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Neck Injuries

Neck Injuries

Because it is less protected than the rest of the spine, the neck can be vulnerable to injury and disorders that produce pain and restrict motion. Auto accidents might result in neck injury, especially “rear end” auto accidents, which can result in hyperextension. The most common neck injuries involve the soft tissues: the muscles and ligaments. Severe neck injuries with a fracture or dislocation of the neck may damage the spinal cord and cause paralysis.

Any injury to the vertebrae can have serious consequences because the spinal cord, the central nervous system’s connection between the brain and the body, runs through the center of the vertebrae. Damage to the spinal cord can result in paralysis or death. Injury to the spinal cord at the level of the cervical spine can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis of the entire body from the neck down.

The most common injury — whiplash — occurs in the soft tissue. It is usually caused by the sudden extension and flexion of the neck. In addition to neck pain, other symptoms might include neck stiffness, injuries to the muscles and ligaments, headache, dizziness, abnormal sensations such as burning or prickling, or shoulder or back pain. In addition, some people experience cognitive, somatic, or psychological conditions  such as memory loss, concentration impairment, nervousness/irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue, or depression.