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Neck Injury

Cervical SpineIncurring a neck injury can potentially be incapacitating, with possible severe consequences that may include paralysis or even fatality. Given the gravity of all neck injuries, it is crucial not to dismiss any discomfort originating from this area. While pain in the neck muscles or other soft tissue of this area could be a mere muscle strain, it might also indicate a more severe injury. Some neck injuries will not even immediately cause pain.

If you’ve experienced an injury to the head and neck, immediate attention is vitally important for prompt assessment, diagnosis, and treatment, including physical therapy. Reach out to Pro Spine & Pain at any of our five locations in Wisconsin. In the event of any neck injury, seeking the expertise of top pain management specialists is essential for optimal care.

Importance of Treatments for Neck Pain

The importance of your neck becomes apparent when you consider that without it, many routine activities would become impossible. Serving as the structural support for your head, brain, and the top of your spinal cord, the neck plays a critical role in maintaining your mobility and overall health. A neck injury has the potential to change your life and your future.

Your neck is a complex network comprising the cervical spine—which includes the C1 through C7 vertebrae—as well as various muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, crucial blood vessels, and essential structures like the esophagus and trachea. It’s worth noting that a fracture here can lead to lifelong paralysis. At Pro Spine & Pain, your physician addresses the root cause of your neck pain and ensures that your injury doesn’t impede your recovery. Contact us now for more information and learn about effective treatments for neck pain.

Common Causes of Neck Injury

The primary trigger for neck injuries is often trauma, involving impacts that result in damage to the soft tissue or bones. This effect is often the type you would see as a result of a fall or car accident. However, these injuries can also stem from medical conditions affecting the structure of bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, such as arthritis, cancer, bone spurs, or infection. Additionally, neck injuries may arise from less severe incidents like strains, sprains, and spasms, often linked to factors like poor posture, an unresolved stiff neck, overuse, improper movement, or routine wear and tear. Find out more about muscle spasms in the neck.

In some cases, an underlying disease originating elsewhere in the body can lead to a neck injury. This scenario may manifest within the spine, affecting the vertebrae or the robust muscles responsible for supporting and enabling head movement. Conditions contributing to such injuries include osteoarthritis, meningitis, disc problems like herniated discs, acute trauma or spinal cord injuries, tumors, and bone defects.

Types of Pain from Neck Injuries

A pain management specialist in Wisconsin will classify neck injuries based on the onset, duration, and intensity of pain. Keep in mind that neck injuries can exhibit a delayed reaction, so you may not be experiencing pain or other symptoms of neck injury until some time after the fact.

There are three distinct categories of pain from neck injuries:

  1. Acute: Pain occurring within four weeks of the injury is classified as acute.
  2. Subacute: Pain that develops and worsens between four to 12 weeks falls into the subacute category.
  3. Chronic: Pain persisting for more than three months is known as chronic.

This classification serves as a valuable tool for your doctor or physical therapist to swiftly diagnose your condition. In cases of acute neck injuries, the pain typically resolves in a short period, depending on the injury’s severity. On the other hand, an injury with a prolonged development period may indicate underlying issues such as a spinal cord injury or a tumor, so it’s essential to seek medical advice promptly to get a full examination and diagnosis. Early detection is important for effective treatment.

Symptoms of Neck Injury

Pain is a common symptom accompanying any injury, and the type and intensity are key in guiding your doctor toward a specific diagnosis. Abrupt and intense pain likely stems from different causes than gradual, dull, or persistent aches. Additional symptoms associated with neck injuries can provide insights into the pain’s location and origin.

These supplementary symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pinched nerves
  • Numbness, weakness, or tingling in the neck or limbs
  • Difficulty gripping objects with your hands or lifting items with your arms
  • Reduced range of motion in your shoulder

In certain cases, especially following trauma, specific symptoms may warrant immediate medical attention. Symptoms such as difficulty breathing, vomiting, tingling, loss of consciousness, or issues with bladder and bowel control indicate the need for emergency care.

Treatment for Neck Injuries

Immediate intervention or first aid measures is crucial for neck injury treatment, particularly in addressing acute, traumatic neck injuries. If professional medical assistance is unavailable, it is imperative to reach the nearest hospital promptly. Initial treatment for acute trauma focuses on stabilizing your condition to prevent further harm during subsequent treatment and care.

For non-acute trauma, minor neck injuries, if you strain your neck, or have other related medical conditions, the course of neck injury treatment varies based on the underlying cause. Muscle, tendon, or ligament injuries diagnosed by your pain management doctor can often be managed at home with a heating pad and pain relief, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, in the case of broken or fractured bones, attempting at-home remedies is not advisable, and proper medical attention is essential, requiring a dedicated and careful approach.

In Wisconsin, esteemed doctors adeptly address diverse issues leading to neck injuries. Regardless of the cause, rest assured that pain management specialists are committed to facilitating your return to an active lifestyle. For optimal care of neck injuries, reach out to Pro Spine & Pain today.

Updated on Apr 12, 2024 by Dr. Thomas Stauss (Pain Management) of Pro Spine & Pain

Thomas Stauss, MD

Thomas Stauss, MD, completed both his undergraduate and medical studies at the esteemed University of Wisconsin in Madison. Dr. Stauss values having access to a wide array of cutting-edge treatment options, ensuring effective relief for his patients' discomfort and a significant enhancement in their quality of life. More specifically, he specializes in utilizing implanted devices to manage chronic pain. Dr. Stauss’s primary objective is to uphold the dignity of each patient while delivering ethical and professional services.

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