Injury to the neck is a common but often seriously debilitating type of damage suffered in traumatic accidents.
Neck injuries include such things as:
- Cervical spinal cord injuries
- Fractured vertebrae
- Injured discs
- Nerve root impingement
Depending on the type and severity of the injury, these neck injuries can be painful, debilitating, and even permanently disabling. These conditions frequently occur more than one at a time, as in cases in which an injured disc causes a nerve root impingement, for example.
A fractured vertebra is a cracked or broken bone in the neck. These can range in severity, and may cause any of the following symptoms:
- Moderate to severe pain, both in the immediate area of the injury, and possibly extending to other areas
- Stiffness and limited range of motion
- Neurological effects
- Deformities, including bumps or jutting areas near the break
The bones of the spine, or spinal vertebrae, are cushioned by a series of small discs of cartilage, which absorb pressure and shock to the spine, providing flexibility and preventing damage to the spine.
An injury to one of these cartilage discs can cause the discs to bulge or rupture, in conditions sometimes referred to as slipped or herniated discs. Depending on the location and severity of disc injury, this can cause pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness.
Nerve root impingement
Nerve root impingement, commonly referred to as a pinched nerve, is a condition in which the root of the nerve along the cervical spine (the neck) becomes inflamed and irritated, causing pain that can radiate down to the arms and hands, as well as tingling and numbness.