Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Strappy me

In a desperate attempt to alleviate my discomfort, my good physiotherapist decided to try out something different the last time we met. He decided to strap my left shoulder in order to ease off the stress on the shoulder muscles caused by the weakness in the neck muscles. He put strapped me and I took the strap on for more than 2 days, just to try things out.

It wasn't comfortable and a bit itchy but bearable for a couple of days. It Didn't actually do much for my shoulder pain nor made it worse though. However the first night I took it off it backfired and caused me a terrible pain in the left shoulder. It was like having continuous cramps... not nice. (by the way my shoulder hairs didn't like it either when I removed the strap).

Shoulder discomfort is now swapping regularly from right to left shoulder. It comes out normally after half a day of work and forces me to leave my chair for good. I am fine if I walk but not if I sit down for more than on hour. At home is better because I can lay down on the bed or the couch and completely take some weight off my neck and shoulders.

CT scan results

I knew I had to end up showing some intimate image of me but it is for the sake of knowledge. The picture that accompanies this post is my actual neck a month after the accident. Can you see how straight it is? It is not suppose to be like that. There should be a gentle curvature along the profile of the neck.

That straightness is due to muscular spasm. This means that there has been a damage at a muscular level and some of the neck muscles are abnormally contracted due to this damage. That explains also why I am having all these problems of back pain and shoulder pain. Back and shoulder muscles are all linked and a dysfunction in a group of muscles causes a re-arrangement of a connected group in an attempt to counter-balance the dysfunction itself. This causes abnormal contraction of muscular groups that eventually leads to pain and discomfort.

According to the report there is no evident bony damage, which is good I say.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

mid term disturbancies of whiplash

Now this is getting really upsetting. I have taken my usual amount of nurofen and started the working week with the hope that I would stay relaxed and pain free for the day. well. it's not the case.

I have been sitting all morning, writing, in front of my computer and at lunch time already I have my shoulders and upper back really sore. It's a deep, i believe, muscular-related pain but it's there and it's not letting me go.

It is really affecting my life. I might be better off not focusing on it but it's impossible. This sensation starts as a discomfort and keeps building up. Now I feel it much stronger than a couple of hours ago. My neck movements are more restricted as well and I already know that I will find relief only on my bed at home. I shall try increasing the Nurofen dosage.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thank you, Nurofen

I have been taking Nurofen, twice a day, almost every day since the accident. I have stopped it for a few days during the second week after the accident and it turned out to be a bad idea. I experienced discomfort, neck pain, heaviness of the head and even nausea in that week.

I am diligently taking it since than twice a day, again, after meals.

Doctor and CT scan

On last Wednesday I saw Dr Chris Andrews to have a second assessment of my neck and on why this pain is not settling properly after more than three weeks from the accident. He checked my reflexes and asked me to take a CT scan to rule out any possible involvement of bony tissue in the injury.

A CT (computerised tomography) scan is a special kind of X-ray. The scanner, instead of sending out a single X-ray through your body as with ordinary X-rays, sends several beams simultaneously from different angles. CT scans are far more detailed than ordinary X-rays. The information from the computer images can be reconstructed to produce three-dimensional images by some modern CT scanners. They can be used to produce virtual images that show what a surgeon would see during an operation. So, a lot of information there.

I have taken the scan the same day and the results should be already on the doctor's table. I'll book an appointment with him next week.

Sympthoms (2)

I have been to physio today for my weekly appointment and I've endured some serious neck-manipulation this time. I felt immediately relieved after the manipulation and the soreness and stiffness of the neck seemed to had vanished when I left the physiotherapy room.. but I suspect something didn't go perfectly well with the massage because when I came back to my office and started working at the computer I started feeling an unbearable sordid pain in the shoulders and back.

There was no way I could stay in my chair for more than 10 minutes without this pain underlying whatever position I was experimenting in the attempt to alleviate the discomfort.

After a couple of hours of pointless twisting about on the chair I just gave up. Printed a few scientific papers (to have something to work on) and went back home where I laid on my bed to ease off the muscular pain. And this is with Nurofen. I just do not want to imagine how it would be without it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Whiplash symptoms (1)

Well this is what happened to my head when I was bumped by that car. Looks scary doesn't it? I felt it. I felt it happening. I felt my head bending backward and bouncing back. I felt the cold, inner pain. It lasted for a split second but I knew It wouldn't have ended there.

Since I have decided to start writing this diary after two weeks from the accident I will need to resume how it progressed from day 2 to today. So this post will be a sort of history of how whiplash symptoms have manifested themselves during this time frame, at least from my perspective.

Day 1: I have been OK the day of the accident. No real problems. Just a bit of tenderness in the neck muscles. I thought I had been lucky overall and that now I should have started the long and consuming process to get my scooter repaired.

Day 2: Tenderness started to become more annoying. I felt stiffer in the neck compared to day 1 and that was starting to feel uncomfortable. I thought it would have been a good idea to take some medication. I took nurofen that evening before going to bed.

From Monday 3rd to Tuesday 4th: I was feeling really bad. I felt pain in the neck and stiffness of the neck muscles. The movement range of my neck was reduced and certain positions were painful to take (bending left or right, bending backward). I decided to stay home and rest. I booked a visit at ALLSPORTS for the 4th of November to have my neck checked.

In the meanwhile the accident made me lost a research trip with my group I had been asked to participate on Monday the 3rd for 3 days. The trip would have been on Stradbroke Island and would have involved diving and underwater photography. Obviously I decided not go given the neck pain and discomfort.

From the 4th to the 11th of November: I started doing the exercises the physiotherapist assigned me to do (a very mild stimulation of the inner muscles of the neck) to try and ease the stiffness and tenderness I was feeling. After a couple of days from the first visit, pain was gone, except when I tryed to bend my neck too much. I went back to work on Thursday 6th. I continued taking Nurofen once a day as suggested by the physiotherapist.

On the 11th I went to physio again. We had established to start a program of rehab and to meet once a week to asses progresses. At this stage my neck looked much better than the week before. Less stiff, less tender, more mobile. I t appeared as it was recovering well. I was given the same exercises as the week before and suspended nurofen.

From 11th to 18th of November
: This has been so far the worst week. All the symptoms that seemed to be gone came back and new ones appeared. By the end of this week, 15th to 18th I experienced feeling of heaviness of my head, and fragility of my neck. I felt like I didn't have a proper control on the stability of the head. I couldn't keep the same position for prolonged periods of time. I couldn't stand still or sit longer than 30 - 40min per session without feeling tiredness, soreness of the neck and shoulder and pain of the neck and shoulders.

I have had the feeling of my body urging me to lay down and rest my neck. Since th 16th I started feeling a sensation of nausea in the late afternoons. It is not very strong and I do not know if it is related to the whiplash but it is there. The only positions i can stand is when the weight of my head is taken off the neck.

On the 18th of November I went to physio and told all this to my physiotherapist. He decided to add another exercise to stimulate the inner muscles of my neck and we decided to increase the frequency of my visits. The idea is to try and asses it more frequently and also to try to keep me symptomless with an increased frequency of manipulations and massages. I have to say the physio sessions have been helping a lot and the days of the visits have always been the best (in terms of absence of symptoms) of these weeks.

Unfortunately, after I started yesterday, for the first time, to do the new exercise the physiotherapist introduced in the routine, I felt immediatly soreness in my neck. I decided to stop there but the pain escalated in intensity and turned into an headache eventually. I contacted my physiotherapist this morning and we decided to remove that excercise from the routine for now.

Is it bothering me that I have lost my mean of transportation? Yes!

That scooter was our main mean of transportation. I used it to go to work and back every day (in St. Lucia). We used it to explore the city during the weekends. We used it for essential shopping (food and housewares) and not essential shopping. We used it to move around.

We have of course found alternatives to our routines, like shopping online or through the AussieFarmers but these new methods have drawbacks. They are more expensive for example than going to the actual market. Shopping online through Coles we discovered is at least 20% more than shopping at he actual supermarket. Moreover you do not have the same choice of things you would have at the physical market.

In order to go to work I have a few choices. I can use my bike or I can go by bus. Bus is cumbersome though and incredibly more expensive than the scooter. I usually could go back and forth to work for two weeks with a full petrol tank which is about 8AUD. Two weeks of bus to and fro St. Lucia are approximately 70 dollars. I loved my scooter.

Bike is OK (when is not pouring) and it is good to stay in shape but I believe is fighting with my whiplash at the moment and my neck is not completely convinced it's a good alternative.

The pictures

The trace of my intended trip.

This is the car that hit me. The plate is barely damaged. This is the final position of the car after the accident when it came to a full stop. Debris of the scooter can be seen around the front part of the car approximately where the crash took place.

This is my scooter after the accident. All the rear parts have been damaged or completely destroyed. Mud guard, lights, light guards. The top box has been damaged too and it couldn't close properly. Reg plate was still attached to an electric cable. The scooter was pushed several meters into Moggil. My scooter has not been repaired yet. I am waiting for the other person insurance to check the amount of damage.

I have already provided a quote for the repairs and my scooter is now at the scooter shop (scooterLife) in Fortitude valley, waiting.
Funnily, they have evaluated it might need more than 2,500.00 AUD to repair it. That's approximately the amount I paid it in the first place when I bought it. The insurance will be probably offering me less than that. So I won't have my scooter back and I won't be able to buy a new one with the money. My scooter worked perfectly.

This is how my scooter looked before the accident. Shot taken actually a few days before the accident.

The accident

The accident I was involved in happened on the 1st of November 2008. I was driving my scooter, Aprilia to the house of a friend of mine with a nice prospective of a Saturday evening BBQ. I live in Graceville and he lives in Indroopilly so it wasn't far.

I took Oxley Rd and , crossed the bridge, I continued on Coonan Rd and left on Station. Finney, Woodville Rd. There I stopped to wait my turn to enter the busy Moggil Rd. Cars were coming from my right side. I had to take the Moggil Rd on the left and then right onto Russel Tce. I moved with my scooter forward a bit just to get a better view of the incoming cars from the right and... BANG!

I felt like a mountain had crumbled upon me and pushed me forward into the Moggil car stream. I felt my head bending backward suddenly. I heard the crack of the plastic of my scooter and the sound of debris falling on the ground. I had a split second to make up my mind. I managed not to fall and controlled my scooter. I pulled over to my left, safe from the dangerous stream of car still coming at my right on the Moggil. The impact pushed me forward five or seven meters.

Purpose of this diary

The reason I decided to write this diary about my accident is simple, I wanted to remember and I wanted to keep track of what is happening to me and the problems that an apparent small accident is causing to my life, to many aspect of it.

I have suffered of a whiplash. This injury is defined as: "a soft tissue injury to the neck-is also called neck sprain or neck strain. It is characterized by a collection of symptoms that occur following damage to the neck, usually because of sudden extension and flexion. The disorder commonly occurs as the result of an automobile accident and may include injury to intervertebral joints, discs, and ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots"

I have discovered that whiplash symptoms can take months to fade away and I didn't want to lose track of them and forgetting with time of all the troubles they are causing to me.

I will try to update this diary constantly from now on and describing how I am feeling and how medications and physiotherapy make the thing progress. I hope this might be useful to whom has suffered or is suffering something similar. It will definitely be useful to me.