Neck injuries are caused by any type of trauma to the neck — the vertebrae, spinal cord, nerves, spinal discs, ligaments, muscles, blood vessels, and tendons. Other areas that can be damaged during a neck injury are the esophagus and windpipe.
Severe neck injuries can be life threatening or lead to paralysis. If you suspect a severe neck injury, call 9-1-1 for emergency medical care. Dignity Health is dedicated to providing the latest diagnostic imaging and advanced medical treatment for neck injuries in Arizona.
Neck Injury Symptoms
While some symptoms of neck injury are noticeable right away, others may develop gradually.
Symptoms can include:
- Bleeding and bruising
- Difficulty with full range of motion
- Tingling and numbness that can spread to arms and shoulders
- Pain, which may worse with movement
- Sleep problems
- Sore throat
- Weakness, fatigue, or difficulty concentrating
You should call 9-1-1 for:
- Difficulty breathing
- Paralysis (loss of movement)
- Swelling or deformity
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Severe headache or bleeding
- Unconsciousness or unresponsiveness, even briefly
If you need to go to the ER, use our InQuicker™ online tool by selecting your estimated hospital arrival time and waiting at home until your time to be seen. Upon arrival and check-in, you will see a nurse who will assess your situation and determine the next appropriate level of care.
Neck Injury Causes
The primary cause of a neck injury is blunt force trauma. This can happen from a fall, diving into shallow water, a motor vehicle accident, an accident at work, a sports injury, or a physical assault.
Neck Injury Treatment at Dignity Health
Treatment for a neck injury depends on the type and extent of the damage. Doctors at Dignity Health rely on noninvasive therapies and minimally invasive procedures to help restore proper function and mobility to the neck and spinal cord.
If you suspect a neck injury, call 9-1-1 and follow these steps until help arrives:
- Do not move the person unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Do not remove a helmet.
- Do not try to straighten the neck.
- Do not pick up a child. Keep them still and hold their head in the position that you found it.
- Apply direct pressure to a bleeding wound, but do not change the position of the neck.
- Do not attempt to remove any object lodged in the wound or head.
- Monitor the person’s breathing and pulse. Start CPR (c)ardiopulmonary resuscitation if necessary and continue until help arrives.
The best way to prevent a neck injury is to wear a seatbelt, avoid diving into shallow or unknown water, and do not lead with your head while playing sports. Emergency room doctors work closely with orthopedic specialists and neurosurgeons at Dignity Health to provide excellent care for all types of neck injuries in Arizona.