A broken neck is described as a fracture in one or several of the 7 vertebrae comprising the neck. Many believe that a broken neck is a major injury that results to paralysis. Even though this is spot-on in most of the cases, the degree of injury can actually range from minor to fatal.
Breaks on the neck bones are triggered by falls, trauma, vehicular accidents and sports injuries. Oftentimes, the location and nature of the break is determined by the position of the head at the time of impact as well as the direction of the force that strikes the neck.
Fractured neck from trauma
Serious accidents or other form of trauma can result to a complicated neck fracture that necessitates immediate medical care to prevent further injury and death. An individual with a broken neck should be immobilized and call for emergency assistance right away.
In case of a fracture, relocating the individual can lead to paralysis. Due to this, you should presume that any individual of trauma has a neck injury. An individual who sustained trauma to the neck must stay immobilized until assessed by a doctor.
Broken neck linked to osteoporosis
The elderly especially those who have osteoporosis face a higher risk for a broken neck. It is important to note that a spinal fracture is directly linked to the degree of bone loss in an individual. Since bone affected by the condition is highly fragile, engaging in activities and sustaining minor impacts can trigger the development of tiny breaks known as micro-fractures.
Management for a broken neck
The treatment for a spinal fracture involves the use of a brace called the Halo device. This is comprised of a vest that is linked to a metal ring that is used around the head and connected by screws inserted into the skull. The device stabilizes the bone and allows it to mend.
As for severe cases of neck fractures, surgery is required and can result to incomplete or full paralysis. If surgery is required, the doctor might insert screws or plates into the bones.
Lifestyle changes can prevent neck fractures linked to osteoporosis. The commonly used tactics includes weight-bearing exercises and intake of calcium and vitamin D on a daily basis. Additionally, the doctor might even prescribe bone-building medications.
As for trauma-related cases, it is vital to stay safe such as fastening the seat belt while driving or using a helmet when cycling.