Your neck is a complex structure, not only having to hold and move your head – which is quite heavy! – but also supporting the top of your spine and spinal cord. Although your neck is strong and flexible, it can be vulnerable to injury during certain activities, particularly sports such as football, hockey, and horseback riding.
Your cervical spine is the top of the spinal column, located in the neck. It is composed of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, joints, and bones called vertebrae which run all the way down your spine. In between each set of two adjacent vertebrae in the spine are cushion-like discs, which act as shock absorbers while allowing you to move and bend your neck and back.
If you have suffered a neck injury, or if you have ongoing or severe neck pain, it is important to see an orthopedic doctor for a proper evaluation. This physician will ensure that you receive the most appropriate and effective treatment.
Types of Neck Injury While Playing Sports
Regular sporting activity can cause wear and tear on the neck muscles and ligaments, and certain sports can greatly increase your chance of neck injuries. There are many different injuries that can affect the neck ranging from a mild strain to a serious fracture.
Some of the most common types of neck injuries in sports include the following:
A sprain can occur when one or more ligaments in the neck get stretched or torn. Ligaments are the thick, fibrous tissues that connect two bones together in a joint.
Sprains in the neck can result from a sudden movement or a hard fall, which causes the neck to bend in an extreme and awkward position. Symptoms of a neck sprain can include pain – particularly in the back of the neck, and the pain tends to get worse a day or two after the injury or with movement. Other symptoms include muscle spasms in the upper shoulder, headaches, and neck stiffness.
Whiplash is caused by an abrupt forward-then-backward movement of the head and neck, and it can result from a powerful impact while playing a sport. Most people think of whiplash as connected with car accidents, but it can happen during sports as well.
Neck pain is the initial symptom, which can occur right away or several days following the injury. Other symptoms can include neck stiffness, dizziness, headache, limited range of motion of the neck, and paresthesia (tingling, numbness, burning, or prickling sensations).
A cervical fracture is commonly known as a broken neck. This occurs when one or more of the seven cervical vertebrae bones in the neck get broken.
A broken neck usually results from high-energy trauma, such as a serious fall in gymnastics, football, hockey, or diving. An injury to the vertebrae can have very serious consequences as it can damage the spinal cord, which can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis or even death. It requires immediate treatment by a physician.
Medical Care for Neck Injuries in Greater Cleveland
If you have a neck injury, talk to the medical experts at Orthopaedic Associates. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine doctors have the specialized knowledge to diagnose and treat all types of conditions related to the neck.
If you would like to find out more or schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations in Westlake and Avon, Ohio, call us today at (440) 892-1440 or toll-free at (866) 362-7624. You can also fill out our appointment request form on the right-hand side of the page here. We look forward to serving you!