My son and playing hockey with a syrinx

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My son and playing hockey with a syrinx

Postby jimhorn » Sun Aug 05, 2007 12:32 pm

Sure glad I found this forum!
Back in November of last year my son who is 18 years old was hit into the boards and that in probably the trauma that caused his recentley diagnosed 3 cm elongated syrinx betwenn C6 & C7.

His present symptoms are a loss of strength compared to his right arm and neck tightness. Yet today he surfed and plans to wakeboard at the river next weekend. If he minipulates his shoulder blades he can feel some changes in his left arm such as circlation , color and some tingling sensations, other than that he just can`t perform some weight training exercises such as push ups, bench press and maybe pull ups. He has some winging of his scapulas ( shoulder blades ) so we had been reeducating the muscles in that area to nuetralize his posture but now with this diagnosis it may be due to the syrinx.
He did not play for about 2 months and is now preparing to move to the next level in ice hockey in Canada playing Juniors starting at the end of this month. But from reading reserach on the internet and this forum it sounds like his goals to continue to play hockey is OVER. It that true from what you all have experienced?
His life has centered around his goal to play college hockey and then the NHL. His health is much more important to us but he is very depressed over the prospect of never playing the game he loves so much and is very very good at.

We see the Nuerologist and Nuerosurgeon this week from Keiser heralth care system here in So Cal. After reading the forum it sounds like unless they feel like my son is experiencing dramatic symtoms the doctors will suggest a wait and see attitude coming back every so often for a progress check.
Shunting or asperating the syrinx with a needle doesn`t seem to be a very effective tool and carries a high risk for the possible benefits.

Thank you for your feedback!
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Postby donbr » Wed Aug 08, 2007 8:59 pm

Hi I used to play hockey when I was young about 12, As you know hockey is a contact sport with not enough padding. I cant say what he should or shouldn't do but from what I know about sm I wouldnt play.
Trauma can make the syrinx worse or at least make the symtoms worse
Take care

Postby powerlineman » Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:56 pm

Yep symptoms could get worse, and he could not even be walking if one or two things happen to go wrong. I'd advise against it.
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follow up session

Postby jimhorn » Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:59 am

We met with the Nuerosurgeon Friday and after a long time listening to my sons medical history and examining him with a battery of tests and reviewing my sons past tests the Dr said he thinks the symptoms my son is experiencing are coming from the nerve in his neck controliong the muscles in his scapula that are causing the problems not the Syrinx.

He has ordered a 2nd MRI for next week with contrast to eliminate if a tomur exists and a EMG nerve study to determine if the present symptoms exsist from the nerve being stretched during the hockey injury back in Novemeber of last year.

The Dr. said my sons loss of strength is small, maybe 3% in his effected arm that if it was the nerve he can regain that with exercise and time. He encouraged him to strenthen the neck-shoulder-arm area now.

The Dr. said he is leaning towards my son being allowed to play hockey if the tests come out as he suspects and wants him to resume a normal actice lifestyle. He wants to track his future with follow up sessions with i
him and wants my son to be aware of future symptoms.

The Dr. in his private practice and now presently with Keiser has seen many Syrinxes and has followed them. His intent if possible he says is to try to find the cause if it is post tramatic in nature. He says it could have been there since birth but suspects due to the location it is probably due to the injury.

He gave us a disk with the MRI showing Syrinx as well
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results of more tests

Postby jimhorn » Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:33 am

Today my son completed the contrasting MRI, flexion/extension x-rays and comparison with original emergency room CT Scan from last year. The Nuerosurgeon called us today and said there are no spinal abnormalites , tumors and that he saw no reason after consulting with the radiologist and Nuerologist that my son continue to play hockey. His conclusion is that the symptoms are a result of nerve injury rather than anything coming from the Syrinx. he did say that if a new injury occured then he must be evaluated again and that my son needs to be aware of any changes in any if his opresent symptoms. My son is leaving tomorrow for Canda to tryouit for a Jr team. He lives his dream and we will worry.
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Postby powerlineman » Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:09 pm

What all symptoms does he have? I wouldnt be so sure to count out the syrinx as causing all the symptoms. Most doctors say that even though the syrinxes are the cause.

With hockey being a big contact sport you need to make very sure its ok to let him play. LIke others have said, trauma could make it worse. I'd rather have a ticked off kid than to have one that cant walk when we could have prevented it. I'm not saying it could happen to your kid though. We havent seen the MRI's nor know all his symptoms. Good luck to him and hope all goes well.
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Postby SMLady » Thu Aug 23, 2007 8:27 am

Hello. I'm sure you will make the right decision for your son on whether or not to play hockey. But I would agree with powerlineman in that I wouldn't dismiss the possibility that his symptoms are coming from his syrinx. For some reason, some doctors, it sounds like those who aren't experts in SM, don't think small syrinx's cause pain. We all know they can.

Have a good day.
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well he made the team

Postby jimhorn » Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:45 pm

With much prayer and trust in the Dr.s evaluations and recommendations I went with my son to Canada and as the only American in the camp he made the hockey team.
He got a fat lip/ stitches and a chipped tooth but he battled his way to a 1st line position on the veteran line. He is now living in the vancouver area with a family. We are sad he is gone but are proud he is living his dream. Only problems he had was with his low back and it was due to poor flexibility ion his hamstrings and glute muscles. Will keep you up to date.
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Postby brianfsmom » Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:44 am

Congratulations to your son on making the team! It puts you in a very awkward position to have to make this kind of decision. I suppose it is a plus he doesn't seem to have chiari malformation, in that case I have seen doctors directly advise against hockey, due to the checking.

On the other hand, it's obviously not just a whim for him, so I would probably do the same thing, especially if you have the doctors blessing. It's so hard to balance the pros and cons when you have a diagnosis.

I wanted to add to the symptoms/syrinx conversation ... my son was once diagnosed with tight hamstrings as well, when we later came to learn that the pain was coming from the CM/syrinx. His leg pain (which is what he had, not back pain) has been gone since his decompression surgery.

I don't think that this would change anything, just wanted to mention that it is possible, we also know someone who was diagnosed with a syrinx simply because she couldn't touch her toes at a routine doctor's appointment, and was sent for follow-up. (although if this is actually a diagnostic criteria, my entire family must have undiagnosed syrinxes...)

Best of luck to your son!
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Postby salekelas » Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:17 pm


You must be so proud of your son! I know I would be. May he be blessed as he lives his dream.


First game as a Junior

Postby jimhorn » Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:46 pm

I went to British Columbia to watch my son, Brady, play his opening game as a member of the BCHL Surrey Eagles Friday night. Seems like the whole town turned out to watch the season kick off. I can`t tell you how proud I was and the goose bumps you get when they annouce the starting line up and you here his name. He skates out of a dark entry into a spot light with a fog machine pumping out white fog and the speaker system plays the song "Let`s Get This Party Started ". My son scored his very first goal as a Jouniorr player in that game! ... rID=331719

He took some hits over the weekend and yes I do think of the Syrinx, but he gave plenty too. So far so good with the nerve and what it controls in his neck/shoulder area. He still feels some slight sciatic pain in his hip.glute area but as I said after we stretch him , ice and rest it he is better. He needs more flexibility and I really think after working on him that is what has caused the pinpoint pain. Very common. Will keep you up to date if you are interested.
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Postby Ryzing » Sun Sep 09, 2007 7:04 pm


Thanks for sharing the link with your son's pic and stats! Very cool :D . (I notice he was born shortly after I graduated from high school :oops: .) You must be very proud of him and his accomplishments. I can't blame him for chasing this dream - if I were his age and in his shoes, I would be chasing it, too. Who wants to give up, even with this diagnosis?

Best of luck to Brady and to your family! Keep us updated :D

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"If you don't change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?"
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Postby jimhorn » Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:12 am

Hi All,
had a little scare as of late. My sons team is doing well leading the league and my son was playing great up until about 2 1/2 weeks ago. He develpoed sciatic pain being refered into his glutte and hip. bad enough after a while that he took 2 weeks off to rest, stretch and rehab. Well of course as it persisted we began to think oh no it`s the Syrinx :( . It is always in the back of our mind. Even though his Syrinx is in his cervical spine we have read that symptoms can appear elsewhere. He came home and the last 3 days we ran him around and finaly found oit it was NOT his Syrinx. We saw the Nuerosurgeon and had an MRI and the Syrinx has NOT grown and he has no disc problems in his low back. When he arrived we scheduled him to see a veruy well known group of sports physical therapists who determined thatb his dominate right side was being used to much in his sport and it was causing his hip to rotate and compromised his back resulting in sciatic pain on his weaker left side. He was given a series of rehab and strengthening-stretching exercises that he must do daily. The new skates and foot Orthotics will help as well
He also saw a Chiropractor to realign the hip ( by the way what has your DR.s said about adjustments by Chirpractors and the Syrinx? ) and some anti in flam steroids to resolve the inflamation healing issue faster. He has no pain now and actually was only in pain after playing and practicing. Brady returns Thurs for his 1st practice and a game Friday.
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Postby brianfsmom » Thu Nov 01, 2007 7:10 am


I believe (someone please correct if I am wrong) that the concern with chiropractic adjustments has to do with the chiari. Noone with chiari should ever have their neck cracked. I'm not sure how this translates into adjustments lower down, when a syrinx is present. I'd be very careful.

Also, on an aside, many chiari and SM patients also have ehlers-danlos, a condition which can cause lax joints and hypermobility. If this were the case, I could see problems cropping up with the hips.

Then again, intense athletic workouts create their own set of problems, all other conditions aside. Good luck to your son - I hope the therapies help him. If not, you might want to seek that second opinion. Best to catch problems before they arise, or become worse.
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Postby Jerry80871852 » Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:34 am

I hate to be negative, but Syrinx is a very serious. What makes it even more serious is that many doctors do not know or will not admit that a Syrinx will cause a person major problems. When a person who has a Syrinx gets such a doctor it can lead them to extremely more serious problems if they listen to the advise he gives.

You can read thru many post on this message board and see the very serious problems many people have had because of a Syrinx.

Playing ice hockey with a Syrinx is just the same as playing Russia roulette with a revolver which has only one bullet in it, sooner or later that bullet will wind up with the firing pin hitting it and killing the person who is holding the barrel of that pistol to their head.

The right lick will be all it takes and it could put him in a wheelchair forever maybe even worse.

Some have suggested getting a doctor who knows what a Syrinx is and all the problems it can cause a person. That is very good advise and it could keep your son on his feet.

I hate that your son has this problem, but it really needs the attention of a NS who knows what he is doing. I've always thought its best to be safe than sorry.
May the Lord Bless,

Joshua 24:15 "...choose you this day whom ye will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
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