Forums: Community: Skydivers with Disabilities:
Neck Injuries and the Physics of Hard Openings?

 

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riggerrob  (D 14840)

Feb 8, 2015, 6:28 AM
Post #26 of 38 (6241 views)
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Re: [PiLFy] Neck Injuries and the Physics of Hard Openings? [In reply to] Can't Post

Good point, tilting the neck already puts extra pressure on spinal discs. A sudden load might then herniated a disc.
Both of my herniated discs are low in my spine (lumbar, sciatic). If I don't do regular exercises to keep them (neutrally) aligned , they bulge and press on my sciatic nerve and my leg muscles cramp up and I get grumpy.
Note to self: go to gym today and do stretches (e.g. Warrior One).


UpstateBonehead  (C 45843)

Feb 12, 2015, 10:22 AM
Post #27 of 38 (6155 views)
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Re: [PiLFy] Neck Injuries and the Physics of Hard Openings? [In reply to] Can't Post

Everyone:
Thanks for the comments, suggestions and article links. All of which were very helpful and informative.

For those wondering, its been 4 weeks since surgery and everything seems to be progressing nicely. Left the hospital first thing the morning following surgery and was back at work the next day (not exactly recommended but it worked for me).

Still a little muscle soreness at times but the Doc says that's to be expected. The fusion actually resulted in me gaining about 2 millimeters in height and, while that doesn't seem like much, my muscles/tendons/ligaments have to stretch ever so slightly to accommodate my new-found stature.

He also said that assuming everything continues to go well, I should be cleared to jump by early to mid-summer. Fingers crossed! Smile

We discussed the risk presented and I believe his exact words were "You decided to have this surgery so you could live your life, not so that you could change your life." After confirming that a hard opening or other neck strain wouldn't automatically cause death or serious injury (i.e., wouldn't equal suicide at altitude), he is "ok" with me continuing in the sport (Again, his words were "I'd surely never advise anyone that it was medically acceptable to jump out of an airplane, but...").

He and I both discussed that there is some additional risk but its just another additional risk that factors into the calculation discussed above.

Again, thanks to those who took the time to respond (both on this thread and through private messages) to a Newbie Student. It was and is greatly appreciated!

Blue skies!


(This post was edited by UpstateBonehead on Feb 12, 2015, 10:23 AM)


lawrocket  (Student)

Feb 21, 2015, 6:25 AM
Post #28 of 38 (6002 views)
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Re: [UpstateBonehead] Neck Injuries and the Physics of Hard Openings? [In reply to] Can't Post

If you want to look at simple physics, the flexion of the cervical spine along the several disk spaces is a way for the body to absorb and spread the energy of an event along the several segments. If you've had one segment fused, that energy absorption remains the same, but now must be absorbed by the other segments. As one can tell, having one fewer segment to absorb this load means a greater chance of failure of the disks above and below the fusion.

That the body often makes up for this with a hypermobility of the remaining segments helps in smaller impacts but can be catastrophic with high energy events. I'd really suggest you ask you orthopod or neuro about this. It's not the fused segment or segments you have to worry about so much as the segments above and especially below the fusion.

Add an already stenosed spinal canal and it shouldn't be too tough to imagine that a fused C3-4 will mean an increased risk of subluxation of C4-5 and C5-6. A hard opening can make for a pretty bad day


garygruber  (D 13963)

Jun 17, 2016, 3:42 PM
Post #29 of 38 (5437 views)
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Re: [UpstateBonehead] Neck Injuries and the Physics of Hard Openings? [In reply to] Can't Post

I had the same surgery. Took two years before my surgeon would clear me for jumping again. I did return to skydive and have had no neck problems since then.

I do have an L5 issue that will need surgery sometime, but that it only aggravated by hard landings.

Be patient. heal. I had my neck surgery when I was 42. I have had so many surgeries from motorcycle accidents, martial arts, etc. that I get frequent flyer miles from my hospital.


Rylan  (C 43784)

Jun 17, 2016, 5:35 PM
Post #30 of 38 (5412 views)
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Re: [sammielu] Neck Injuries and the Physics of Hard Openings? [In reply to] Can't Post

sammielu wrote:
I'm glad you're thinking it through.

Add to your list of questions: What if I get kicked in the head in free fall?

Its more common than you might think. Its happened to me on break off and I've dodged plenty of people coming at me fast, because I had the awareness to anticipate it, the skill to dodge it, and the luck for that to work.

Can you take a kick in the head at 120+ mph and be ok to pull?

If you get kicked in the head at 120 mph you are going to be unconscious or dead. So hopefully you have an AAD and it works, but preexisting conditions are irrelevant.


Anachronist

Jun 20, 2016, 8:58 PM
Post #31 of 38 (5257 views)
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Re: [UpstateBonehead] Neck Injuries and the Physics of Hard Openings? [In reply to] Can't Post

First off, Chiropractors are witch doctors, plain and simple. The training is laughable and anyone in the hard biological sciences understands their limitations if they know anything about them. They are really just massage therapists. There is a long story involving the Supreme Court about how they even got to legally call themselves "doctors," which was a huge mistake. Maybe there are some good ones out there, but the foundation of their training and purpose is deeply flawed. The vast majority are MedSchool rejects who wanted an easy out and still be able to make some cash; a large proportion are pure con artists.

Secondly, G forces are all about acceleration, if you drop a rock from one inch, and you stop it fast enough, you could make it pull thousands of Gs. If you slow a bullet down slow enough it could never experience 1 G in the horizontal plane. The human body can withstand upward of 60 Gs in the right position (USAF tested with a rocket sled). So all this G talk is completely irrelevant.

I've heard stories of openings hard enough to distort hip rings, if anyone has more details feel free to fill me in. When you start torquing a human body hard enough you cause internal damage, forget joints, the ligamentum arteriosum will rip a hole in your aorta and you will bleed out. Which is a common cause of death from sudden deceleration.

Skydiving is a young man/woman's game, the older folks are in it from determination, habituation, and luck. If you want to play in your 40's and 50's then you are at a disadvantage. There is no way to mitigate all of the risks.

That said, some of the things that were mentioned help, neutral head position is best (but a hip ring distorting hard opening will kill you no matter what), and if your doctors aren't skydivers they don't really have any understanding of what the forces are like. "My doc said it's cool" is about worthless (other than liability). It is too much of a niche sport for anything about it to be common knowledge.

But we're all a little crazy and I won't tell anyone they can't jump, or do drugs, or bang hookers. If you want to make this work as best as it can you have to find your own limits. Get in the tunnel to learn to fly better and build up muscle strength and get a feel for your flexibility and limitations. Keep to hop and pops with progressively longer delays to feel out those limits. Learn to pack soft openings (but a nasty one can still come and get ya). At 6' and 200lbs (I'm pretty close to that myself) you are probably doing 140mph in a relaxed arch, the tunnel will teach you to fall slower.

The odds are stacked against you given your injuries, size (fit or not, mass is mass), and age. Don't be a tard, and good luck buddy, skydiving is awesome and for most of us, worth the risk of injury or death.


Croc  (D 29552)

Mar 25, 2017, 4:23 PM
Post #32 of 38 (4811 views)
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Re: [Anachronist] Neck Injuries and the Physics of Hard Openings? [In reply to] Can't Post

Anachronist wrote:
First off, Chiropractors are witch doctors, plain and simple.



Bullshit.


gowlerk  (C 3196)

Mar 25, 2017, 8:13 PM
Post #33 of 38 (4781 views)
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Re: [Croc] Neck Injuries and the Physics of Hard Openings? [In reply to] Can't Post

Croc wrote:
Anachronist wrote:
First off, Chiropractors are witch doctors, plain and simple.



Bullshit.


Did you ever hear anyone complain about a shortage of chiropractors? Maybe witch doctor is a little strong, but not much. Worse yet, many of them are anti-vaccine and "homeopaths". They are a mixed lot, but there are plenty of charlatans among them.


DudeNZ  (A 1234)

Mar 8, 2018, 12:20 PM
Post #34 of 38 (2533 views)
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Re: [UpstateBonehead] Neck Injuries and the Physics of Hard Openings? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi UpstateBonehead,

Really late to this conversation, but I am interested to find out what you did in the end? left handed BOC?

I am very much like you, I had a hard opening on Jump 27 and resulted in a C6/7 herniation and resulting surgery and fusion. In fact I ordered my new rig a week before my hard opening. Unimpressed (Sigh)

I am also about the same age, height and weight, so interested in what you did.

I have mobility issues with my right arm and have had a few horrific jumps that I have not been able to get to my hackey. (one was a AAD fire, long story, very scary) the other was a coach jump the following week after the incident, and the instructor had to pull.

I found tho, I could do practice touches ok in the air. But as soon as I waved off....

My right arm could NOT reach it at all. it was short about an inch or I tried really hard, I could get my finger tips on my hackey, but not fully to deploy.

I still have the video somewhere. So instructor pulled for me.

I do admit, I came back to jumping too early after surgery. And end up taking 3 years off after those jumps. Also some PTSD along with that.

But I am slowly getting back into after 3 years off, but I am not confident in my right arm, even after physiotherapy and constant mobility exercise. I can pull, but its a chore.

I was considering going to spring loaded PC with a rip cord that was attached to my right Lats. Which i have no issues getting too.

So keen to hear what you did in the end and how is it going for you now.

many thanks,
Andy


UpstateBonehead  (C 45843)

Mar 9, 2018, 8:34 PM
Post #35 of 38 (2434 views)
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Re: [DudeNZ] Neck Injuries and the Physics of Hard Openings? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Andy:

Happy to say that things have worked out pretty well (knock on wood).

I made my first post-surgery jump in April of 2016 (about 4 1/2 months after the fusion surgery) which didn't "feel" quite right. Before that jump, I did have a follow-up visit with my surgeon (with an x-ray of my neck which confirmed that the fusion was healing up well) and his exact words were "I'd never recommend that any patient of mine jump out of an airplane but your fusion should be the least of your worries."

On that first jump my neck felt sore for a couple of days and I attributed it to the fact that I'd been in a neck brace for 3 months and had probably lost some muscle strength. I decided to not push it too hard and only made about 10 more jumps over the next five months before the winter lay-off at my home DZ.

Last year I made up for lost time. Starting in April, I made 189 jumps over the next 7 months with zero issues with my neck. Even got my Coach Rating in December! Smile

Some things I think were important for me were:

1. I bought my own Rig and no longer had to use rental gear. It fits well and I know what to expect and how to pack it. My openings have been soft, snivelly and consistent.
2. I jump a lightly- loaded Spectre 230 which is known for softer-ish openings (although any canopy can bite you). Although I did order a new Spectre 210 (still relatively conservative) that should be here in the next week or so!!
3. I pack my own conopy and am VERY neat, deliberate and careful (some may say obsessively so).
4. I'm in no hurry to downsize; I enjoy the canopy ride and don't feel the need to be the fastest canopy in the sky or to be the first one down. I've aged (gracefully, I hope) out of the genitalia measuring downsizing competition that attracts so many younger jumpers. I'm just happy to be in the sky with friends!

Wish I could give you some perspective on Rig/PC/Throw-out/Rip Cord modifications but I never had to explore or utilize them.

I guess the best advice i can give is that it slow, recognize your limitations (if any), get solid advice from instructors, Riggers and medical professionals and work with what you've got.

One of the last jumping days I had in November included a 70th Birthday jump for one of our long time jumpers. There were lots of "Experienced" jumpers there and jumping that day and on a couple loads at 53 I was the youngest guy on the plane! Age is just a number!

Best of luck and glad you're still pursuing it!

Blues!


(This post was edited by UpstateBonehead on Mar 9, 2018, 8:39 PM)


Anachronist

Apr 14, 2018, 7:31 PM
Post #36 of 38 (2096 views)
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Re: [UpstateBonehead] Neck Injuries and the Physics of Hard Openings? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey UpstateBonehead, glad to hear you bounced back well, and I appreciate the time you took to follow up; so many threads simply vanish.

As for the spring loaded PC, I've seen one done for a girl who was extremely flexible and her shoulder would dislocate pulling during aff (long story short, she built up muscle strength and the problem vanished, anyway, not the topic)

A master rigger can probably hook you up with a rip cord, and I don't know for sure but a manufacturer may be willing to build you one modded like that.


wmw999  (D 6296)

Apr 15, 2018, 4:13 AM
Post #37 of 38 (2069 views)
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Re: [Anachronist] Neck Injuries and the Physics of Hard Openings? [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a friend who jumps ripcord Racers. Has about 7000 jumps, and gets a new one every few years. So at least one manufacturer will make them, for at least one customer.

Wendy P.


mzanghetti

Aug 7, 2018, 7:03 PM
Post #38 of 38 (1715 views)
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Re: [UpstateBonehead] Neck Injuries and the Physics of Hard Openings? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for the update, I am a 59 y/o male with left sided weakness due to a cervical spinal tumor surgically removed and contemplating a tandem skydive. Nice to know I am not the only one to have to deal with these kinds of questions!

Blue Skies!


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