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  • Vicki.spin
    Participant
    Post count: 1

    Hi, I recently suffered an injury to my C5 and C6 vertebraes. I am currently wearing a cervical collar that I was told i must be in for about 6-8 weeks. Im really nervous im going to need surgery and am worried theres more information out there that could be useful to me. I was wondering what you could tell me about cervical spine slipping and stair stepping. I went in to get an x ray today and it looked as though these two vertabraes were slipped backwards. Does this always mean surgery? Is there a normal amount of slipping the neck does? Would i be able to feel the torn ligament causing this stair stepping? Is it possible that the vertebraes could slip forward and that this is just them healing? Please help!

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8427

    Slipping forward and backwards have different meanings. The vertebra above is referenced to the vertebra below. A forward slip of C5 on C6 is called a spondylolisthesis or anterolisthesis of C5-6. If the vertebra above is slid backwards, this is called a retrolisthesis.

    “Stair-stepping” generally means a forward slip. Depending upon the degree of slip and the anatomic findings (X-ray and MRI/CT), this could be from injury or from simple degenerative changes. Surgery is warranted for instability, neurological compromise or pain that has failed conservative care and a surgical option is viable. Instability is defined by the amount of slip under load (flexion/extension X-rays). Generally, 3mm of slip is considered as instability but this can vary depending upon the circumstances.

    Dr. Corenman

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