Injury: Neck Fracture

What is a Neck Fracture?
The medical term for a neck fracture would be a cervical fracture and should be taken with extreme caution if expected. There are seven cervical vertebrae throughout the neck and damage to any of these could lead to paralysis or possible death. If a cervical or neck fracture is suspected you should seek medical attention immediately. This neck injury is most commonly seen in auto accidents, diving and in football. Due to the complications and damage that come along with a neck fracture, it is important to understand the neck injury as much as possible in order to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Medical Definition of a Neck Fracture
Cervical Fractures are commonly the result of high-energy trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident, fall from a height, or a diving accident.  These fractures must be suspected and either identified or ruled out in all trauma patients who report neck pain.

Synonyms
- Cervical Fracture

What are the symptoms of a Neck Fracture?

- Severe neck pain and tenderness.
- Muscle spasms in the neck
- Pain that radiates into the shoulder or arm indicates a possible nerve root impingement.
- Numbness or tingling indicates nerve root impingement.

Related Injuries

- Neck Strain
- Whiplash

Treatment of Neck Fracture
- Immediately immobilize the neck and seek medical attention to diagnose extent of injury.
- Initial treatment should include wearing a cervical collar for 7-10 days.
- Following initial treatment you should receive further examination to see if the fracture is healing.
- Once exams are normal you may begin a light
stretching and strengthening program.
- Appropriate usage of
NSAID’s
to relieve pain.

Surgery
- Vertebral Fracture Repair

Related Anatomy
- Spine
-
Vertebrae

Sports
- Football

References
Greene W.B. (Ed). (2001). Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care.Rosemont, Il: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (548-549)