The cervical spine (neck) is composed of seven vertebrae which protect the spinal cord, support the skull, and enable movement.
The nerves in this area are responsible for helping you breathe, move muscles, and allow your body to function normally. Instability in this area can be caused by congenital malformations (structural abnormalities present at birth) or trauma (as a result of car accidents, falling from a height).
Injuries to the cervical spine are very serious and can result in damage to the spinal cord and long term neurologic effects, depending on the extent of the injury.
The doctors and nurses will perform several tests at the hospital to determine the severity of the injury, including x-rays, MRI and CT scans.
Based on the results of these tests, the doctor may recommend the following treatment options.
A Halo brace or vest is typically used for treatment of upper cervical spine instability or dislocation. It may be used alone or in addition to surgery to add protection to the head and neck.
A Halo ring works to provide traction forces to the cervical spine. A surgery is required to apply this device correctly and involves the placement of small pins into the skull.
The placement of small screws and metal rods in the neck may be necessary to stabilize the vertebrae and prevent further injury.
Activity restrictions and regular follow up visits with your surgeon are necessary for all cervical spine injuries.