Recently updated on October 25th, 2022 at 11:33 am
Worldwide, an estimated 222 million people live with neck injuries or pain. Musculoskeletal conditions that affect the cervical spine are the primary culprits.
As if that’s not bad enough, almost all types of neck injuries result in pain, too. What’s more, these injuries can cause loss of motion or even disability.
The good news is that many cases of painful neck injuries are preventable and treatable. Therefore it is always advised to use a quality mattress as it helps to sleep well. So here is some information given for mattress for neck pain. See this for more details. However, it’s vital to seek treatment as soon as possible, as moving an injured neck can worsen the damage.
To that end, we created this guide listing some of the most common neck injuries and their causes. Read on to discover what they are so that you’ll also know what and what not to do if you ever sustain such injuries.
1. Whiplash Injuries
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In the US alone, more than two million people sustain whiplash injuries each year. Car collisions are among the top causes, but they can also result from fall accidents. Sports like boxing and snowboarding can also cause such neck injuries.
One reason behind the high prevalence of whiplash in car crashes is that it can occur at a speed of as slow as 5 MPH. This speed is enough to jerk the head in a rapid back and forth motion. This movement, in turn, can cause the neck’s soft tissues to overstretch or even get torn.
Pain, swelling, and loss of neck mobility are the most common whiplash injury symptoms. Sometimes, the pain can spread to the face, shoulders, chest, or back.
Half of the people who sustain acute whiplash injuries recover completely. In these patients, complete neck injury recovery can take up to three months. The other half of whiplash patients, however, develop a long-term disability.
Patients with a chronic whiplash-related disability often experience widespread pain. They may also develop muscle weakness, headaches, and fatigue. Some may even experience ocular symptoms, such as blurred or impaired vision.
If you’ve been in a car crash or a minor fall, see your doctor as soon as you can. This way, your physician can examine you and have you undergo neck imaging tests. These can help your healthcare provider determine if you have a whiplash injury.
2. Neck Sprains and Strains
A cervical sprain is an overstretched or torn neck ligament. On the other hand, a strain is a type of damage that affects a neck muscle or tendon. Tendons are fibrous bands of tissues that connect the neck muscles to the bones.
Neck sprains and strains are common because they can result from poor posture. Posture, in turn, is something less than half of the folks in the US appear to worry about. Spending hours looking down on a smartphone or tablet can also contribute to bad posture.
Sudden movements, such as whipping your head to one side, can also cause neck sprains or strains. The same goes for if you tilt your head too far back, such as when you reach for something above you. Leaning your head too forward, like when you’re in front of a computer, can injure the neck’s soft tissues, too.
3. Herniated Discs
Intervertebral discs are spongy cushions that sit between the bones of the spine. They serve as shock absorbers and also contribute to spine stability. Without them, the spinal column will rub against and wear each other down.
These discs contain a gelatinous material that allows them to act as cushions. Aging, accidents, improper movement, excessive pressure, and overuse can wear them down, though. When this happens, the discs can bulge out or rupture, causing pain and even loss of mobility.
According to some researchers, disc herniation affects 5 to 20 per 1,000 adults each year. It’s most common in the discs of the lumbar spine (lower back). However, the neck is the second-most usual location of herniated discs.
If you have a herniated cervical disc, neck pain is the first thing you’re likely to feel. Certain neck positions or movements can also make the pain worsen. Moreover, the unpleasant sensations can spread to your arms or even your fingers.
Your shoulders, arms, or hands may also become numb or experience tingling. Arm and hand weakness are also common signs of cervical disc herniation.
If you’ve had these symptoms for more than six weeks, it’s time to start your search for the best neck surgeon. Your doctor’s goal would be to remove, and if possible, replace the herniated disc. The removal of the damaged disc can ease the pain, numbness, or weakness that it causes.
4. Cervical Fractures
From 2010 to 2014, over three million estimated cases of fractures took place in the US. Many of these fractures occurred in the cervical spine. Road collisions, falls, and high-impact sports accidents were some of the top causes.
Neck fractures are some of the worst neck injuries because they can cause paralysis. They can also be deadly, especially in older people.
A broken neck bone can cause extreme pain, inflammation, and loss of sensation in the arms and legs. It’s important to call 911 or emergency services in such cases. They have the proper tools to immobilize the neck, which is a must in neck fractures.
5. Cervical Dislocation
Cervical dislocation is a more severe type of neck ligament injury. In this case, two or more of the neck bones have separated from each other. This results in neck instability, pain, swelling, and loss of mobility.
Like fractures, neck dislocations also result from car crashes, falls, and sports accidents. If this happens to you or someone you know, please call emergency services right away. A dislocated neck also requires prompt immobilization and, usually, surgery.
Protect Yourself From These Disabling Types of Neck Injuries
Always keep in mind that most types of neck injuries can cause chronic pain and disability. That’s why you should do your best to prevent them in the first place.
However, if an accident is behind your neck pain or injury, please don’t delay seeing a neck specialist. The sooner you do, the sooner the doctor can administer the right neck injury treatment.
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