Unless you’re a professional athlete or weekend warrior, a neck injury is usually a sprain or fracture. But even these are serious injuries. If you don’t seek medical help right away, you risk being partially or completely paralyzed. The impact from trauma affects your neck, shoulders and spine. It can cause disc herniation or compromise a spinal nerve. You can even injure your spinal cord. Dr. Branko Skovrlj is a neurosurgeon who specializes in resolving neck injuries. NU-Spine in Edison, NJ offers several neck injury treatment options. Don’t suffer when relief is just a phone call away. Call now to schedule an appointment.
How Do Neck Injuries Occur?
Neck injuries can involve mild neck pain or more severe pain from sprains and other soft tissue damage. For example, you may get a whiplash injury when you’re hit from behind while driving. The impact of the crash jerks your head backward and then forward, which damages the soft tissues in your neck.
You can also suffer a sports-related neck injury. The trauma from such hits can cause the neck muscles and surrounding tissues to get damaged. Sometimes, it can even affect your upper spine, causing cervical spinal cord injury. Other conditions that can arise from your injury include:
- Myelopathy or a compression injury in your cervical spine
- Radiculopathy or a compressed nerve in your neck
- A herniated disc in your neck
- A slipped, prolapsed or bulging disc
- Pars defect, also known as a stress fracture
To get the best care, you need an accurate diagnosis and targeted treatment. Consult an expert spine specialist like Dr. Branko Skovrlj from spine care center NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute in Edison, NJ. A renowned neurosurgeon specializing in spine injuries and diseases, Dr. Skovrlj gets you the treatment you need to get back to your active lifestyle.
Are All Neck Injuries Serious?
All neck injuries are serious if the impact from the trauma was strong enough. You may have sustained internal damage to your neck and shoulder area, even if it doesn’t cause you pain right away. It’s even possible for you to have damaged your lower back or mid-back from a neck injury.
Certain co-occurring conditions — such as cancer, meningitis, osteoporosis, spondylosis and other forms of arthritis — also put you at risk. If you feel back pain or lower back pain too, your neurosurgeon is your best bet to find the right diagnosis for your neck injury, which means he can deliver the most appropriate treatment. Some of the spinal conditions you may have at the time of your injury include:
- Cervical stenosis or lumbar stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease in your neck or lower back
- Degenerative joint disease in your cervical spine or in your lumbar spine
- Facet syndrome
- A lower back sprain
What Are the Symptoms for a Neck Injury?
When you first injure your neck, you might not fully comprehend exactly what happened. If the injury is minor, you may just feel a dull aching pain at the back of your neck. If you sustained a sprain, then the pain starts gradually over the course of a day or two. Since neck injuries can be serious, the sooner you find medical help, the faster and easier your treatment will be.
Other symptoms that show up after you’ve fractured or sprained your neck include:
- Extreme neck pain — and sometimes even back pain
- Tingling or numbness in your arms and hands — and sometimes in your feet and toes as well
- Partial or complete loss of control over parts of your body, if the fracture was severe
- Muscle spasms and extreme upper shoulder pain
- Headaches in the back of the head
- Difficulty balancing yourself
- Clumsiness when walking
- Increased irritability and dizziness
- Difficulty sleeping and concentrating on things
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in your ears
What Are the Best Neck Injury Treatment Options?
Examining your injured neck is the first step for your spine specialist in Edison, New Jersey. He may discover new bumps, bruising or pain spots. Your range of motion reveals the extent of the injury, as well. Further testing may be required to determine exactly where the injury has occurred. Imaging tests include an MRI, CT scan or x-rays.
Neck injuries take time to heal. A fracture, for example, may take anywhere from six weeks to three months to completely heal, depending on the severity. For sprains and milder injuries, your neurosurgeon often recommends some non-surgical treatment options, such as:
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- Hot or cold packs, used alternately for 20 minutes at a time
- Physical therapy, especially cervical traction exercises
- Wearing a foam collar to keep your neck stable while it heals
- Muscle relaxers, especially during your downtime
- Steroid injections for severe pain
When your neck injury involves damage to your spine or intervertebral discs, conservative neck injury treatments rarely deliver consistent pain relief over the long term. You may need to undergo a minimally invasive surgical procedure, such as:
- A cervical disc replacement
- An endoscopic posterior foraminotomy and/or discectomy
- A discectomy or microdiscectomy
- A spinal fusion or one of the advanced types of fusion, including a TLIF or XLIF
- A laminectomy or minimally invasive laminectomy
- A corpectomy
Fortunately, Dr. Skovrlj is an expert in the most cutting-edge neck injury treatments. He selects the one that’s most appropriate for your condition and explains the whole process to you before he does anything. If you’ve suffered a neck injury, even you don’t feel any pain yet, contact NU-Spine to get it checked out.Page Updated on Nov 21, 2021 by Dr. Branko Skovrlj (Neurosurgeon / Spine surgeon) of NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute in New Jersey