What are Craniocervical Instability and Atlantoaxial Instability?
Craniocervical Instability (CCI) is where the ligaments in the neck are too weak to support the head, causing compression and deformation of the brain stem (think instability when moving head forward and backward). It primarily occurs in patients with EDS. In severe cases this can cause paralysis and death. The condition worsens with increasing severity of neurological symptoms over time.
Some people develop it after experiencing an injury, such as whiplash, while others will get it after repetitive movements, such as turning their heads.
Symptoms of CCI include severe headaches, dysautonomia (which can trigger fainting, a rapid heart, chronic fatigue and low blood pressure while standing), neck pain, impaired coordination and paralysis.
Atlantoaxial Instability (AAI) presents with similar symptoms, but refers to the excessive movement between the junction of the spine's first two vertabrae (think turning head side to side). This similarly causes deformation of the brain stem and all of the associated symptoms. In severe cases this can cause internal decapitation and death.