a computer, she might find the support of this forum helpful. If she doesn't have enough hand control to type, she might be able to use some adaptive device like a splint (hey, I am a computer programmer and I have worked up to 20 - 30 words per minute with two fingers), or to get a speech recognition program like Dragon Speech (or Dragon Speak, something like that).


          My 19-year-old son was injured last July. His fracture was C6-C8 but he is classified as a T1 imcomplete for his spinal cord injury. He is fortunate to have full hand control although somewhat weaker then before the accident. He is technically paralyzed from mid-chest down which causes some balance problems but he has improved much since July. He has had a litle movement in his right leg -starting with toe wiggling about 2 months post-injury which has increased to some muscle control in that leg. Tiny wiggling in left toes that has never really increased. Time and return of strength have helped a lot. I wish I could tell you some great news since the injuries your friend and my son have are close. A tree fell on our car and my son's injury was like a diving injury. Maybe your friends injury was not as damaging to the spinal cord. What return does he/she have now and how many months has it been? From my few months reading the posts here, it seems that anything can happen. I can't figure out what makes the difference in someone who walks again and someone who doesn't. I wish your friend the best. They are very lucky to have a friend who cares so much!


            Thank you everyone for responding. She's in outpatiend therepy and has gained back some function and feeling in her hands. Her thumbs and index fingers seem to have improved more than her other fingers. She has pretty good wrist control and she can wiggle her toes.
            She's going though a hard time emotionally and is quite depressed. I've suggested this forum to her but she doesn't want to come here- maybe later she'll be feeling up to it.
            I was also wondering if any of you have suggestions I could give her for daily activities- like little things you've found that help in doing things around the house. Obviously she's learned some things from therepy but I was wondering if there are things that I could further suggest to her to make daily living a little easier for her.
            Also, I was wondering if there are any good inspirational books/movies I could suggest to her to help lift her spirits a little.
            Thank you very much.


            • #7

              My little brother was injured on March 20th. He is 18 years old and a senior in high school. He is the captain of the basketball team and they just won the state championship. He is now paralyzed from the waist down. His injury is T11.

              The doctors told us he will never walk again. He will be leaving rehab tomorrow after spending two and a half weeks learning how to become independent in a wheel chair. His therapy will continue on an outpatient basis. He, too, has never been to this site. I have been on here everyday since I learned of it.

              My family has learned that we need to take things day by day. It is the hardest thing to do, but there is no other way to get through this. We have a tremendous faith in God and that is honestly what makes each day bearable.

              There are no certainties with spinal cord injuries. We keep eachother's spirits lifted and try to keep a positive outlook. Count the blessings you have and have faith that things will get better.

              I will pray for your friend as I pray for my little brother.

              If you ever need someone to talk to who is going through a similiar situation, please feel free to e-mail me at I am new to SCI and I am willing to be an ear if you need someone to talk to. Good luck.



                Good on you, Sammie

                for trying to make this easier for her. You're her best friend, so you know already what she likes in movies and books . . . I'd steer clear of the "inspirational" stuff right now, unless she's always been into that kind of thing. When my husband's injury was a few months old, neither of us was anywhere near ready to look at what this might mean longterm. Which is weird, right? I mean, you have to, but for us it was best to take it a little, tiny bit at a time.

                My mantra in those days was, either this will become routine or it will eventually go away. This applied to watching him struggle to dress himself (he's c6), cleaning him up after accidents, horsing around with the stupid shower chair, helping him transfer . . . whatever. I knew either we'd both just get used to it, or he'd somehow get better enough that we wouldn't have to do it anymore.

                The most helpful thing anyone said to him in the first months came from a woman his brother knew. This woman was about 1 year post-injury. She sent him a long email while he was still in the hospital, and this is what helped: She said that she made a decision NOT to think of herself as a paraplegic, but instead as JUST ANOTHER ATHLETE COMING BACK FROM A SERIOUS INJURY. She knew perfectly well that her disability was probably permanent, but she wanted to find a way to hold on to who she was, and for her that worked.

                Your friend is still who she always was, no matter how it looks now, and she'll have an easier time living up to that with you there to help her remember.

                One other thought--you might post questions in the "Caregivers" forum sometime . . . lots of people there have struggled with the kinds of things you're working on.

                Take care.