Upper Back/Neck (Cervical Spine)
Your neck is part of a long flexible column which runs throughout your back. The uppermost portion of this column is called the cervical spine and is comprised of seven bones (vertebrae) that are separated by shock absorbing discs that allow the neck to move freely. Extending from the vertebrae are bones that connect to form a canal through which the spinal cord and nerves run down to your tailbone. These bones surround and protect the spinal cord from damage. The cervical spine is considered the most vulnerable part of the spinal column and injuries can occur from low or high impact accidents which put undue force or pressure on the neck.
The experienced Florida cervical spine injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt are dedicated to helping injured employees who are hurt at work. We have more than 100 – years combined experience helping those throughout the Florida, Georgia and Illinois.
Most injuries to cervical region are caused by injury to the head. These injuries often result in immediate pain and associated symptoms such as headaches, a stiff neck that prevents you from touching your chin to your chest, pain that shoots down the arm(s), tingling, numbness or weakness in your arms or hands. However, in Florida, many workers’ compensation carriers may try to blame the injury or need for treatment on disc degeneration (arthritis), which may cause neck pain from the narrowing of the canal space where the nerves travel from the brain to the rest of the body.
Neck injuries vary in extremity and range from a simple sprain/strain to a herniated disc. Florida doctors commonly associate motor vehicle accidents and slip and fall injuries with many diagnosed cervical injuries. Whiplash, a common term used when treating neck injuries, is caused as the head snaps forward and then back, also called a cervical acceleration-deceleration injury, which stretches the anterior longitudinal ligament. When an individual is hit, shoved or struck from behind, the force from the impact causes pressure on the neck and forces the cervical spine to deform into an S-shape.
People who suffer injuries or accidents to the neck may result in cervical vertebrae fractures, herniated discs or damaged nerves. As a disc is damaged, the outer layers tear, allowing the disc’s center (the nucleus pulpous) to leak out of its natural confinement and place pressure on the nerves. The nerves in the neck run down the upper extremities and can cause pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in the shoulders, arms, hands and fingers.
Doctors typically diagnose a cervical injury after conducting a thorough physical examination followed by diagnostic testing. These tests typically begin with X-Ray Imaging that can show bone spurs and arthritis. However, they cannot show a disc herniation or nerve impingement; thus computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are utilized to provide more detailed pictures of the spine. Other tests used to determine nerve damage are electromyelograms (EMGs) or nerve conduction velocity studies (NCS/NCVS).
Though many injured workers in Florida who suffer from herniated cervical discs can obtain relief without treatment, the majority of injured workers with cervical injuries can only receive relief after extensive treatment. Conservative (non-surgical) treatment goals are to reduce nerve irritation caused by the ruptured disc material, to relieve pain and to improve day to day functions. This treatmet can include rest, physical therapy, medication (painkillers or muscle relaxers), exercise, acupuncture or other stretching techniques. More invasive care includes injections (trigger point injections or epidural steroid injections), rhizotomies and ultimately surgery
Surgical intervention may be appropriate if you are not responding to conservative care, your pain levels become intolerable or your neurological symptoms progressively deteriorate to the point your functions of daily living are impaired. Different invasive options include an Anterior Cervical Disectomy, an Anterior Cervical Corpectomy, Posterior Microdiscectomy, Posterior Cervical Laminectomy or a Cervical Fusion.
Complications associated with cervical spine surgery can include infection, excessive bleeding, adverse reaction to anesthesia, chronic neck or arm pain, difficulty swallowing or speaking, damage to the nerves and nerve roots, a fusion that does not heal and other persistent symptoms.
When dealing with spinal cord injuries in Florida, you need aggressive and experienced advocates who will fight for your rights and obtain the benefits you may be owed under Florida’s law. If you or a loved one has suffered a work related cervical spine injury, an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. Our experienced neck and cervical injury attorneys are ready and waiting to help.
Call the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt, we are waiting to speak with you for a free and confidential consultation.
Hurt at Work? We Can Help!
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