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Q. Can scoliosis and neck stiffness cause physical disability?

Answered by
Dr. Muhammad M. Hanif Md.
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 29, 2015 and last reviewed on: Mar 16, 2019

Hi doctor,

I am a 31 year old female. I am in a job for which I will be out of home for at least 11 hours. My problem is stiffness in the neck (in the left side alone) for the past four months. In certain positions of my neck, head trembles, heart beats fast, and shortness of breath is produced.

I got my ECG done, and the results were normal. Normal blood pressure 100-110/60-70 and pulse rate 86 to 120. Brain and cervical MRI was done recently. Brain normal and mild scoliosis at C6 and C7 vertebrae. My body vibrates when I get down from the car. I was perfectly healthy 4 months ago. Please help.

Dr. Muhammad M. Hanif Md.

Cardiology Critical Care Physician General Medicine Internal Medicine
#

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I want to assure you not to worry as everything is going to be fine if proper care and treatment is opted in for. I have thoroughly gone through your case and can well understand your genuine health concerns.


The Probable causes:

Your issues are all due to the scoliosis of the cervical vertebra due to which you feel the pain and stiffness in the neck.
It causes misalignment and pain due to stretch and pressure on the nerves and the muscular spasms on the neck.

Treatment plan:

1. Take tablet Ibuprofen for pain.
2. Take capsule Lyrica (Pregabalin) by mouth.
3. Apply Voltaren Gel (Diclofenac Sodium gel) on the painful areas and massage gently.
4. Apply ThermaCare heatwraps on neck and shoulder.
5. Do physical therapy for the neck and yoga will be very beneficial.

Preventive measures:

Avoid same position of the neck like watching television, laptop screen or mobile phone for long time to avoid sprain and muscle strains.
If you feel nothing helps, consult an orthopedician for proper physical evaluation and continue treatment accordingly.


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Hi doctor,

In my last query, I explained that the stiffness is only when I move my head to the left side. Though I can move, I do not have that easiness. It is only for the past four months.

I hear cracking sound in the neck (frequently). Sometimes when I push my neck too much my head trembles like it seems to move on its own. If I try to push my neck too much, my voice gets choked, and I feel shortness of breath. When I get down from the car after traveling for a long time, my body feels really heavy and vibrates a bit.

My ECG and MRI brain are normal. Cervical spine MRI shows mild scoliosis with convexity to the right a small central posterior disc bulge at C5 and C6 indenting the thecal sac. There is no cord compression or central canal stenosis. I have no pain anywhere in the neck, head, arm, etc., only feel heavy and some pressure. Is there any possibility to become physically challenged permanently or lose my speech permanently?

Dr. Muhammad M. Hanif Md.

Cardiology Critical Care Physician General Medicine Internal Medicine
#

Hi doctor,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I want to assure you not to worry as everything is going to be fine if proper care and treatment is opted for.


The Probable causes:

No, you are not going to get any permanent physical disability. Please remain calm and start the treatment.

You have got a severe muscular spasm of the neck muscles. Let me explain in simple words. When there is some issue with the support of the neck that is given by the central vertebral column, there comes the burden on the muscles of the neck to support and do some extra work than usually they were doing in a share with the vertebral column.
Your cervical spine is somewhat curved and that is called scoliosis, there is a zigzag or mild curve in the spine inside your neck. In such a situation spine is unable to properly give the support to head. It causes muscles of the neck to get tense and spasm is very common which not always come with pain. As in your case the pain is not so much, rather there is stiffness. Both are the same and the treatment as I suggested previously is to relieve the muscular spasm and to reduce inflammation in the structures of the neck.
Also intervertebral disc bulge posteriorly in the middle portion. This causes issue with the spine even more prominent. When muscles get tense and spasmodic, the range of mobility is decreased, muscles twitch and vibrate and the head seems to move on its own when you do some stretch of the muscles of the neck by pushing the head forwards beyond the point of the laxity of the spasmodic muscles of neck.
When there is kyphosis in the cervical spine, it also puts pressure on the brainstem which causes pressure feelings on the respiratory control center in the brain causing difficulty in breathing and heart issues as described by you in history.
Also the pressure on the vagus nerve in neck may cause issues with like muffled voice and respiratory issues.

Treatment plan:

You also need to use neck collar to support the neck and head and to give rest to your cervical spine and the neck muscles. It will help in recovery.
No you will not lose your voice permanently. It is a problem if laryngeal nerve is compressed in the neck and starts with the hoarseness of voice, and that is altogether a different story.

Preventive measures:

1. You should avoid long drive and jerks to neck.
2. Use appropriate pillows while sleeping.
3. Do not use mobile phone by looking down. Take the phone to the level of your nose and then use it.
4. Avoid excessive usage of such gadgets which needs keen attentions and neck movements which may cause more issues to the existing problems.


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Thank you doctor.

I will follow your advice. I still need some things to be clarified in addition. While I try to stretch my neck my throat feels sore too. Earlier I used to travel to the office by public transport, but now I travel by personal car due to sickness. I cannot avoid the long drive for the time being and my office will not give me any leave now. I cannot quit my job ever due to rising medical and educational expenses. What can be done in this situation? Will it be possible for me to lead a normal healthy life with these physical deformities and by following your prescriptions? I have one additional problem detected with a submucosal uterine fibroid for which, do I need surgery? Will scoliosis create any problem for that?

Dr. Muhammad M. Hanif Md.

Cardiology Critical Care Physician General Medicine Internal Medicine
#

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I appreciate your health concerns. I have gone through all the details provided and can well understand the issues you are suffering from. Do not worry, things will settle down soon.


The Probable causes:

1. Yes, it is totally possible for you to spend a healthy life without any need for the taking off from your job or disability.
2. Just use the neck collar support while driving. Fasten seat belts properly and keep a slow pace to avoid jerks. It does not mean that you are disabled. Rather, it is just a little modification of the lifestyle to make you feel better. You may remove the collar in office if needed.
3. Start as I mentioned in my previous answer about the remedies. And here I am adding some great foods for you to boost your immunity and get a better fighting body against the diseases.
4. I am sure, you are a strong person and will defeat your diseases with courage. Please do not feel down anytime.
5. Soreness in your throat may also be unrelated to this issue and can be due to the pharyngitis throat infection. If so, you may take medications like Amoxicillin, Ibuprofen, Claritin (Loratadine) and keep on doing gargles with Scope mouthwash.
6. No, scoliosis will not produce any issues for the surgery, no matter you opt for myomectomy or hysterectomy. Both the procedures are done through laparoscopy and are safe no matter if you have scoliosis. And do not get overwhelmed and preoccupied as you have a very mild scoliosis that will not pose any issues to you for getting a surgery.

Treatment plan:

Some important foods which will make you feel good and give essential nutrition to your body are as follows:
Elderberry, button mushrooms, acai berry, watermelon, oysters, almonds, cashew, cabbage, grapes, whole wheat along with wheat germ, low fat yogurt, green leafy vegetables, spinach, tea and green tea, sweet potato and broccoli.


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