Dangers of Relying Solely on X-Ray for Diagnosis of Cervical Disc Problems

Case Report Acute Cervical Disc Lesions

A 6’6″ tall basketball playing student was involved in a fracas with gate crashers at his sister’s birthday party and was severely beaten up by six soldiers. He subsequently suffered neck and arm pain and was seen at a hospital on several occasions and told that because his pain neck x-rays were normal there was no dramatic lesion. He presented two years later unable to continue playing basketball because of an insidiously evil and spastic paraparesis and evidence of bilateral C7 root lesions.

Myelography revealed a severe traumatic C6/7 disc lesion which required surgery. The root pain was relieved, but recovery from the cord damage was incomplete. This case exemplifies once again the dangers of accepting that normal x-rays indicate there is no abnormality.

Where a neck injury occurs in a patient who already has an abnormal neck due to cervical spondylosis. In such patients sudden flexion or extension of the neck following a simple trip or rear end collision in a car they produce acute root symptoms or even a cute cord damage. Usually the root symptoms are bilateral may affect multiple routes and the accompanying cord damage may cause an acute tetraparesis. The potential seriousness of even minor traumatic events affecting the cervical spine in this way in patients with severe pre-existing spondylosis must be recognized.

Source: Neurological Differential Diagnosis By John Patten

Posted by on Aug 11th, 2008 and filed under Medical Tests, Neck Pain. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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