4 Most Common Neck Injuries That Require Immediate Help


The treatment method and subsequent rehabilitation depend on the cause, nature of the injury, and the degree of damage. These are the types of the most common neck injuries.

1. Sprain

Ligaments are bands of connective tissue that hold bones together. A sprain can be triggered by a fall, sharp twisting of the neck, or excessive stress on it.

Symptoms of a sprain are: 

  • Pain in the back of the neck that gets worse with movement; 

  • Headache;

  • Spasms in the upper shoulder; 

  • Sore throat;

  • Numbness in the back of the head; 

  • Tingling in the hands; 

  • General weakness. 

With symptoms of tingling in your hands, you should get help as soon as possible.

2. Whiplash

It often happens in car accidents, during sports, and unsuccessful diving into the water. A strong blow at the back of the neck causes sudden extension and then flexion. In a head-on collision in a car accident, on the contrary, flexion occurs first and then goes extension. With such a blow, a person can lose consciousness.

As a result of this neck injury, the joints or disks are damaged. This can cause irritation of the roots of the spinal cord. Neurological symptoms are:

  • Pain; 

  • Weakness; 

  • Numbness; 

  • Tingling in the hands or other electrical-like sensations.

Stiffness of movement, dizziness, or sleep disturbances are also possible. 

3. Displacement of the Cervical Vertebrae

Displacement usually occurs as a result of injury or degenerative changes. Symptoms of displacement of the vertebrae are: 

  • Headaches; 

  • Drowsiness; 

  • General weakness; 

  • Pain in the neck with the transition to the collarbone and shoulders; 

  • Numbness in the hands.

When severely displaced, the bone moves completely forward and locks into position, causing a ligament tear. Dislocation of the cervical vertebrae can damage the spinal cord and require surgery. With less severe damage, the vertebrae can return to their place on their own, but in any case, you should consult a doctor.

4. Vertebral Fracture

Cervical spine fractures account for 20-30% of all vertebral fractures, of which 10-20% involve spinal cord injury. A fracture requires immediate medical attention. Due to complications, the chances of becoming disabled with such injury. One of the most common fractures is a fracture of the C5 and C6 vertebrae – the smallest and most fragile. The most common cause is an unsuccessful jump into the water.

  • Symptoms of a fracture of the lower cervical vertebrae are: 

  • Dizziness; 

  • Nausea; 

  • Complete or partial paralysis of the limbs; 

  • Weakness; 

  • Muscular tremor;

  • Shortness of breath.

Pain at the fracture site and speech impairment are possible. An X-ray or MRI is required to make an accurate diagnosis. Treatment will depend on the nature of the fracture and the presence of complications.

Rehabilitation After Injury of the Cervical Spine

While rest, an ice compress, and taking anti-inflammatory drugs are recommended for minor neck injuries, intensive rehabilitation, and quality care are required for severe ones. As a rule, after such injuries, the recovery period takes several months.

Rehabilitation should be comprehensive and may require the assistance of such specialists:

  • Physical therapist;

  • Occupational therapist;

  • Neurologist;

  • Neuropsychologist or psychologist;

  • Speech and/or swallowing specialist;

  • Urologist;

  • Care assistants.

Upon admission of the patient, the rehabilitation center staff must assess his condition on special scales (for example, according to FIM). Assessment of the condition will help to correctly prescribe restorative procedures, as well as predict the results of rehabilitation. All rehabilitation procedures and activities aim to make a person as independent as possible.

If the injury results in hemiparesis or tetraparesis - paralysis of the upper and/or lower extremities - a person can end up in a wheelchair for life. In this case, rehabilitation will be required to adapt a person to everyday life and help to achieve maximum independence and independence in everyday life and personal care.

Natural Health