Neck pain from injury

by Mary
(Newburgh Indiana USA)

I have gone to many chiropractors since a car accident in 1993. We were hit in the right side door in an intersection. In Oct 2015, I went to my regular DC & he always used the thumper massager on my neck to the right shoulder area. He used it this visit but he pushed down a little harder and something near my neck popped causing an involuntary cough reflex & intense pain.

Since then my neck and upper back have not stopped hurting. It's worse when I look up or down. And just turning my head others can hear it. It also gets 'stuck' in some positions. I have had an MRI of my neck. It reads:
C4-5: Facet joint hypertrophy, greater on the left side than the right. Disc bulging with mild canal stenosis.
C5-6: Facet joint hypertrophy. Disc bulging and uncovertebral joint osteophyte formation eccentric to the right side, possibly with small right lateral disc protrusion extending into the foramen. Mild canal stenosis.

My question is (other than what does that all mean) is. What would have caused the cough reflex? Would it have anything to do with the 1st rib?

Hello Mary,
Seeing it's your regular chiropractor, go back and talk candidly with him; this is the kind of thing that happens with every doctor, including chiropractors. We need to be able to talk through this honestly and directly.

In all probability, though I'm speculating, the extra pressure put your neck into extension; with that facet hypertrophy your spine wouldn't like it.

With no significant radiation down the arm I'm doubting a new disc injury; those MRI findings would be have been more or less exactly the same before this recent injury.

A side on whiplash puts a lot of strain on the uncovertebral joints in particular with resultant degenerative change.

I would think that a couple of gentle chiropractic adjustments would get you back to where you were. Perhaps not use the thumper again, or at least more discretely.

Dr B

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