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Old 03-30-2009, 03:40 PM   #1
Pete McFall
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Cervico-Dorsal Impairment

Does anyone out there using CrossFit have a cervico-dorsal impairment which has left them very asymetrical as far as strength goes? If so, do you limit yourself to unilateral exercises?
I have had many injuries, but this impairment has left me searching for a personal trainer or training system that understands my deficits and shortcomings and modifies my training activities to reflect that. Most bilateral crossfit exercises (pullups, pushups, bench presses) only aggravate my injury worse and do little or nothing to build my weak side.
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Old 04-12-2009, 12:27 PM   #2
Pete McFall
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Re: Cervico-Dorsal Impairment

BUMP for my own thread.



Has anybody ever heard of a cervico-dorsal impairment?

Am I talking to myself? Hello..................is this thing on?

The moderator told me to go to this Link specifically to get advice. I get none.

I'll give it one more week, then bye-bye to CrossFit forever.
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Old 04-12-2009, 01:51 PM   #3
Robert Pierce
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Re: Cervico-Dorsal Impairment

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Originally Posted by Pete McFall View Post
Has anybody ever heard of a cervico-dorsal impairment?
I'm a doctor and I haven't.

Google search yields nothing but a bunch of disability case law and this thread.

Not exactly the way to win friends here, fella.
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Old 04-12-2009, 05:55 PM   #4
Pete McFall
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Re: Cervico-Dorsal Impairment

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Originally Posted by Robert Pierce View Post
I'm a doctor and I haven't.

Google search yields nothing but a bunch of disability case law and this thread.

Not exactly the way to win friends here, fella.
Sorry if I appear frustrated, Dr pirece.

The personal trainers and physical therapists I have had experience with have known little or nothing about rehabilitating/training people with permenant nerve damage due to a cervical neck injury (what a cervico-dorsal impairment is). Having seen my fair share of PTs after several joint reconstructions, I believe in most of the advice I have recieved, and follow orders to the point of injuring myself at times with conventional exercises.
My neurosurgeon says the nerves affecting parts of my left chest, shoulder, triceps, and forearm will never work again. I have been forced over the last ten years to build my collateral muscles in unusual ways, using my own methods. These methods fortunately have allowed me somehow to stay employed in a very physical occupation, and I do not consider myself disabled.
I am simply looking for alternative ways to increase my symetry and build my weak side, possibly thru CrossFit.
Thanks for responding!
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Old 04-12-2009, 06:09 PM   #5
Steven Low
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Re: Cervico-Dorsal Impairment

Were the nerves permanently severed or something like that?

It's probably best to go unilateral is bilateral work only exacerbates the injury.

On the other hand, you can do bilateral stuff if you do extra strength/endurance work with the unilateral side before or after to bring the weakness back up to par.

Does the injury make the muscles you do have less forceful to contract or something?

I'm wondering why it would make your dominant side stronger without bring up the lagging side. Usually the body is pretty good to compensate with alternative muscles (how imbalances are made in the first place) if some part of the body is injured.
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Old 04-12-2009, 06:41 PM   #6
Pete McFall
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Re: Cervico-Dorsal Impairment

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Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
Were the nerves permanently severed or something like that?

It's probably best to go unilateral is bilateral work only exacerbates the injury.

On the other hand, you can do bilateral stuff if you do extra strength/endurance work with the unilateral side before or after to bring the weakness back up to par.

Does the injury make the muscles you do have less forceful to contract or something?

I'm wondering why it would make your dominant side stronger without bring up the lagging side. Usually the body is pretty good to compensate with alternative muscles (how imbalances are made in the first place) if some part of the body is injured.


The nerves in my neck were 'crushed or crimped' coming out of C7 due to a lifting injury at work. Only one of my three triceps muscles will contract in my left arm. This arm literally has only 30% of the other side's strength in many exercises, and is noticably smaller overall. I have tried everything over the last ten years to get the nerves controlling these muscles to fire again including an awful lot of electricity, unilateral weight work and strength training. The lagging side will never truly 'catch up' in my case unless I allow my strong side to lay dormant for a year or two.
Curious to see if anybody else is doing CrossFit with a similar imbalance of strength, and if so how they are doing with it.
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Old 04-12-2009, 07:04 PM   #7
Robert Pierce
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Re: Cervico-Dorsal Impairment

It sounds as if you have a chronic C7 radiculopathy...that PLUS several joint reconstructions...and you work in a very physical occupation and you don't consider yourself disabled...to me, it seems as if you and your therapists have done a pretty decent job over the years!

I would think that there would be some creative ways of working on the weak side without letting the stronger side go. I don't know that CF is a magic bullet, tho.
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Old 04-12-2009, 07:48 PM   #8
Steven Low
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Re: Cervico-Dorsal Impairment

You may also want to try talking to some of the guys who have amputations and see how they cope with it.

Um, I think Michael Whities is one of the guy's who has an arm amputation somewhere in the upper arm that may have some advice on unilateral training or bringing up bilateral strength.
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