There are many causes how to develop a cervical spine instability.
Most cases are preceded by a whiplash injury. (Domestic accidents, sports accidents, car accidents).
Iatrogenic maneuvers can lead to instabilities, such as
hyperextension of the neck during surgery.
Instabilities occur frequently as a result of underlying conditions, such as:
– Genetic connective tissue disorders, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Marfan syndrome
– Genetic diseases, like Down syndrome
– Systematic inflammatory diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis
– Chronic infections, like tuberculosis or lyme disease
– Malignant diseases, like cancer
– Chiari malformation surgeries can lead to CCI
Regions that are mostly affected by trauma are areas of specialized mobility or junctions between mobile and immobile regions (for example C7/Th1). Isolated ligament or capsule injuries are difficult to diagnose. Subluxation of the facet joints occur without bony injury.
There are pretty much all imaginable neurological symptoms. Because of that a clear diagnosis is hard to be made. Here are just a few of the common ones. They vary in intensity and duration.
Headaches and neck pain
Burning pain in the spine but also in all areas the spinal nerves supply (arms, face )
Visual disturbances of all kinds, problems to focus, strabismus
Pain throughout the body, especially in the lower back
Weakness throughout the body
Paralysis, numbness, pins and needles, tingling
Disturbances of fine motor skills (difficulty grasping of glasses or small objects, dropping objects)
Pulsation throughout the body
Muffled hearing (such as through cotton) but also hypersensitivity to sound, tinnitus
Loss of the sense of the body, different feeling of the right and left half of the body
Loss of the sense of space
Mental changes (depression, depersonalization )
Problems of wakefulness
Respiratory failure, autonomous awakening (typical brain stem symptom)
Cracking and rubbing in motion
A variety of autonomic symptoms, such as nausea, diarrhea, nervousness, hot flashes or chills