Neck Injury

Even minor neck injuries can cause a surprising amount of pain. If you’ve ever slept in an awkward position, you know how stiff and painful your neck can feel afterward.

The good news is, many common neck injuries can be treated with home remedies like heat and ibuprofen. But when neck pain lingers, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as arm weakness or hand numbness, you should see your doctor. He or she will want to make sure your injury is healing properly, and rule out more serious conditions including whiplash or a herniated cervical disc.

Understanding Your Neck

Your neck is a small but significant part of your body. It contains seven bones (cervical vertebrae) that connect your head and upper back. Your neck also contains muscles, nerves and connective tissues (ligaments and tendons).

Together these structures support the weight of your head, and allow you to bend and turn your neck. They also protect your spinal cord.

If any part of your neck is injured, you may have pain and stiffness in your neck. You may also feel pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in other parts of your body, including your head, back, arms and legs.

Types of Neck Injuries

Many neck injuries are caused by improper use or overuse. You might pull a muscle while lifting weights, or develop a “kink” after sitting at your computer in a hunched position.

Other, more serious neck injuries are often caused by traumatic events. These include car accidents, falls or high-impact sports injuries.

Neck injuries usually fall into one of the following categories, ranging from mild to life-threatening:

Treatment for Neck Injuries at Mercy

If neck pain makes it hard to get out of bed or get through the day, you can rely on Mercy for pain relief and healing. Your treatment plan will depend on several factors, including the type and severity of your injury. It may include:

  • Medications that relieve pain or prevent muscle spasms.
  • Cortisone injections to reduce inflammation.
  • A soft or hard neck collar.
  • Orthopedic rehabilitation to stretch and strengthen your neck muscles, and improve flexibility and posture.
  • Surgery to repair broken vertebrae, fix a ruptured cervical disc or relieve pressure on compressed nerves.

Whether you receive care in one of Mercy’s emergency rooms or from one of our orthopedic specialists or neurosurgeons, you’ll find the care and support you need to overcome your injury. We’ll help reduce your pain and restore range of motion – until you feel good as new.

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