WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- A cervical fracture is a break in 1 or more of the 7 cervical vertebrae (bones) in your neck. Cervical vertebrae support your head and allow your neck to bend and twist. The vertebrae enclose and protect the spinal cord, which controls your ability to move. Cervical fractures can happen after injuring the neck in motor vehicle accidents, falls, diving, and contact sports. Because a cervical fracture can also harm the spinal cord, it can be a very serious injury.
- Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or spine specialist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
A physical therapist and an occupational therapist may exercise your arms, legs, and hands. They may also teach you new ways to do things around the house. A speech therapist may work with you to help you talk or swallow.
Skin breakdown can lead to deep wounds caused by pressure or pulling on your skin. Check your chin, ears, back of your head, and shoulders for redness or sores if you are wearing a neck brace.
Contact your primary healthcare provider or spine specialist if:
- You have a fever.
- You see a skin rash, redness, or sores under your brace.
- Your neck pain is not getting better even with treatment.
- You have questions or concerns about your cervical fracture, medicine, or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have a sudden, severe headache with nausea and vomiting.
- You are seeing double or cannot see out of 1 eye.
- You cannot stay awake.
- You feel new weakness or numbness in your hands or fingers.
- You are short of breath.
- You cannot feel or move your arms or legs.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.