Back and Neck Injuries

Back and Neck Injuries

Backs and necks most often sustain injuries in the form of strains and sprains. Some people may experience herniated discs or fractured vertebrae. Automobile accidents are common causes of injury, although injuries can also occur following overextension, repetitive motions, or other kinds of accidents.

Back and neck injury Q&A:

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury that occurs when the head and neck are violently snapped back and forth, causing damage to the soft tissues and nerves. While whiplash is most commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents, it also occurs with other types of accidents, including slip-and-fall accidents and sports injuries. Whiplash symptoms often are associated with the compression of nerves in the neck and upper back, resulting in localized pain and tenderness as well as pain, numbness and burning sensations that radiate into the shoulders and arms. Inflammation and bruising of soft tissues can also cause pain as well as prolonged irritation of nerves as they exit the spine in the upper back and neck. In addition to pain and radiating numbness, many patients also develop weakness in the arms and hands, especially when whiplash is not properly and quickly addressed.

How is are injuries and related pain treated?

The most frequently used methods to treat back and neck pain are physical therapy, pain relieving medications, injections, and in severe cases, surgery. Physical therapy helps to restore strength and range of motion. Pain medication, whether OTC or prescription, is taken orally and topical creams and gels can help with muscular pain. When the pain is more severe anti-inflammatories and steroids can be injected directly into the spinal column between the joints. The physician will typically create a tailored treatment plan which will combine several techniques. In addition to manipulations and medication, massage, rehabilitative exercises, and mobilization can assist alleviate pain in the spine. If a fracture is present, or if a disc is ruptured, the doctor will most likely recommend surgery.

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