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Broken Neck Symptoms & Diagnosis


Symptoms include:

  • Pain, which may or may not be severe
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Decreased feeling in the arms or legs
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis of the arms or legs


The doctor will ask about your symptoms, physical activity, and how the injury occurred, and will examine the injured area.

Tests may include:

X-rays —a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body, especially bones. It is used to look for a break in the bone or a dislocation of the vertebra.

MRI scan —a test that uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to make pictures of structures inside the neck and back. An MRI provides cross-sectional images that allow the doctor to see if there is damage to the spinal cord.

CT scan—a type of x-ray that uses computers to make pictures of structures inside the neck and back. It can be used to analyze bone injury and to see if the spinal cord is compressed by a collection of blood.

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Broken Neck Guide


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