Where can you learn more? Top of the page. Your Care Instructions A broken neck can range from a small, hairline crack, to a bone or bones breaking into two or more pieces.
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How can you care for yourself at home? If you were fitted for a neck brace, wear it exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take it off until your doctor tells you to. Take pain medicines exactly as directed. If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed. If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
Follow your doctor's directions for returning to your normal activities. Do any exercises that you are given to keep your muscles strong and reduce stiffness. You can try using heat or ice to see if it helps.
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Try using a heating pad on a low or medium setting for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours. Try a warm shower in place of one session with the heating pad. You can also buy single-use heat wraps that last up to 8 hours. You can also try an ice pack for 10 to 15 minutes every 2 to 3 hours.
Make sure that paths in your home are clear so that you do not fall. Depending on the level of damage to your spinal cord, it can also affect other parts of your body, such as a difficulty or inability to move your arms and legs.
Paralysis may be temporary or permanent. The causes of a broken neck are usually some sort of trauma, such as a fall or car accident. Very rarely does a stress fracture — a break caused by a constant or repeated stress — occur in the neck. A broken neck can be diagnosed following an X-ray. Neck breaks are very high up on the spinal cord, but if the break also damages your spinal cord, it can affect your entire lower body — everything below the site of the break.
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Spinal cord injuries resulting from a neck break can be diagnosed by:. More complicated breaks can require surgery and other treatments such as a stiff neck brace for up to three months.
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With breaks that also damage the spinal cord, recovery may not be possible. The bone may heal, but the nerves in the spinal cord can be permanently damaged and cause lasting effects such as paralysis. Broken necks may be simple breaks that can heal within just a few weeks, or they can be life-altering injuries. Because of this, all neck breaks should be treated as medical emergencies. A hangman's fracture is a serious, but treatable injury.
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Always see a doctor if you have neck pain following an injury. Bone fracture repair is a surgery to fix a broken bone using metal screws, pins, rods, or plates to hold the bone in place. This created a blood clot that triggered a stroke, causing paralysis on her left side, according to Unilad. When a person cracks their neck, back or fingers , the sound is caused by the "popping" of nitrogen bubbles inside capsules that protect the joints, or by ligaments as they stretch and snap back into place, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine JHM.
Broken Neck: Care Instructions
In most cases this is harmless, but if joint popping is followed by pain or swelling, it could indicate an injury and may require medical attention, JHM said. In general, neck cracking and aggressive manipulation of the neck vertebrae should be avoided, because they can cause ruptures in the walls of critical blood vessels that supply blood to the brain, Dr.
Strokes can cause weakness and loss of sensation in the extremities and may even lead to paralysis in extreme cases, he added.