When a person breaks the neck, one or more cervical bones are usually broken, fractured or dislocated. The area around the neck is referred to as the cervical area, which consists of seven bones located in the spinal column. The bones also have a role in protecting the spinal cord from injury.
A broken neck is caused by a severe trauma to the cervical area. The trauma may be caused by a fall, diving into shallow water, accidents, a sudden twist of the neck or a severe blow to the cervical area. The symptoms may include swelling, severe pain, tenderness and muscle weakness. If the bones are broken but the spinal cord is unharmed, then there may be no neurological problem, as stated by Apparelyzed. People with this type of injury are usually treated carefully to avoid any injury to the spinal cord.
An injury that causes partial damage to the spinal cord may lead to neurological problems. Severe damage to the spinal cord that affects the fifth cervical bone can lead to breathing problems, which can cause death due to asphyxiation. A doctor may need to conduct an X-ray, MRI scan or CT scan to determine the severity of the injury. Treatment of a broken neck includes surgery and the use of traction or a neck brace.