Always bear in mind that the cervical spine is a segment of the spinal column that comprises the neck. It is important to note that a cervical spine fracture is a common injury along with cervical spine dislocations.
The complications from a cervical spine fracture can vary depending on the severity of the damage. The condition can instigate symptoms that range from minor discomfort up to life-threatening complications that requires immediate medical attention.
Discomfort in the neck area
An individual with a minor case of cervical spine fracture can experience discomfort close to the area that is injured. Many individuals claimed of severe neck pain right after sustaining a fracture. The neck can also be warm to the touch that can be accompanied by stiffness of the neck due to the swelling on the site of injury. By enrolling in a class on first aid, you can provide the individual with relief.
Diminished neck motion
It is important to note that the neck is specifically designed to move forward, side to side and backward. Nevertheless, if a cervical spine fracture is sustained, it can reduce the ability of the individual to move his/her neck in one or more directions. An individual with cervical spine fracture will have problems in turning the chin from sideways along with pain and muscle spasms. Additionally, the individual will also have difficulty tilting the head up or down.
The pain after a cervical spine fracture is not always localized particularly if a neighboring nerve is damaged or irritated. The pain can radiate from the neck up to the shoulder and even down to the arm and fingers. The radiating pain triggered by the pressure on the cervical nerve roots can vary in intensity from a dull ache to intense burning sensation.
As for cases of severe cervical spine fracture, it can lead to nerve irritation or damage. Once the nerve that controls the muscles is disrupted, the muscles will feel weaker. In some cases, the muscles can even partially or completely paralyze.
If the cervical spine fracture affects that nerves the leave the spinal cord, the hands or arms can feel weak. Nevertheless, if the fracture involves the nerves in the spinal cord, weakness or paralysis can occur anywhere below the level of injury.
Fractures on the cervical spine that are close to the skull can lead to breathing difficulties. These can disrupt with the neurological breathing control center in the body. After a fracture is sustained, the individual will breath in a shallow manner and experience difficulty controlling his/her breathing.
Fractures on the spine that cause damage to the sensory nerves can change what an individual feels. The sensory problems right after a cervical spine fracture can vary from the sensation of pins and needles or even complete numbness. The affected areas depend on the location of the fracture as well as the severity of the nerve damage sustained. The changes in the sensation can also occur in the arms, shoulder and even down to the legs.