A broken neck is any fracture to one or more of the vertebrae in the neck, technically called a “cervical fracture.” Although a popular myth is that all broken necks are fatal, the truth is that many people survive these injuries. However, the outlook for recovery depends on many factors, and some people are permanently disabled.
Why is a Broken Neck Dangerous?
Seven vertebrae protect the spinal cord in the neck, which runs through the middle of each. These seven vertebrae in the neck are called cervical vertebrae, and any damage to them could potentially damage the spinal cord. Because the cord sends signals to the rest of the body, any bruising, tearing, nicking or shredding could lead to permanent paralysis.
Consider a situation where a cervical vertebra shatters due to a traumatic impact. The bone fragments could shred the spinal cord, causing severe problems that surgery and rehabilitation might only partially correct.
In addition to fractures, vertebrae can be displaced by trauma, or the facet joints could be injured. These injuries are also quite painful and warrant immediate medical attention.
How Do You Diagnose a Broken Neck?
Not all neck pain is a sign that you have suffered a cervical fracture. Instead, you might have bruised or stretched muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Though painful, these soft-tissue injuries should eventually heal if given enough rest. They also do not threaten the life of the victim.
To check to see if you have a cervical fracture, a doctor can order imaging tests, like X-rays, that allow the doctor to see the bone in detail. Any fracture should show up. A doctor might also order a CT scan or MRI.
How Do Doctors Treat a Broken Neck?
Typically, the neck is immobilized using a neck brace, which helps broken bones and damaged soft tissues heal. If the cervical vertebrae have suffered only hairline fractures, then a patient might be given painkillers and told to wait until the bone heals. If there are bone fragments, then surgery might be required to implant plates and screws to keep the bone fragments in position before they fuse.
Contact our law firm today to discuss your case. Broken necks can cost patients many thousands of dollars as they are immobilized due to pain and cannot work. Our personal injury lawyers will calculate your financial losses and seek compensation for your pain and suffering.
Call Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP today at 305-371-2692.