Injury to the cervical area of the spine leads to the neck being broken resulting in neurological problems which may sometimes lead to death in worst cases.
The most common causes of a neck injury are fall involving the neck, head or back. Vehicle accident which results in whiplash injury is also one of the reasons of broken neck. Sad to reveal but true, these may at certain times become fatal and can even cause death or permanent disability or paralysis.
About The Neck Injury
In many cases injury to the neck cannot be ruled out unless thorough examination is undertaken. So, how do you know that you have a broken bone in neck?
Some of the common symptoms noticed during a broken neck include trauma and disorientation along with tenderness in the neck and back.
Movement of the hands, fingers and feet may also become restricted and the side of body may not respond to touches. Sensation within the fingers and toes will be lost leading in numbness of the limbs.
The top part of our spinal cord is the neck area which consists of 7 bones.
And when severe injury is caused above the 5th cervical bone; acute problem in breathing may arise leading to asphyxiation and ultimately death. In case the injury is below the 5th bone, there is a great possibility of paralysis.
This may also cause a breakdown of the nervous system to various parts of the body including heart and diaphragm which may again lead to death if not immediately attended.
Outcomes of Fractured Neck And Healing Time
Recent studies showed that there is a high morbidity and mortality rate in case of a broken bone in neck so it is recommended that treatment should start immediately on detecting the fracture.
Immediate treatment for a broken neck includes making the patient lie still without trying to make any movement. The head should be gently supported by both hands till an emergency team arrives.
In case of acute emergency, the patient should be dragged along the ground by placing a blanket under the body and pulling it to the emergency. In case no blanket is available, the patient should be gently held by the shoulders and gently pulled by the forearms.
Thorough examination through X rays and scans should be made immediately to diagnose the nature and severity of the broken bone in neck, after which proper approach should be taken for treatment.
Immediate surgery may be needed or a long term care may be advised. But it should be remembered that there are fewer chances of regaining total mobility unless the fracture is minor.
In case where surgery is done within 24 hours, mobility of the patient is regained within 12 to 18 hours after surgery. For early recovery, therapies are carried out on weekends or as advised by the doctor in consultation with an orthogeriatrician.
Also Read: Halo for Broken Neck: How It Can Help You?
5 Tips To Help You Prevent Neck Fracture
These days it is very common to get injured due to different events occurring in our daily lives. There may be fractures, wounds, bone damages, joint aches, etc that are very painful and can take time to heal. Neck fracture or broken neck is a major injury and requires good treatment and lot of care.
But as it is said “prevention is better than cure” we can always take proper steps by which we can prevent the injuries from being happening. In order to prevent yourself from going through all the pain of neck fracture, it is best to take preventive measures and keep yourself safe from getting injured. Let us find here the best ways to prevent such injuries:
- Prevent Falls – Falls are the main cause of getting injured, in youngsters as well as the aged. Making some simple changes in your lifestyle will help you prevent from falling often. Certain exercises like yoga and aerobics can help enhance your body balance and strength, thus keeping your body in complete control.
- Develop your Bone Density – Our osteoporotic is usually very fragile and can be easily injured. That is why, according to experts, osteoporosis increases the risk of cervical vertebrae micro-fractures. It is therefore best to strengthen your bone mineral density by taking proper calcium and vitamin D supplements and going for strength training. It is advised to take 800 IU of Vitamin D combined with 1200 mg of calcium every day to lower the risk of getting fractures from falling.
- Strengthen your Muscles – As we age, there will be lot of changes in the spine (degenerative) that increase risks of getting fractures in the neck and shoulder areas. Prevent your body from such injuries by practicing Pilates, yoga or therapeutic exercises for the back. This will help you build flexible, strong neck shoulder and back muscles of your body.
- Safety on Road – When riding a bike or cycle or even playing sports, make sure that you wear a helmet for safety. Helmets can protect you by absorbing shock from a heavy blow to your head and prevent you from severe brain injuries and spinal fractures. Also make sure that you and your loved ones wear seat belts while driving because a car accident can cause severe injuries to your neck and back bones.
- Don’t Use Your Head for Blocking or Hitting – When playing football or other sport, try not to use your head to block or hit because doing so can put a heavy force on your neck and cause severe injuries to the neck. It can even be fatal so it is best to avoid this technique.
Some of you might feel that it is not necessary to take so many precautions and instead, live carefree. Wearing a helmet, taking supplements and being careful with every step are too difficult and irritating for some people.
But if you do not take preventive measures, it can lead to severe damages and you may not be able to bring things back to normal sometimes. So it is always better to do everything possible from your end to stay safe and avoid injuries in your life.
These are just 5 out of many tips that must be followed in order to stay safe and prevent yourself from neck fractures and other bone damages. The 5 tips listed above are all highly helpful for preventing neck fractures so make sure that you make a note of them and incorporate the practices in your day to day lives. Be healthy and stay safe!
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