Cervical spine injury, is a term that refers to damage to the small circular bones in the neck, known as vertebrae, which are piled on top of each other. Between every vertebra is a spongy disc that cushions the spine and allows it to be flexible.
On the vertebrae, muscles and ligaments are found between and some are attached to it. These muscles and ligaments work together to move the spine as you move. Then there are nerves from the spinal cord passing to the vertebra and branching out to the neck, arms, shoulders and the chest.
Cervical Spine Injury and Neck Pain
A lot of people experience neck pain at some point in their lives. One of the many causes could involve the cervical spine injury.
Pain in the neck can be felt after an accident. Repeated injuries to the neck can result in the degeneration of the cervical spine leading to chronic neck pain. Usually, the recovery from any neck injuries is based on the condition of the cervical spine.
Other possible causes of neck discomfort can be a lack of exercise or poor posture. In fact, poor posture plays an important role in causing pain in the neck.
Pain in the Neck Area
Having a poor posture puts the head forward causing too much stress on the muscles of the neck and to the shoulders. With this, muscles will contract and can result in discomfort. Even worse, it can lead to cervical spine injury as well.
People who have jobs that entail long hours in one position place a great deal of stress on the cervical spine. This can lead to symptoms such as tight muscles, neck pain and a stiff neck.
When to Seek Help for Cervical Spine Injury
If you are experiencing pain in the neck, when is the right time to schedule for a doctor’s appointment? When is the right time to call for help?
Call your doctor if you think that the pain is sudden or if it gets worse and persist for several weeks. Seek immediate medical care if the pain radiates down to your arms or legs or if you start to experience weakness.
What Will Your Doctor Do?
When you visit a doctor’s clinic, what can you expect? The first thing that doctor’s would do is to take your medical history by asking you questions like: When did the pain started? What activities did you do? What are the remedies that you have done to alleviate the pain? Your medical history will also indicate if you have been on a traumatic situation like a car accident that may result in soft tissue injuries to the neck.
The doctor will then perform physical and neurological exams to determine if there is a limited movement in your neck or cervical spine. Your doctor may evaluate your posture, observing for possible causes of your pain. Neurological exams are done to test the muscles reflexes and strength and to determine if there are any nerve changes or damage.
To assist in obtaining a diagnosis and to determine the cause of the pain, certain imaging tests may be done. The health care practitioner may request an x-ray to further evaluate the condition of your cervical spine injury and to look for any wear and tear in the neck bones or for signs of cervical spine degeneration. They may also perform a computerized axial tomography, also known as CAT scan, or an MRI test to check for any herniated or bulging discs.
Diagnosing a cervical spine injury can be challenging since there are a lot of possible causes of pain in the neck, the symptoms are basically the same. Thus, it might be best to see a spine specialist who will diagnose your problem and help you choose the best treatments.