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Neck injury C4-C6

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    Neck injury C4-C6

    Hey all. I apologize in advance for the long post:

    A good friend of mine hurt his neck very badly playing hockey. Got it checked out and looked like there was some bruising / damage to the cervical spine C4-C6. This is about 1 year ago so it is not a brand new injury.

    According to the doctors nothing that required surgery.

    He is experiencing severe pain in his neck and upper back which is almost debilitating. Also very bad numbness and a burning sensation in both his feet and his left hand. He seems to have full strength and mobility but because of the numbness in his feet his balance is greatly affected.

    My injury level is c4-c5, but mine of course was a burst fracture requiring fusion and of course everything that went with it as far as mobility, sensation, etc.

    So I'm really limited in knowledge on what I can tell him to help. He has spoken to a few doctors and they all tell him different things.

    ​​​​​​I'm trying to find him a specialist, perhaps at Kessler, that can give him a real work up and make some suggestions on increasing his quality of life through pain management...

    But any advice or suggestions when it comes to what he might be able to do or medications, etc would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks a million!

    Originally posted by Mitchitsu View Post
    He has spoken to a few doctors and they all tell him different things.
    This sounds sadly typical, and your friend is very fortunate to have you in his corner, with your knowledge about where to search for specialists.

    It sounds to me as if he might not have appeared to need surgery at the time of the original injury, but now - a year later - he might. Things have clearly deteriorated, changed, or become more apparent between then and now.

    I wish I had something to suggest besides standard symptomatic approaches, which I'm sure he's been doing since the beginning (heat, perhaps alternating for brief periods with ice, on the C-spine; topical salves like Salonpas or T-Relief, in addition to OTC meds; relaxation techniques for supportive structures of the neck, pressure-relieving mattress and pillow). Perhaps others have found things that work better, but my personal experience with chronic neck and thoracic pain (inoperable) is that there's not much that helps, long-term. In your friend's case, the widespread burning and numbness - all the way to his feet - is particularly concerning and a consultation with an experienced neurosurgeon might lead somewhere positive. Best wishes to you both in the process of finding reliable professional guidance and - hopefully - treatment.
    MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions