Greetings all. Been a few months since I have been here. I wanted to update you all of where I am. After seeing an Orthopedic Doctor for the spine and also going through 12 weeks of physical therapy, I definitely felt like I fell backwards and things were not the same and maybe even felt worse. I decided to take an alternative approach to see a chiropractor locally in my area. I do have to admit, I'm getting some relief from them. Like every chiropractor though, it's the standard (come in 2-3 times a week until you feel you are better) and usually, I feel decent for 2-3 days before I have to come back again. The upside to seeing the chiropractor is that the practice decided to send me off to a more detailed x-ray than my Orthopedic doctor did. I was happy about this. They also reviewed my MRI from 6 years ago (I really should get a new one) and any other tests I had done. Never have seen a chiropractor do this, but they wanted to know where the areas of focus should be.
After 2 weeks, I stopped going because I felt better when they would adjust me with the activator tool. Unfortunately, missing out on them for a week and half, things definitely regressed on me. So I went back and was told for the next month, to come for the 2-3 times a month. I asked if they could get me to 100% and the answer was "That may be really hard, it depends how your body reacts to this, but if it doesn't then you could be doing this for life but maybe not coming back as much per month. Some patients get to a very good place and then come back 1 time a month for their adjustment" I will note that this chiropractor does not run the business and is one of the few on staff at a top practice in my area. I asked if I could get an x-ray done and sure enough, they sent me to a local radiologist where I've been getting lots of tests done anyway and here were the results:
Vetebral body heights: Preserved
Disc Spaces: Loss of disc height particularly at C3-C4 and C4-C6 with mild spondylitic ridding
Alignment/Interspinous distance: Mild grade 1 anterolisthesis of C2 on C3. Mild grade 1 retrolisthesis of C5 on C6. Mild reversal of cervical lordosis
Prevertebral soft tissues: Preserved
Neuroforamina/Posterior elements: Narrowing of the right C2-C3 through C4-C5 neural foramina. Narrowng of the left C3-4 and C4-5 neural foramina
Multilevel degenerative change as described
No Fracture or suspicious osseous lesion
Mild reversal of cervical lordosis
Flex & Extension for Cervical Stability: Stable
So after all said I done, I asked the chiropractor about all of this and they went over it in great detail on the x-ray, bone by bone. I was impressed with their knowledge and I was not getting this from an Ortho doctor because they were just following "insurance protocol". What was explained to me is that I had a bone on the upper cervical that was too far forward and a bone on the lower that was too far back, but my neck was basically mildly reversed. It was also noted from what they saw on the x-ray was that my head was "off" on the left hand side, along with my jaw, and that too needed adjusting. So the focus now is to try and restore that natural curve on the lower cervical spine through the adjustments and some at home exercises, and also adjust at c1 and essentially C0 which is my head (to get my head into place). The good news is that my cervical spine was stable, because if it was not, they were going to refer me to a neurosurgeon as they have done so in the past with some patients. One question I asked is what would cause all of this and the first answer is "It could be wear and tear but typically when we see this, it's some form of a whiplash effect". Naturally I was asked if I was in an accident and if I felt worse afterwards and the answer is yes, back at end of 2018 I was in one and about 6-8 months later is when I felt worse.
I will stress, certain things are MUCH better because of chiropractic work and almost non-existent now. I was getting some "snapping" at the base of my skull, which was described to me as some form of tendinitis. This is almost all gone now. I've had a lot of upper body strength return, but not fully, and my lower body strength where back in June my legs felt like they were gonna give on me, also returned fully. I also have almost zero pain in the back and neck, though probably more weakness in the neck which leads to my neck becoming very stiff at times when driving.... this is where my main struggle is. I also sometimes feel like the bones in the neck are either moving around more or are just crunching and cracking. I actually feel like the same is happening where my jaw meets my cheekbones.
So my questions:
1. Has anyone had all this similar and what did you do?
2. Should I be continuing on with the chiropractor? I have my financial limitations on this.
3. Should seek the opinion of a neurosurgeon and get all the proper tests from them to see if they can fix this issue? Does anyone even know if they can fix the issue?
4. Is reversed neck even fixable?
5. Is one bone being too far forward and one being too far back considered a broken neck?!
Thank you for ANYONE who answers. I understand nobody here is a doctor, so I will get if you can't answer, but I'd at least like opinions or if you have experience with similar, share your experience and what you did to fix it!