Neck & Back Injuries
Do you have a neck or back injury? Find out what your symptoms mean—in a few painless clicks.
What is a Neck or Back Injury?
Injuries to the neck and back can occur during activities such as sports, exercise, or vehicular accidents. You may not notice the injury at the time of the incident, yet find yourself complaining of neck or back pain weeks or even months later. Injuries range in severity and can occur in children, teenagers, or adults. If you are concerned about a neck or back injury, you should seek prompt diagnosis from a qualified physician as soon as you can. Waiting can increase the pain and recovery time that is required—especially if any bones are broken and set improperly.
Pain in the back and neck can be caused by damage to soft tissues, muscles, nerves, cartilage, or bone. Injuries can be minor, but positioned in such a way that nerves are pinched or pain radiates outward. An injury can also cause numbness, stiffness, or swollen tissues. Only through a proper examination, MRI review, and/or X-ray can your doctor diagnose the problem and offer options for treatment.
Neck or Back Injuries in Children
Since children are growing, injuries to the back and neck can cause problems now and as they grow. If your child is injured, don’t wait. Take them immediately to a doctor for an assessment of the damage.
Neck or Back Injuries in Adults
Beyond sports injuries, adults frequently sustain neck and back injuries that are caused by their jobs. Some injuries are caused by accidents on physical labor jobs such as construction, while others are caused by repetitive motions or staying in one position for too long. Workers who crouch over a desk typing on a computer all day can strain or injure their neck or back muscles. It is also common to injure your neck or back completing chores around the house, especially if you are not used to moving or lifting in that manner regularly. Falling from a ladder or a rooftop is another common way in which adults can suffer injuries, including broken bones or spinal cord trauma.
These injuries should not be ignored. Quick diagnosis can reduce pain and result in a fast recovery. Waiting can aggravate the injured area, resulting in the need for more extensive treatment. For a thorough diagnosis of your neck or back condition, contact NYC Spine today at (212) 506-0240. Our team of spine experts has been Redefining Relief from spinal injuries for over 20 years—and counting!
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What are the Symptoms of Neck & Back Injuries?
Neck and back injuries can vary extensively in the degree of damage that is sustained to spinal tissues, including muscles, bones, or nerves. Depending upon the severity of your injury, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Acute Pain: Acute or sharp pain with neck or back injuries is usually caused by bruising to the muscles surrounding the area of impact or strain. If the sharp pain doesn’t lessen within 2 or 3 days, you should seek a doctor’s diagnosis to ensure that more severe damage did not occur. As long as the pain lessens in 2 to 3 days, and is gone within a couple of weeks, your injury is healing. However, if the same pain returns later, check with your doctor to see if the damage is more serious.
- Dull Neck or Back Pain & Stiffness: Aches and pains can occur from activity, osteoarthritis, tension, or remaining in one position for a long time. For minor aches and pains, analgesics, massage, and stretching can alleviate the pain. Resting affected areas will also help.
- Swelling: Swelling that is due to an evident injury or bruising that doesn’t significantly impact range of motion will usually heal with time and rest. However, if you notice swelling that doesn’t come from an acute injury, or swelling that lasts more than 2 to 3 days, it may be caused by infection, deep tissue injury, tumor, fracture, or disc injury.
- Chronic Upper or Lower Back Pain: Chronic pain, pain that lasts more than 1 to 2 weeks, or reoccurring, episodic pain should not be ignored. These can be the signs of a more serious condition or injury.
Concerned that your symptoms suggest the long-term effects of a neck or back injury? Our board certified, Harvard-trained spine surgeon, Dr. Daveed Frazier, has over 20 years of surgical experience in resolving spinal injuries with minimally invasive techniques!
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What are the Treatments for Neck & Back Injuries?
Surgery is used to treat neck or back injuries when the trauma is more severe, or if other pain management techniques are no longer providing adequate relief. Surgery can help reduce chronic pain from older injuries or the acute pain from an injury that is deemed to be a medical emergency. The surgical intervention that is chosen will vary depending upon your medical needs and the extent of spinal damage. Common corrective measures for neck or back injuries may include:
- Vertebral Augmentation (Kyphoplasty or Vertebroplasty): A vertebral augmentation procedure is a class of surgical intervention that involves repairing a shattered vertebra through the injection of a durable, fast-drying cement. The cement is injected with a needle, removing the need for a surgical incision. Because little damage is exacted to the strong muscles of the back or neck, vertebral augmentation procedures boast quicker recovery times than incision-based surgeries.
- Artificial Disc Replacement: During an artificial disc replacement, your surgeon will remove an intervertebral disc that suffered damage during your neck or back injury. A bulging or ruptured disc is excised and replaced with a sturdier, artificial model. The use of a prosthetic disc enables the patient to maintain full range of motion in the neck and allows for a speedier return to your everyday activities.
- Minimally Invasive Spinal Fusion (ACDF, ALIF, TLIF, or XLIF): For more severe whiplash or collision injuries, your surgeon may recommend a minimally invasive spinal fusion to reinforce the structural stability of the spine. During this set of procedures, your surgeon will repair and extract damaged spinal tissues. Then, your surgeon will install a bone graft or hardware system to encourage fusion of the weakened vertebrae. This process, known as spinal fusion, protects fragile vertebrae that would be prone to further injury if not reinforced.
It is important that you contact a qualified spine and neck physician before beginning any type of treatment for pain beyond simple home remedies or over-the-counter analgesics. Pain that does not lessen after 3 days is a warning sign to seek professional diagnosis from a doctor. Pain from an injury that becomes chronic (or doesn’t subside after 2 weeks of conservative treatment) may be the sign of a serious injury. Dr. Frazier, with over 20 years of surgical experience, is highly trained in diagnosing neck and back injuries. Contact Dr. Frazier’s team of spine specialists at (212) 506-0240 to receive award-winning care for your neck or back injury!
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Dr. Frazier is a Harvard-trained, board certified orthopedic spine surgeon. He’s held an academic appointment at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and New York’s SUNY Downstate. Dr. Frazier is also a respected lecturer, accomplished researcher, published author on spine disorders and treatment, and a consultant for several international spine companies.
After completing his undergraduate education at Brown University, Dr. Frazier attended Harvard Medical School, where he graduated cum laude. He completed a Harvard internship based at the New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston, MA, followed by a Harvard combined residency before becoming chief resident at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Education & Training
MD / Cum Laude
Harvard Medical School
Mass. General Hospital
Spinal Deformity Fellowship
Doctor’s Hospital (Miami, FL)