Preventing Future Deaths from Football Neck Injury

football neck injury malcom floyd

Malcom Floyd is out indefinitely after serious neck injury last week.

A tragic accident in a preseason scrimmage last week resulted in the death of high school footballer, De’Antre Turman, from a broken neck. This week, San Diego Chargers’ wide receiver Malcom Floyd also suffered a neck injury while playing football which saw him stretchered off the field.

Are neck injuries, and even fatalities, a simple fact of footballing life? Is enough being done to stop them happening? Read more

Carotid Artery Dissection, Neck Pain, and Horner’s Syndrome

carotid artery dissection and neck pain and horner's syndromeThe majority of acute onset neck pain is due to muscle tension but in some cases left-sided neck pain, right-sided neck pain, or neck pain that presents with Horner’s syndrome are the result of carotid artery dissection or carotidynia. It appears that carotid artery dissection, whilst once thought fairly rare, is actually a risk for many people, young or old, active or inactive. Indeed, activities such as running, golf, and contact sports can all lead to acute trauma to the carotid artery and neck pain, and for some patients this can be fatal. In today’s blog post we take a look at a case of Horner’s syndrome as a result of carotid artery dissection. Read more

Volleyball and Neck Pain

beach volleyball and neck painThe sun is shining, you’re in your best beach attire, you’re working up a sweat (and a tan) with some beach volleyball and neck pain strikes. Don’t end up sitting this season out; make sure to avoid injuries by following these simple steps to have fun in the sun and do some great smashes over that volleyball net. Read more

Are Your Properly Protecting Yourself Against Whiplash? Watch this Short Video to Find Out!

Many cases of whiplash and neck pain could be prevented by taking a few seconds to make some simple adjustments to your driving set-up. Don’t wait until you’ve experienced the pain of injury and have to research your whiplash treatment options before taking action. Adjust your seating position every time you get in the car if you share your vehicle with another driver and make sure to take the following safety tips into account when buying a new car. Read more

Recovering from Whiplash – What Are Your Options?

whiplash treatment options for neck pain

What's the best way to treat whiplash and neck pain after a car accident?

Chronic spinal degeneration, stress and muscle strain are not the only causes of neck pain: An acute injury, like a fall or a car accident, can cause whiplash and neck pain that takes weeks, months, or even years to recover from and which may, in some cases, cause permanent cervical spinal problems. Early treatment for whiplash can help prevent chronic problems but the difficulty is that symptoms sometimes do not arise in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Knowing if spine surgery is necessary for whiplash and neck pain or whether a less invasive treatment could be of benefit is difficult but recent reviews are gradually giving us a clearer picture of how best to improve outcome after such an injury. Read more

Treating Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Through Minimally Invasive Surgery

thoracic outlet syndromeTwo newly published studies have found that minimally invasive surgery for neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (NTOS) can significantly improve patients’ symptoms. This relatively uncommon condition causes neck pain, paraesthesia in the arms, neck and hands, numbness and weakness in the upper body and is more frequent in young, active and generally healthy patients.

One of the studies found that a fairly recently developed type of surgery is particularly helpful at relieving thoracic outlet syndrome in adolescents when the pinched nerves are being caused by the pectoralis minor tendon. Read more

Treating Whiplash – Usual Care vs. Active Management

neck pain whiplash treatmentResearchers in the UK have concluded that active management consultations of whiplash in the emergency department are not cost effective and do not improve patients’ prognosis in acute whiplash, which can cause a number of symptoms, including neck pain. The types of things included in active management for acute whiplash were intensive physiotherapy, promotion of positivity for recovery, exercise, early re-engagement in daily routines, an educational booklet on whiplash, and pain management assistance. Patients receiving this type of care, compared to standard care, saw little additional benefit and no long-term benefits leading the authors to conclude that ‘less is more’ when it comes to acute whiplash care.

Usual Care vs. Active Whiplash Management

The study was published in the Lancet’s February 16th edition and was carried out by Sarah E. Lamb, DPhil, and colleagues from the Warwick Clinical Trials Unit, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom. A two-step process was rolled out for patients visiting one of 12 hospitals or 15 emergency departments (EDs) taking part in the study. Six of the hospitals and seven of the EDs recruited patients for the active management protocol and the remainder proceeded with usual consultation practices. The data was adjusted for initial whiplash grade and other potential confounding factors.

Symptoms of Whiplash Associated Disorder

Whiplash can cause a number of ongoing problems years after the initial injury and many of these are difficult to connect to the neck trauma, leading to problems in applying proper treatment. There is some evidence that cervical spine instability is more common in those suffering whiplash, with conditions such as facet joint arthritis and tinnitus an increased risk for such patients. Whiplash associated disorder may also involve cognitive deficits that can take weeks, months or even years to resolve, if at all. Headaches and neck pain are commonly associated with whiplash associated disorder and patients are often advised to do their best to avoid unnecessary stress and strain on the neck.

Little Difference with Added Care

Some 3851 patients took part in the first stage of the study, 2253 of whom were seen in hospitals in the active management group and 1598 in the hospitals providing usual care. Just over half of the acute whiplash patients were women (55%) and the mean average age was 37 years. Follow-up data was available for 70% of patients at the 12 month mark and the results showed little difference between the groups. The median Neck Disability Index scores varied by 0.5; a difference of 3 points is considered clinically meaningful.

Is Additional Physiotherapy Helpful in Whiplash?

In step two of the study, half of the patients were given a single physiotherapy session, to consolidate the advice given in their earlier ED visit, and the other half had a series of six physiotherapy sessions. Two thirds (67%) of the patients in the active group completed the prescribed course of physio after whiplash and 80% of the usual care group finished the course; those who provided follow-up data at four months (80%) showed modest benefit for neck disability but there was no long-lasting benefit at eight or twelve months. The additional cost of these sessions and the lack of clear benefit led the researchers to conclude that a single session and usual care in the hospital or emergency department is the recommended treatment for acute whiplash.


Lamb, S.E., et al, Lancet. 2013;381:514-515, 546-556.

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Bouncy-House Injuries Rapidly Increasing

bouncy house injuries

Limiting the number of kids on a bouncy house may help reduce injury risks.

New research published in the journal Pediatrics has revealed that every 46 minutes an American child is injured using a bouncy house. Such injuries, which include neck and head trauma, from seemingly fun and innocuous childhood toys have increased dramatically in the past decade. This danger was highlighted by the American Association of Pediatricians (AAP) who issued a warning earlier this year over the use of trampolines by children because of the risk of serious neck injuries and other accidents. Read more

Surfers and Spinal Cord Injury

surfer spinal cord injury dangers and neck pain from surfing

Dr Chang recommends avoiding hyperextending the spine by lying in wait for waves when surfing.

At we have noted before that lifelong surfers may be at increased risk of spine degeneration, bone spur growth and neck pain but a new study reveals that younger surfers are also at risk. Hawaiian physician Cherylee Chang, MD, describes symptoms of acute myelopathy in surfers likely due to ischaemia of the spinal cord. This worrying occurrence was noted in surfers as young as fifteen who felt a pop or crack in their back and rapidly experienced weakness and paralysis. Although the phenomenon is still being investigated it does appear that the risk of so-called ‘surfers’ myelopathy’ may be reduced simply by changing a common novice surfing habit. Read more

Jaw Dislocation and Neck Pain

jaw dislocation and neck pain

It's not just a punch to the face that can cause jaw dislocation, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and othe conditions can affect the jaw.

Neck and jaw pain are often connected, be it through teeth grinding, bone abnormalities or worn discs in the jaw and subsequent pinched nerves. Sometimes, neck and jaw pain is due to a dislocation of the mandible and, while most such dislocations can be remedied in the emergency department, some are more complicated. Read more