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Comprehensive Treatment for Emergency Neck Injuries


A neck injury is trauma to any part of the neck. This can include the esophagus and windpipe as well as nerves, blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, muscles, spinal discs, the spinal cord or vertebrae. Neck injuries require medical attention since they can lead to serious or fatal complications, including paralysis

If you or someone you love has a neck injury in the Bay Area, visit a Dignity Health emergency room as soon as possible. We’re here to offer quick and efficient emergency care around the clock at one of our Bay Area hospitals:

What Causes Neck Injuries?

Neck injuries are usually caused by trauma. They can be the result of car accidents, falls, physical assault, diving into shallow water, or accidents at work or during sports or other leisure activities. 

Neck Injury Symptoms

Symptoms of a neck injury vary with the type of injury. Some symptoms may not appear immediately. Symptoms can include:

  • Bleeding or bruising
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Headache
  • Inability to move the neck through its full range of motion
  • Numbness and tingling that can spread to the arms and shoulders
  • Pain, which may worsen with movement
  • Sleep problems
  • Sore throat

Call 9-1-1 for the following symptoms:

  • Breathing problems
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control 
  • Paralysis
  • Severe headache or bleeding
  • Swelling or deformity
  • Unresponsiveness or unconsciousness, even if very brief

Neck Injury Treatment in the Bay Area

When you come to a Dignity Health emergency room with a neck injury, we’ll quickly provide treatment with personal care and make a plan for your recovery — supporting you every step of the way.

Minor injuries usually heal with home management. For severe neck injuries, call 9-1-1 and follow these first aid instructions:

  • Do not move the person unless absolutely necessary. Do not pick up a child. Help the person remain still and hold the head in the position that you found it. 
  • Do not try to straighten the neck.
  • 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 head or wound.
  • Do not remove a helmet.
  • Monitor breathing and pulse. Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if necessary and continue until help arrives.

You can help prevent head injuries by not leading with your head while playing sports, not diving into unknown or shallow water, and using your seat belt.

Dignity Health provides emergency care for trauma, including neck injury, in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.