Discussions By Symptom: Osteomyelitis

I had cervical spine osteomyelitis in 1996. Ate away C6/C7 vertebrae.Take this infection seriously!

Posted In: Osteomyelitis 0 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • July 24, 2018
  • 11:51 AM

After a Cervical spine discography (to identify an herniated disk) in 1996, the needle containing the dye pierced my esophagus where it picked up a strep veridans strain... carrying it right to the disk space between C6/C7. Within days the strep began to multiply causing hideous pain... which they dismissed as a "reaction to the dye". After a week I began to have trouble holding up my head and was given a cervical collar to wear and pain Rx. They assumed the test had completely ruptured the disk between the vertebrae causing the weakness and pain. Then I began to lose sensation in my legs. They felt like two stiff logs and my arms grew weak. It was a trip to my Primary Care doctor that saved my life. He saw what the specialist did not) how much my situation had declined and arranged for my admittance to the hospital. Half an hour before I could get to the hospital I lost all feeling from the neck down. I was rushed to the hospital when an MRI showed that the C6-C7 vertebrae had been eaten away. My head was "literally" not connected to the rest of my spine. I had developed diskitis at the injection site where the infection began eating away the disks, bone and had reached my spinal cord. Long story short:
I was a quadriplegic. After emergency neuro and ortho surgeries, my the remaining part of the C5 vertebrae was fused (with a bone graft from my hip) to my lower cervical spine and I was placed in a halo brace and full body brace. After 3 weeks, when I was stabilized I was sent to a rehab facility for a month, where they taught me to use a specialized wheelchair... then actually via physical and occupational therapy, helped me get the use of my arms back. From there I was gotten up on legs I could not feel and "stood" between three therapists and parallel-bars that had a full-length mirror at the far end. I was still in the halo and full body braces so I could only look straight ahead. They taught me to use the mirror to use my body to swing my legs in front of each other and how to place them. By month's end, I could use a guided walker for short distances and could transfer myself to/from the wheelchair/bed. After 4 months the halo came off, replaced with a cervical collar. The body brace stayed on for a full year. I went from wheelchair to walker... to a walker with wheels... to a quad cane to the cane I still use today (22 years later). I have, what is known as a "cascade failure" of my spine because of the severe muscle spasms I had from spinal cord damage, causing deterioration of the rest of the spine. Here is my suggestion/warning:
If you have any severe pain following any kind of osteopathic procedure, especially on the spine (mine felt like I was plugged into a white hot electric current) go immediately to the hospital regardless of what the doctor says. If I had gone, early enough in the process, the diskitis might not have turned into full blown osteomyelitis!

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