NECK BREAKS AND FRACTURES
Medical City Children’s Orthopedic and Spine Specialists, have the experience and expertise to diagnose and treat complex neck conditions in children.
The seven bones in the neck make up the cervical vertebrae. They support the head and connect it to the shoulders and body. A fracture, or break, in one of the cervical vertebrae, must be examined by a pediatric orthopedic physician who understands how to best treat a growing child with neck pain and this condition.
Neck Breaks and Fractures
The neck, also known as the cervical spine, refers to a crucial part of the human body, supporting the head. The neck allows for movement, and protects the delicate spinal cord. Neck fractures and breaks, though relatively less common than other types of fractures, can have serious consequences. In this comprehensive article, we will explore neck breaks and fractures. We will cover definitions, causes, symptoms, treatments, rehabilitation, and why parents should choose Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists.
A neck fracture or break refers to a disruption or break in the bones that make up the cervical spine. These bones are called vertebrae, and any injury to them can have significant implications due to the spine’s role in supporting the head and facilitating essential functions like swallowing and breathing.
Neck fractures can occur due to various causes, each presenting unique challenges and risks. Common causes include:
- Trauma: Traumatic injuries provide the leading cause of neck fractures. This can result from car accidents, falls, sports-related injuries, or other high-impact incidents. The force applied to the neck can lead to fractures of the cervical vertebrae.
- Osteoporosis: Weakened bones due to conditions like juvenile osteoporosis can make the neck more susceptible to fractures, even with minimal force. In this case, fractures are often considered fragility fractures.
- Pathological Conditions: Diseases like cancer, which can weaken the bone structure, may lead to pathological fractures in the neck.
- Medical Procedures: In rare cases, medical procedures involving the neck or cervical spine can inadvertently cause fractures.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What constitutes a fractured neck, and how does it happen?
A fractured neck, also known as a cervical spine fracture, identifies a break or injury to the bones in the neck region. In addition, the cervical spine consists of seven vertebrae, labeled C1 to C7. Moreover, a fracture can occur due to various traumatic events, such as car accidents, falls, sports injuries, or other high-impact incidents that exert force on the neck. Incidentally, children get cervical spine fractures, especially when participating in activities with the potential for head or neck trauma.
What are the symptoms and signs of a fractured neck in a child?
The symptoms of a fractured neck can vary depending on the severity and location of the injury. Common symptoms and signs include:
- Severe neck pain, often worsened by movement.
- Limited neck mobility or stiffness.
- Numbness or weakness in the arms, legs, or other body parts.
- Radiating pain or tingling sensations.
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing, in severe cases.
- Abnormal head position or alignment. It’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention if parents believe their child suffers from a neck fracture, as early diagnosis and treatment become essential.
How do doctors treat a fractured neck in a child, and what is the prognosis?
- The treatment of a fractured neck depends on the type of fracture, its location, and the overall health of the child. Treatment options may include:
- Immobilization: Less severe fractures can be managed by immobilizing the neck with a brace or collar to allow the bones to heal naturally with limited movement.
- Surgery: Severe fractures, especially those causing spinal cord compression, may require surgical intervention to stabilize the vertebrae using hardware like plates, screws, or rods.
- Medications: Pain management is a crucial part of treatment, and children may be prescribed pain medications.
- Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation is essential for recovery, focusing on regaining mobility, strength, and function. In addition, doctors recommend physical and occupational therapy to assist in the rehabilitation process.
- Monitoring: Children with neck fractures require close monitoring and regular follow-up with healthcare providers to ensure the healing process is progressing as expected. The prognosis for a child with a fractured neck depends on the type and location of the fracture, the severity of the spinal cord injury, and the timeliness of treatment. In many cases, with prompt and appropriate medical care, children can recover and lead healthy lives. However, the outcome can vary widely, and some severe fractures may lead to long-term consequences, including paralysis, which is why early intervention and expert medical care are critical.
The doctors at Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists have studied children’s necks to include the injuries they get. Our team knows how to treat broken necks. Call us for an appointment.
The symptoms of a neck fracture can vary depending on the location and severity of the injury. Common symptoms include:
- Neck Pain: Pain at the site of the injury. The severity of pain may range from mild to severe.
- Restricted Movement: Limited range of motion in the neck due to pain or structural damage.
- Numbness or Weakness: Numbness or weakness in the arms, legs, or other body parts can result from nerve compression or damage.
- Tingling or Radiating Pain: Radiating pain or tingling sensations may occur if the spinal cord or nerves become affected.
- Difficulty Breathing or Swallowing: Severe neck fractures may impact the ability to breathe or swallow due to pressure on the airway or the esophagus.
- Abnormal Head Position: In some cases, a noticeable change in head position may be observed as a result of the fracture.
It’s essential to recognize these symptoms promptly and seek medical attention as neck fractures can have severe complications, including paralysis if the spinal cord becomes damaged.
The treatment of a neck fracture depends on the type of fracture, its location, and the overall health of the patient. Common treatment approaches include:
- Immobilization: In less severe cases, the neck may be immobilized using a brace or collar. This allows the fracture to heal naturally with limited movement.
- Surgery: In cases of severe fractures, surgery may be required to stabilize the bones. This often involves the use of hardware such as plates, screws, or rods to secure the fractured vertebrae. Surgery becomes necessary when there the spinal cord becomes compressed, as decompression may be required to relieve pressure.
- Medications: Pain management becomes essential, and doctors may prescribe pain medications as part of their treatment plan.
- Rehabilitation: A broken neck requires rehabilitation because it plays an important part in recovery. Rehabilitation focuses on restoring range of motion, strength, and function. Moreover, physical therapy and occupational therapy may be recommended.
- Monitoring: Patients with neck fractures require regular monitoring and follow-up with healthcare providers to ensure the healing process progresses as expected.
Recovery from a neck fracture can last a long time, often requiring ongoing medical care and rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation plays a significant role in the recovery process following a neck fracture. Its goals include restoring mobility, strength, and functionality while reducing pain and preventing long-term complications. The rehabilitation process typically involves the following:
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapists work with patients to improve neck mobility, strengthen muscles, and enhance overall physical function. They may use various techniques, exercises, and manual therapies to achieve these goals.
- Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapists help patients regain the ability to perform daily activities, such as dressing, grooming, and eating. They provide strategies and adaptive devices to make these tasks easier.
- Pain Management: Managing pain provides a crucial part in rehabilitation. This may involve medications, but therapists may also use techniques like ice or heat therapy, massage, and other modalities to alleviate pain.
- Assistive Devices: Depending on the severity of the fracture, patients may require assistive devices such as braces or neck collars to support and protect the healing neck.
- Education: Patients and their families will become educated on proper body mechanics and safe movements to prevent further injury or strain.
- Gradual Progression: Rehabilitation works slowly, and the intensity of exercises and therapies will increase as the patient’s condition improves.
Rehabilitation can be a long-term process, and its duration varies depending on the patient’s age, overall health, the type of fracture, and the treatment received. Our doctors believe that patients and their families should work closely with the healthcare team to ensure the best possible outcome.
Why Choose Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists
When it comes to the treatment of pediatric neck fractures and spine-related conditions, choosing the right healthcare provider is crucial. Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists offer several compelling reasons why parents should take their child to one of their specialists:
- Specialized Pediatric Care: Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists focus on providing specialized care for children and adolescents. Their doctors understand the unique needs and challenges of young patients, ensuring that treatments are tailored to their developmental stages and specific conditions.
- Experienced Specialists: The team at Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists comprises experienced pediatric orthopedic and spine specialists. These experts have the knowledge and skills required to diagnose and treat neck fractures.
- Comprehensive Care: Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists offer comprehensive care, from accurate diagnosis to advanced surgical techniques and rehabilitation.
- State-of-the-Art Facilities: The facility maintains state-of-the-art technology and equipment, allowing for precise and effective treatment.
- Pediatric-Friendly Environment: The doctors at Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists create a warm and welcoming environment for young patients.
- Collaborative Approach: The team collaborates closely with other pediatric specialists when needed, ensuring that a child’s overall health and well-being gets addressed comprehensively.
- Rehabilitation Services: In addition to medical treatment, Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists offer comprehensive rehabilitation services. This includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, and pain management, all tailored to children’s unique needs.
- Family-Centered Care: Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists prioritize family-centered care, involving parents and caregivers in the treatment and rehabilitation process.
- Research and Innovation: The doctors conduct research and the development of innovative treatment approaches for pediatric orthopedic and spine conditions.
- Offices: For your convenience, we have offices in Arlington, Dallas, Flower Mound, Frisco, and McKinney, TX.
In summary, neck fractures and related musculoskeletal conditions in children require specialized care and attention. Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists offer a combination of expertise, specialized care, and state-of-the-art facilities. Our family-centered approach provides a compelling choice for parents seeking the best care for their children.
In conclusion, neck fractures and fractures of the cervical spine can have serious consequences. Thus, understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options separates our practice from others. Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists stand out as a dedicated and comprehensive center for pediatric musculoskeletal care. Finally, this makes them a strong choice for parents seeking specialized and high-quality treatment for their child’s neck fracture.
Call 214-556-0590 to make an appointment.
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