When someone has neck injuries, the first thing that has to be done is to stabilize the neck. The region of the neck is called the cervical spine. It is a very delicate region because any significant damage to it, especially to the 4th or 5th cervical vertebra, could cause paralysis. And this would not be a very bright situation for the patient.
There are a number of neck injuries that you should take note of because you have to know what the affected anatomical parts are in each injury. In doing so, you will be able to gauge the extent of damage that you have acquired:
1. Soft tissue neck injuries
It is common for neck injuries to affect the soft tissue only. But notice how these injuries always affect the muscles.Â The neck injuries that affect soft tissue are muscle strain, cricking, and neck sprain. Muscle strain affects the surrounding muscles of the spine. Muscle strains may be acquired by the neck on occasion but most of the time, they are experienced in the lumbar area or the lower back. When you have muscle strain in the neck, you have pain, decrease in flexibility, and spasm. Doctors treat this injury by telling the patient to adjust their lifestyle to the neck injury so that the cervical spine may be able to heal quickly and properly. Alongside this is to take pain and anti-inflammatory medications that will truly help in keeping the discomfort away as you heal while going about your day. You could also apply hot and cold packs to manage the pain but if the pain is still persistent, you have to see your doctor again. Cricking of the neck is a common pain after sleeping in the wrong position, desk jobs, and sudden movements. This could be caused by a vertebral disc problem, arthritis, and spasm. Again, you could apply hot and cold packs, engage in diversionary activities, or take pain medication to manage the discomfort. But if the pain persists for more than seven days, go and see your doctor. Neck sprains target the ligament. You can get them by sudden twists, stress, falling, overstretching, and overloading that particular area. Symptoms are pain, decrease in range of motion or flexibility, and swelling. In a severe sprain, you have to make sure that the patient is immobilized with the use of a neck brace or a rolled towel wrapped around the neck. If it is just mild to moderate, pain medication , ice packs, and rest will do.
2. Spinal cord or nerve neck injuries
When the neck injuries affect the spinal cord and the nerves, you should provide the immediate medical attention.Â These are extra challenging for doctors to diagnose. If the spinal cord is greatly affected, you should prepare for paralysis, lifetime disability, or death. The usual neck injuries that affect the spinal cord and nerves are WAD (whiplash associated disorder) or whiplash, herniated disc, burners and stingers, disclocation, and fracture. Whiplash or WAD is a condition that results to the hyertextension of the neck due to car accidents or an injury from a trauma or fall and while engaging in sports. Symptoms are disturbed sleep, numbness down to your arm, stiffness, pain, and dizziness. This may be evident only after one or two days following the injury. This can be treated initially by a cervical collar and pain medication. The herniated disc is an ailment from pushing out Nucleus pulposis from inside the vertebral disc. Exhibited symptoms are numbness and weakness of the neck. Physical therapy and pain medications are the usual ways to treat and manage a herniated disc and always culminate in surgery. Burner and stinger neck injuries are called this way because of the damage to the brachial plexus or the nerve root. You may feel something like electricity in the cervical area, weakness, stinging, burning, and numbness. If this injury lasts longer than three minutes, then you should seek medical attention. Fracture is one of the neck injuries that is indeed very dangerous. Here, your cervical bone is broken. It is usually cause by degenerative spinal changes, falls, or trauma. Preventing a neck fracture is the treatment that goes beyond any best medication. Dislocation of the cervical spine is caused by instability in the vertebral column, fracture, and trauma. Seek professional medical help for this neck injury to prevent its aggravation. In the meantime, wear a cervical collar. Spinal cord neck injuries are caused by a dislocation, fracture, or trauma.Â The spinal cord is the anatomical part protected by your vertebral column. To have it penetrated and damaged will result to paralysis or death. You should immediately immobilize the patient and provide immediate critical medical attention.
Consult your doctor about neck injuries and make sure that you know the numbers of EMTs and hospitals in your area just in case of dire need. Proper medical intervention should be given when neck injuries happen.