Neck Injury - Medical Malpractice LawyersLEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
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Neck Injury - Medical Malpractice
Neck injuries occur during sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents, falls and even overuse injuries. An injury to a part of the neck means that another part of the neck is injured as well, such as when the ligaments are injured along with the bones or joints. If you have a whiplash injury, for example, you have a ligamentous injury along with a disc injury to the neck and muscle injury to the neck. This happens because all of the parts of the neck work together to move your neck around and hold up your head.
There can be soft tissue injuries to the neck that include a muscle strain. A muscle strain can be mild or moderate and it can be severe. Often tendons or ligaments are damaged as well. The muscle injury can cause a spasm of the muscles so they cause a reduction in the flexibility of the neck, shoulders and spine. Over the counter medications and muscle relaxants can help this type of injury. Local ice or heat can be applied to the affected area so that the simple muscle strain can resolve itself.
Neck sprains can involve primarily the ligaments of the neck. Ligaments connect the vertebrae together and tend to be short. There are many ligaments in the neck and they can be damaged by a sudden twisting of the neck or a fall onto the neck that ruptures or stretches the ligaments. There can be localized swelling to the area of the neck affected by the injury and if the strain is severe, the neck must be immobilized for pain and to help heal the ligaments. If the sprain is minor, you can get by with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications along with rest and ice to the affected area. Eventually, the ligaments heal themselves.
You can have neck injuries that affect the spinal nerves that exit through the lateral foramina of the vertebrae or you can get damage to the spinal cord itself. If you get a neck injury and feel a "zing" down your spine, this is indicative of some kind of spinal cord injury. Whiplash injuries can cause spinal cord damage by sharply flexing and extending the neck, such as in a motor vehicle accident. Sports accidents can cause it as well as motor vehicle accidents. Discs in the neck can be affected by a whiplash injury. Symptoms of whiplash can include upper arm pain, tingling down the arm, neck pain, stiffness of the neck, and dizziness. Symptoms can show up within a day or two of getting the injury or can occur right away. Muscle relaxants and pain medications work to help whiplash and a soft cervical collar helps as well.
A herniated disc happens when the soft nucleus pulposis in the intervertebral space pushes itself out into the spinal canal or around the vertebra. It can put excess pressure on the nerve rootlet or on the spinal cord itself. Anytime the outer, tougher portion of the disc is breached, the soft nucleus pulposis can come out and bulge into the space where the spinal cord resides. Surgery to remove the damaged portion of the disc is often necessary.
You can damage a single nerve exiting the vertebral foramina or can damage the brachial plexus in a neck injury. It can happen in football players who get hit during a football tackle. It feels like a "zing" down the arm along with weakness or numbness of the affected arm. The symptoms usually pass quickly but doctor's attention is needed if the symptoms do not pass after a few minutes. Such an injury is more common in those people who have stenosis or narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck.
Fractured vertebrae can be very problematic. It can be caused by trauma to the neck, degeneration of the bones or to a sports injury or motor vehicle accident. The biggest damage is that the fracture can dislocate, putting pressure on the spinal cord, damaging it and causing local swelling to the affected area. If the fracture is a destabilizing fracture, you may need to wear a halo around your neck to allow the bones to heal before the halo can be removed. The vertebra can be dislocated without being fractured and this is just as dangerous as a fracture. In such cases, the spinal cord is often injured and it takes weeks for the ligaments to heal and to put the spinal canal in the right place.LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here