It seems like so long ago now but back in early August Star suffered from a subluxation of the atlanto occipital joint in her neck. In layman’s terms, she twisted her neck. She was admitted to hospital for a short while but they seemed unsure of how to treat her, first thinking of manipulation under anaesthetic, then taking three days to find a suitable bed for traction, and finally doing, well, nothing. She was assigned a physiotherapist and we have been visiting the hospital regularly. I don’t even have to give her name at reception now, like Star says, we are regular customers.
Ten weeks later and Star is not in so much pain as she was at the beginning, but her neck is not straightening back up. If you study the back of her neck you can actually see where the bones have twisted. She is being treated for torticollis (bent neck) but the twist makes it a little more complicated than a regular bend.
We still don’t really know how it happened, she just woke up one day in pain, and the pain got worse. I took her to the GP but he couldn’t figure out what was wrong and decided to treat it as tonsillitus. I wasn’t so sure and a few days later I decided to take her to A&E. This is what she looked like on that day.
You can see how her shoulders are hunched up in pain and the tilt of her head.
She was given a collar by the hospital which was supposed to support her neck in an upright position and straighten it. It eased her pain and she became dependent on it. Now her neck muscles are too weak to hold her head straight, but the tilt is still evident too.
Here is a recent photo of Star without her collar. As you can see her shoulders are not hunched because she’s not long taken the collar off and is not in pain. However, you can still see the tilt of her head on her neck. This is normal to her, she cannot put her head straight without it causing great pain. In reality, it’s not much different (apart from the shoulders) to the first photo.
Her physiotherapist is worried because she is not making enough improvement so more measures are now being taken. Within the next couple of weeks she will be starting hydrotherapy and will also be having the left side of her neck taped to encourage the muscles in the right side to work more and become stronger. She is also being referred to a new consultant because if these treatments don’t work then the only option will be an operation. I’m praying it doesn’t come to that.