Vertebral Artery Dissection

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Personal VAD & Stroke Stories - Page 8

These are just some of the personal stories people have sent to me since April 2008.  There are many more but problems with email accounts mean I don't have emails previous to that.

Please share your personal story on the site.

Go to Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

The stories are in no particular order and I have purposely not included names or personal information.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, F47

I think my VAD started when I had a long flight and tried to sleep, leaning my head against the window. I woke with a horrible "crick" in my neck and a headache. I get frequent migraines, which had been well under control, but that's what I suspected was the problem.

I continued to have a low-grade headache for 3 weeks that just wouldn't go away.  I noticed that the back of my neck felt bruised, which I thought was weird.  None of my migraine medication worked.  Unfortunately, I thought it was just an aberration -- because a year and a half before, I'd had weeks-long headaches, an MRI that showed no problems, and then went on my current preventative (Zoloft), which put the headaches to a stop.  So I thought something was just going on with the preventative not working.  I saw a doctor to get a refill on my triptans (which didn't work), but hadn't started the long process for a referral to see a neurologist.

Then, 3 weeks later, on Monday night I was sitting at the information desk at work, and suddenly the room began spinning.  My co-worker helped me walk to a couch in the back room.  I couldn't walk without her help.  When the paramedics came and I moved my head, I began vomiting.

They took me to the ER, where they did a CT scan which showed normal.  I'd told them I get migraines, though never ANYTHING like that, but they decided it was a new migraine symptom and sent me home with a prescription for anti-nausea medicine.

The next day I stayed in bed all day, but got a doctor appointment for Thursday.  On Wednesday, a friend took me to pick up my car, and I told my coworkers that a CT scan had showed it was nothing serious, and I'd be back to work on Thursday.

Thursday morning I woke up and went to the bathroom and felt like I was going to faint.  I ran to my bed to lie down, which did get me starting to feel better.  Then I noticed my right side was tingling -- my right arm and right leg and even the right side of my face, including my lips.

I went back to the ER.  They had the records from Monday, and decided to do an MRI only because of the right-side tingling.  The MRI showed a stroke in my cerebellum.  They admitted me and did further tests.  The next day, they did an MRA which showed the vertebral artery dissection.

I was in the hospital for ten days while they got the coumadin levels right.  I am very lucky -- I read a study later that when cerebellar strokes get missed (which is quite common), 40% of patients die!  I do not have any permanent disability.

However, it did take me more than a month before I could stand without feeling fuzzy-headed.  Not exactly dizzy, and not exactly a headache, but something close to both.  I also tire out much more easily.

When I look up recovery from strokes, I mostly see things about recovering from major disabilities, not the dragging fuzzy-headedness that I've had.  I did get my neck hurting a few weeks ago when I was working with books on a high shelf.  After that, my fuzzy-headedness returned for about a week.  Now I get pretty nervous when I get twinges of neck pain!

It's been 2 and a half months, and last week, they had a follow-up MRI & MRA done.  I'll talk to the neurologist about the results tomorrow.  He has seen many VAD patients, so that's comforting.

VAD, Spontaneous (physical therapy), M28

I had an accident 09/10/2011... injuries were whiplash and tight right shoulder & neck... and pain in left lower back... physio appointments were organised by my claim lawyers, i attended my second session when the person performed various clicking gestures of my body... when he came to my neck i advised him that i wasn't comfortable with this but he said he has done 1000's... he continued...!!!

 later on that night i experienced my first major dizziness spell where the whole room span rapidly... i strongly carried on thinking it is an anomaly, but my dizziness came and went for 6 days when i got to a stage where i could barely stand... visiting the hopital for 6 hours the said it was vertigo or mnires syndrome... 4 days after taking this medicine i still was not feeling better, id say i started to get worse... then through my own internet research i came across VAD... and have taken some aspirin for the moment which made me feel soooo much better... thanks to you guys, you have confirmed my fears of something major, and now i will actively seek treatment for this problem by visiting my doctor and hospital tomorrow morning in 7 hours time....

i am sooo worried... if i hadn't had searched on the internet i hate to imagine the consequences... pls let me know if there is anything i can do to help you guys... thank God for people with attitude as yourselves.... pls give me your contact details i would love to keep in contact...

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous (playing football), M24

It all started when I was playing football, it was the last game of the season and we were playing the team who were top of the league, unbeaten all season ! I had the game of my life, headering and tackling everything and everyone, we were leading 3-2 when it got to the last 5 minutes of the game. I was just walking up the pitch when I suddenly was losing my balance, everything started spinning around uncontrollably. I put myself on the floor before, I fainted, I felt rough, had to get carried off the pitch as I was unable to walk. I got put on the sidelines where I was sick a number of times real bad.

I felt ok afterwards and went home where I went to bed. Two weeks later I was on the train on the way home from work where as the train was pulling into the station where I was about to get off. I lost my balance again, everything was spinning around and I couldn't walk  I sat myself on the platform until I felt ok then went home.

Another two weeks went by and I hadn't forgotten about these incidences but didn't think a lot of them anymore. In between all of this I was working full-time 5 days a week too, then one Sunday I had played football without any complications. I thought this was strange as I would normally start to feel really tired afterwards.

I went back to a friends house when as I was getting ready to go in the shower I started to sweat out really bad, that went and I had a shower, as I was on the bus on the way to the pub I started feeling these dizzy sensations again and an unsteadiness on my feet. My left arm went all numb but that went away, now I'm in the pub had 2 pints of coke to start with as I was feeling unwell, then after that had 5 pints of fosters as I felt a lot perkier now, bad mistake !

I noticed as I was smoking a cigarette I kept on brushing the cigarette on my leg, this was strange I said to myself, the evening went on and I sat down with my friends in the garden I started to feel seriously unwell and things took a turn for the worse.

I couldn't keep myself upright anymore and my speech had gone, I had now resorted to slurring my words. I knew I was in trouble at this point. A friend took me outside where I couldn't stop being sick it was bad, he ran to get a taxi, I said in the best way I could whilst slurring my speech that I wanted to go home.

Home I went, it was roughly about 11:30pm now, everyone at home was asleep, I fell asleep almost right away, woke up Monday morning unable to walk or talk and had a lack of coordination and mobility, phoned my mum to come home from work as best I could, she come home took one look at me and took me up to Kingston hospital.

I got to the car park where I was unable to walk and requested a wheelchair, got to reception where the receptionist took one look at me and called for a doctor immediately, got transferred to the specialist stroke unit at St Georges hospital in Tooting where I had MRI & CT scans done where they found I had had a minor stroke and one severe stroke, along with 4 blood clots on my brain, all this was caused by my left vertebral artery being badly dissected from previous episodes that I had reported, they said at one point they may have to operate.

I didn't like the prospect of that, throughout I was concious but couldn't talk, so frustrating !, I spent a week in St Georges, Tooting where miraculously I had made sufficient progress for them to say I could go home, I was the youngest person on there main ward by 40, 50 - 60 years !, they put me on 75 mg of CHLOPIDOGREL, blood thinners and also gave me various painkillers, codeine phosphate and paracetomel, they said 3 months off work.

I went back after 2 & a half months but only for 3 days per week until said otherwise by my GP, I just want to know whether I will be able to play football again, the specialist did say to me when I asked that she strongly advises me not to play any full contact sport again, depending on how much of a risk taker I am. I'm not sure whether its a risk I'm willing to take though, I'm just glad that everything seems to of come back to normal i.e speech, balance, coordination and mobility, the only thing I do have a bit of trouble with at the moment is being able to write properly, that I do find a struggle at times

VAD, Spontaneous (ATV accident), F36

I want to start off by saying thank you to everyone that shared your stories. I was in an ATV accident (no helmet) the throttle stuck I was going down a hill and went over the handle bars and hit a cedar fence post directly head on. At first I couldn't move anything but I had a burning sensation in my neck. I knew I had a neck injury so I just waited for help. I was with four other people so I knew they would be coming shortly. I was first taken by ambulance to a near by hospital where they immediately did scans and found the breaks in my neck. I was then Air lifted to a specialty hospital. I don't really remember anything for the following three days because I was so heavily drugged. When I did finally realize what was going on the Neuro surgeon was explaining to my family and myself that they could not due surgery due to a vertebral artery dissection on the right side. I was also told that I had a blood clot sitting at the base of my brain. I came to this site because I don't know a lot about VAD. I was just told that since I have one working one that the other was not necessary to live. I was told it would never regenerate. Because I was unable to have surgery to repair my breaks I have a lot of complications. I don't have full range of motion because the way they fused together. I do have a lot of pain but I don't take pain medication. Does anyone have suggestions? I have a tens unit. I thought about seeing a chiro but none will touch me due to only having one working vertebral artery. After reading these stories....I see why now and will never go down that route. I try not to complain too much though. God spared my life. I am a walking, yes I said walking. breathing miracle. The doctors say i'm a medical miracle to survive both of those traumas....I say I'm God's miracle.

VAD, Stroke, Spontaneous, F37

I am a female who had a spontaneous Bi-VAD nearly 10 years ago when I was just 28. I was out shopping at the time and suddenly felt a ping in my neck followed by a banging headache, dizziness, nausea and slurred speech. I was eventually diagnosed correctly and spent a week in hospital followed by 6 months on warfarin. I continue to take aspirin daily and went on to have 3 wonderful children. My only real reminder of it all is a permanent slight numbness in my left arm.

VAD, Spontaneous, M26

Suffered from a stroke on 30/10/2011.... now under rehabilitation.... but still unable to move left fingers.....

VAD, Spontaneous (Migraines), F31

I am a migraine sufferer, although I never normally have more than one migraine a month at very most. Recently however, I started getting weekly migraines. One in particular I awoke with numbness all the way down my throat which I've never had, it was very frightening. I have also been extremely fatigued, I no longer have the energy to go to the gym and sleep a lot more and very deeply. I was becoming frustrated and concerned with the frequent migraines as they were interfering with my duties as a mother of two young children, a wife, a law student and my normal daily activities. After many appointments to my GP and trying to explain my symptoms, I did not feel satisfied with the advice I was being given. Eventually, after persistent visits to my GP, I was given a CT scan with contrast. This is where my VAD was discovered as well as a cist in my brain.

From there, I have had numerous MRI scans where I have discovered the severity of what has happened. It cannot be determined when the dissection occurred, although I had been to a chiro approx 3 months before the CT scan and discovery of the VAD. Although, in the past few months, I have experienced sharp painful headaches, unlike migraines which are a pounding pain. I have had numbness in my face and throat usually in the evening, which now seems to have gone. I have been unbalanced but cannot say its a dizzy feeling, more like a 'space-cadet' feeling. This feeling comes and goes, but lately seems to have gone. I have constant pain in my neck on the right side (which is the side of the dissection) and a pressure headache at the right top side of my head and sometimes on the left, which also at times feels cold. I have another MRI scan booked in the coming weeks to look more closely at the cist as it is 2.5cm which is apparently quite large and is sitting in a part of the brain which controls balance. I somehow feel it will be revealed that the cist is not causing my symptoms, rather the VAD is in early stages. I have always been healthy, strong, no problems except migraines. I can honestly say I have never felt so unhealthy, unwell, emotional and anxious! More than ever I am trying to take care of myself, eating better, taking walks with the kids after dinner, trying not to stress! This is by far the hardest of them all. It seems when I stress or become anxious, the symptoms worsen. I have forced myself to take 'time out'. I don't have time for time out, who does! Although, if it means the difference between life and death or sickness and health, well what choice do I have? I go to church on Sundays and I buy that dress that I have wanted for ages. I'm trying to get the positive juices flowing. I'm trying to appreciate the small things in life. If the negative feelings make my symptoms worse then surely the positive feelings will help me to recover??

I am upset that I was not made aware of the risks of neck manipulation. If I had at least been made aware I would feel more responsible and maybe more at peace with my own injury. However, I had absolutely no idea this could happen and it makes me mad that I could have been robbed of raising my children among other things. I am waiting in anticipation for my symptoms to 'balance out' so I can return to normal health and put this whole experience behind me. I would not wish this upon any body and hope for more awareness in the chiropractic field for the unsuspecting out there. Id really like to hear from any one regarding how long the pressure pain in my head may last and the pain in my neck.

VAD, Spontaneous (after Chiropractor visit), F33

Nov 2011, went to get lower back pain checked at chiropractor. He manipulated the right of my neck, it made me jump so I told him not to do other side. I ended up with a right side VAD. had a follow up scan two months later, no change. It has spiraled my life out of control so much. I am a nervous wreck.

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Read other Personal Stories of VAD's and share your personal story on the site.



Share your personal story of VAD and/or stroke caused by a VAD.

Chiropractic Adjustments Causing Vertebral Artery Dissections?

Sandy Nette's Story

Sandy's goal is for chiropractors to stop neck manipulations.

Britt Harwe's Story

One of Britt's goals is that chiropractors be required to offer an informed consent form.