broken neck

Evan snowboarding

My little brother Evan has been spending the winter teaching snowboarding in Aspen and had a serious accident today.

Apparently on the last run of the last day of the season, there was a problem with the snowboard. He flipping twice in midair before landing on his head.

He broke his neck — cervical vertebra 7.

But he can move his fingers and toes, which I guess is the important thing because it indicates no spinal cord damage?

I spoke to him at the hospital, where he was actually having dinner in his room. He seemed alright, a little drugged up, but in good spirits. He said he was fine laying down, but it hurt to stand or sit up.

The doctors did a bunch of tests tonight and are planning an MRI tomorrow (Tuesday) which will indicate whether surgery is needed. Either way, I guess he’s looking at a long time in a cervical collar. (Thankfully, he has a girl there taking care of him).

It sounds like he’ll be okay… but if anyone has any experience with this type of injury, please share it.

UPDATE 4/5/05: Surgery is set for tomorrow (Wednesday) at 1 p.m.

Evan said that after looking at his MRI, his doctor told him he was lucky he wasn’t paralyzed – but prognosis is good for a fully recovery within a few months.

UPDATE 4/7/05: The surgery went well, I’m told Evan is in some pain and somewhat cranky, but it looks like everything is going to be okay.

381 comments to broken neck

  • su

    Thank you very much steph. That really helps.

  • ray

    hello… i guess im here since some people or at least one person thought that a green light meant he could turn into me it was not a protected left – green arrow. most people would/should yield to oncoming traffic but not this person… c1 and c2 fractured, multiple broken ribs, punctured lung and a hemmorage in the brain.. In icu for 8 days.. now back home this makes almost 2 months and luckily i just got the neck brace and not the halo. by the way i hit the car and flew over it and lost some skin.. im lucky i was wearing a helmet i would have lost some of my face as well. bad timing as i was supposed to be on vacation right now and my son is out of school and i cant spend the summer like i wanted to .. im glad im not the only one in this situation as this site gives me some encouragement. good luck all…

  • Nancy

    hey steph, why did you have a nonunion, were they able to tell you why i am so scared that is going to happen to me i broke my c2 and have gone 10 weeks without any healing i am a healthy non smmoking 48 year old women and i am worried that i will have restrictions when this is all said and done i can not return to work unless i have a clean bill of you have any restrictions?

  • jocelyn Neil

    Hi all,
    When I was 26 with two small children I broke my Neck in a car accident, sustaining a Hangmans Fracture,C1&C2 also crushing C6 &C7, in Hospital for 1 month and rehabilitation for many months wearing what they called back then a Hiltenburg Splint, I have had many years of dificulty with the lack of movement in my neck, but I am not paralised, I was an elite sportswoman at that time and sadly had to retire from that, as my motor skills were very much affected, and I lost my sense of smell and taste, but I was assured by my Doctors that my spinal cord was not severed all the way through and that it was as they termed it “hanging on by a cigarette paper” I was petrfied that it would brake, they said no that the bone would calsify around the spine and it would be strong.
    That was 45years ago, I have raised a beautiful Family, Coached State and Australian Netball Teams to Victory, and although I struggle with many aches and pains, I am so thankful that I am one of the lucky ones, and thankfully there are many of us who live to tell the tale.
    Good luck to all of you, Jocelyn

  • Dick Ronson

    It is strange that I should fine this site after all these years of not being able to talk with others who have experienced some of what I have gone through. This is part of my story. It was a warm summer day in July 1957 when, at age 14, I experienced a C4/C5 fracture due to a diving accident. I was immediately paralyzed from my shoulders down. I spent six weeks in a striker frame with skull traction. Over the following months most of my feeling and mobility slowly returned. I was back on my feet six months later and back in school in the spring of 1958 even though I could only walk with crutches. In time they to went away. The next 40 years were spent relatively pain free though it was obvious that I was to have structural issues later in life. In 1998 I had my left hip replaced as I had destroyed the cartilage due to the way I walked. In 2001 I had to have part of C4/C5 removed due to the pressure that was being put on my spinal cord. In 2003 I had a complete neck fusion C3-C7 with rods, screws, and wire. In 2006 I had to have spinal fusion on my lower back which, as a result of hardware failure, had to be redone three times over a month and a half. Each time they went in the fusion had to be extended higher resulting in a fusion of S1-T11 with rods, screws, and clamps. In July 2009 I was on my way home from work and a car pulled out of a driveway going across traffic right in front of me. It happened so fast that the only thing I could do was try not to hit it head on. Both cars were totaled. I suffered severe whiplash on the right side of my head and neck. I was taken to the hospital where they xrayed my neck as they wanted to be sure that none of the hardware had moved. Even though I was in severe pain they sent me home since they couldn’t find anything wrong. A week later I was back in the hospital only to discover that I had a C2 fracture. I spent the next three months in a Miami J collar. I don’t know why I have been brought through these things or why I am even able to write this. But this I know that there is a God, that He answers prayer and that I am not the least bit worthy of the grace He has given me. If any of this is of interest to anyone please feel free to write. I am one of the fortunate ones.

  • kassandra shafer

    my brother david broke his neck may 29th 2010 hes been in jaxsonville truma unit after what we thought was doing good he crashed 5 times they said he was most likley not to make it and we was asked to let him go peacefully by pulling him off life support then less then 48 hours he crashed once more they then asked us again to pull him we as people family sisters brothers mothers fathers are greedy and said no you do what you have to to keep him alive and were still waiting to see what happens if and whomever reads this pleas pray for david shafer of fort white fla

  • kristian

    HI my name is kristian well what happen to me was i fractured my c1 and c2,dislocated my whole leg and got 8 staples on my head.This all happend when i was riding my quad i had flipped it over going over a jump not wearing a helmet.AS i was in my room in the hospital the lady in the room next to me had the same exact accident except she didnt make it.that same day i realized that couldve bin me and that is why i thank god every day.Never take life for granted and just live life to the fullest and dont do anything you will regret.thank you for reading this

  • philip levis

    hi i broke my neck 6 years ago c6-c7 i was riding a motorbike and got fliped over the bars i got up but was a bit sore but walked to the other motorbike but could not get on it! so i got in a mates car and drove to the hospital while he rode the bike home i was going to go home but something in my head said go to the hospital got out of the car walked in was checked in then was told to take a seat!i found i cound not sit down! so of i went to x-ray the guy who was taking the x-rays turned WHITE!! said i have broken my neck! and how did i get to the hospital? said i drove there no way he said well i did next minute i have seven surgens telling me not to move and how did i get to the hospital DROVE for the 100th time they were amazed well was in hospital for two weeks operated on then was home had a collar on for a year that was the worst thing did not feel any pain at all am fine now hope your brother is ok pal!!

  • Sans

    Hi All,
    first want to say good luck with your recoveries to all,I know how hard it can be, now to address Nancy, I have the same problem of very slow recovery of bones mending ,I went to the doctor he recommended Os-cal and to take three a day the 500 mg with vitamin D, hope this helps. Blessings Dick there are alot who need the upbuilding your story gives. Especially me Thank you!

  • steph

    hey nancy, i had the gallie fusion(bone taken from hip and fused with wires into the neck) done 1 year to the day of my accident as my ortho surgeon told me 1 slap on the back would be fatal as none of the fractures c1 c2 odontoid process united and were only held together by scar tissue,but thinking back i was really not aware of how serious this injury was and would take the wieghts of my traction when i was in the spinal unit as i was told once i could lift my head 1/2 an inch on my own they would remove the traction so i practised trying to lift my head all the time(stupid i know now)to the point the traction sprung out and re entered my skull and had to be redone now that was a painful experience maybe that had something to do with them not uniting ill never know but restrictions wise besides contact sports, rides at theme parks and sitting at a desk etc all day long i dont feel i had many oh sit ups r a restriction i tried them for a week ended up in bed for a week on medication i still dig up my backyard and move furniture around in my house but dont get me wrong i pay for it the next day or 3 but it has taken me years to not allow my self to have restrictions (im 1 of those people who if told i cant has to prove i can)and honestly unless i mention i have had a spinal injury no1 would ever know and nancy ur still in the earlier days which r the scariest of not knowing just give urself time to heal first.
    as i found alot of the fear of my injury was in my mind in the first few years
    hope this helped u in some way and all the best with ur healing

  • Kerri Nicholson

    Hi Sans.I’m 48 amd like you broke my neck in febuary this year and like you I have experienced dizziness when lying down. Also when I look up or bend down. i have had my halo off since may 5th and then wore a Aspen collar for several weeks after that. My neck is still very stiff and I suffer from headaches all the time. I have had some trouble sleeping but I have found by supporting myself with pillows on the side I’m sleeping .. that it does help. I’m hoping like you that these symtoms pass but I think it will take time. I hope you have had some improvement and that all is going well for you

  • Tom Rayment

    Hi Guys.
    I have a funny problem. I broke my neck in Feb. – C1 in 4 pieces – And the doctor in charge of my case has been off and on due to illness. I had the Aspen collar, predicted for 6 weeks but it turned out to be 10+. My family doctor was reluctant to take some-one else’s case over. Now the specialist is sick again. I have recently had a cat scan and X-rays to determine if I’m OK for physio. But I can’t get the results. Some hospitals are as bad as governments ! I am getting better but am 66 yrs. old so still have pain in the back corners of my neck and certainly limited movement. Do any of you have an opinion as to how critical the physio is and if it is, I will go and sit on my family doctor’s desk. Good luck to you all.

  • Tom Rayment

    Hi again – Sorry but the e-mail address is Canajun eh :-). Please feel free to use it. – Tom

  • Alan

    Good Evening everyone,
    Some very interesting post on here. I fractured my C6 and C7 veretebrae in a car accident on June 12. Also had T1 through T8 fractures which the doctors said woudld heal by themselves. But I had surgery for my cervical fracture in which they inserted a plate in the front and fused my vertebrae together. Was in the hospital for ten days and sent home with a hard collar that I have been wearing since. I go see my physician on Monday in which I will be X rayed and will see if I can get rid of the collar. Im kind of nervous in taking off my collar because my neck feels real weak and stiff but besides occasional back pain I’m doing ok. Luckily I have a wonderful mother that’s been taking care of me these past months because I would not have been able to do it by myself. I’m just now really able to take a shower on my own. Stay positve and count your blessings that you can still walk and move, there are a lot of people who suffered this same injury who are now paralyzed. That would have been very hard for me to deal with. I went from working out everyday to just being confined to the house but I’m looking forward to eventually getting back in the gym. Good luck to everyone going through the same ordeal.

  • shykeya

    hello everybody i just want to say i am so happy for everybody recovery…. as i read everyone testomony it give me hope for my grandmother who fell down the stais today and brock her neck aswell she has a halo on and she can move her hands and legs. she is blessed to still be here too, i know it will take some time for her to recover but if you all can pray for her it will b helpful thank you. if you have any advice email me @

  • ray

    i hope i can encourage others as i also had a hangmans fracture.. i wore the aspen-like collar (cant remember name)it had four pieces that i swapped out cuz in Texas its pretty darn hot. Fortunately i procured three sets of pads so i swapped them out every couple of days… i wore collar for 12 weeks.. i started driving back at 8 weeks with collar as i was going crazy using public transportation. i got cleared by doc but still have to see him in 3 month.. my work allowed me to go back on something similar but not officially light duty.. i am 41 yrs old and for sanity reasons had to go back to work. while my bones in my neck have healed i have not mentioned the softtissue damage as i will work on tendon and cartilage repair maybe next year.. also i lost some skin as well (motorcycle accident–not my fault.. not that it really matters). my skin grew back and bones healed… i was there with you people so please hang in there.. Ray..

  • berny

    have been told i have 5 disc degenarated
    black disc
    dried disc
    looking for advice

  • berny

    doc wont operrate or fuse or whatever
    am goig nuts
    am limited to do my usuall duties

  • rob

    i hope i can get som info for u guys if anyone can help me …i have fractured my c1 and c5 veretebra the er doc put me in halo for 3 month it has been 2 month and 1 week ext doc had me do a ct scan last week to see if the bones are healing good and maybe we can take the halo off sooner …well he said the bones r healing but slow my c5 is almost there but my c1 from the way he showed me the film on his pc that i still have a litle gap btw the bones and it s closing but slowly i was schedule to take it off in three month now he added another 2 month and then we do ct scan again …is there any chance of me havin a surgery after having the halo on more then 4 month …i just started of taking a bunsh of vitamins d and calcium and b 12 and iron and eating a lot fruits and vegies i didnt know that be4 but after doing reserch online i found out that i have to help my bones healing i am realy realy woried about having a surgery after all ..any info will help plz leave som comments or send email ..i am happy for everybody recovery .. god is great

  • Jill

    So here we all are, questions. How the hell do you sleep? About two weeks ago I flew backwardsly off a 4 1/2 foot bed, landed on my neck and heard a crunch. I was in immediate pain but dumbly thought the immense pain would go away overnight so I went to sleep after about twenty beers to dull the pain. I do not advise this! If you ever have neck pain after a fall call 911. Anyway, I woke up with the inability to move my neck at all, I mean not even a centimeter down up or sideways without horrible pain, so thr boyfriend who had begged to take me the night before takes me to urgent care. They don’t know exactly what to do with me, so I’m put on a backboard for “spinal precautions” which freaked me out and ambulanced to the nearest hospital (urgent care where I live is seperate from the e.r). So I’m takin there, given two cat scans, determined that I fractured my c2 and put me in a hard collar. No halo thank good ess, and I am so sorry for EVERYONE who has to go through this. Soft collar, hard collar, halo, holy shit. So after some specialist appts and some with my normal doc, here I am, unable to do a thing for myself and have 4/6 weeks to go. Pain pills don’t really help and I can’t sleep. Good luck everyone.

  • matt

    Well I had an atv accident on aug. 16 2010. After accident we hunted for another hour with neck pain. After about an hour I decide to call it quiets. Went home took a shower then to emergerncy room. Did a ct scan and that is when i got the bad news i had a broken neck. they life flighted me to Temple Texas.(during all this i was not in much pain) Whin in Temple more ct scans. They had said i had broke the c2 vert. They said they were going to have to put a halo vest on me because of the way i broke. I asked how long and they said for 8 to 12 weeks. At that time i was alittle upset because i had to where this thing for so long but now i am just thankful that i can still walk. Went to doc for the first time since accident which was 5 weeks. He did x rays and he said everything looks good and told me to come back in 3 weeks and he would take halo off and put me in a collar for 2 weeks and everything would be ok but would be on lite duty for a month. That was great news for me. He also said that i would be a 100% after all said and done. Still to this day i feel not much pain. The halo at first was painful because of the bolts but after a week it felt apart of my head. i can sleep on side. without any pain. Just alittle neck pain in the mornings for about the first 30 min. I broke the dens bone he had called it. it was a type 2 fracture. I am hopeing to have a good recovery after another 6 weeks.

  • robbieA

    I was in a bad bike wreck in a triathlon two weeks ago. Broke the C7 in two places. Breaks were clean thus can walk. I too was told I was lucky and used up one of my nine lives. I needed surgery to repair. They fused the c7 and t1. I have been told I will be back to normal in 6-12 months.

    Has anyone had a C7-T1 fuse?

  • Galen

    Well well well, on August 13th i stupidly dove into my shallow pool ( 5ft deep and too much to drink) and crushed my c3 through c7. I was rushed to the TICU where I underwent anterior surgery to fuse c3-c7. 2 days later my Dr. put me into surgery again to posterior fuse c3-c7. After the second surgery I was pronounced a central cord syndrome but would recover 100% over time. This basically means I had limited use of my legs to start and limited use of my left arm and no use of my right arm. The Dr. was so proud of his work he told me to just wear a soft collar when I felt necessary. Well I felt it was necessary the entire week and a half at the hospital and as well during the 2 week stay at the rehab hospital. I even felt it was necessary once I was moved home. Good thing for me, because I went back to see my surgeon after 6 weeks, he x-rayed me and said oh my goodness you need to have anther surgery right away. He sent me home in a hard collar stating my c7 was hinged over my t1 in a kyphosis state. If I were to slip or fall or get hit from behind I could go paralyzed from the waist down. Its been almost two weeks since he fused the anterior side of my c7 to my t1 and put m in a halo. I have approximately 10 weeks to go in this thing. i sit her able to walk. Using my right and left hands to type and have just begun to get a little use of my right arm back. Thank the lord. I see a light at the the end of the tunnel although it be a ways away. It is one of the hardest things in life to lose the use of your limbs or movement and i pray for all of you that have had to go through this traumatic experience.

  • lynda

    There is a kinship to be said about a group of pple who have all in one way or another experienced the worst of what life had in store for them,and to have survived such horror, I believe everything happens for a reason even if that meant I had to suffer as well like all of you..April 18th 2007 I was in a single MVA multiple rollever down the highway which also took me down a fourty foot embankment upon hitting the trees which ended my desent. I hung upside down four three or more hours till the paramedics /firemen could use the jaws of life to retract me from the wreckage . I know it wasnt my time even after my NDE I know there was another force keeping me alive. I dislocated my head from my neck hangmans fracture of the c2c3 I was told the only thing that kept my head attached was a strand of muscle. My surgeons later told me I was a mircle as i should be dead, or worse paralized from the neck down (would rather be dead if that was the case) I spent six weeks in hospital one was in a coma & five months (3 IN HALO and braces) at home with nurse support an now into my four years later I am still in recovery Everybody heals at a different pace it all depends on the severity of the injury..Even though i didnt suffer major spinal cord
    damage I suffer major nerve soft tissue and muscle damage through out my entire body including brain damaged to myleft temporal lobe and to this day even thought i fight with WCB I am so grateful and humbled to be alive so i can watch my youngest daughter grow up she was 5 then I was 46, she is now turning 9 and i am soon to celbrte my 50th…my prayers go out to all the people who like me have suffered much and who adapt to a new way of life so that they may get on with living
    am in my fourth year and i am told my neck range will never be more then it is now (20-30%)stiff tight and very pained and i will never gain more brain stimulation, I now have fibramyalia, a personality disorder and pain will always be a huge part of my life. Yet I embramce each day I can knowing I could now only be a memory to my children. GOD BLESS YOU ALL JUST STAY STRONG AND POSITIVE~:o
    5months ago May 2010 My aunt was killed in a MVA she was t-boneed by a youngster (16yrold) speeding thrice the posted limit she died instandly from a broken neck. God took her home & in some ways i feel that he took her instead of me, but i know he had his reasons and her life on earth complete..she would have been 72 this year..May she walk in God’s Garden with my mother before her.

  • karen wagner

    hi sans, I was hoping to get a fusure at c3 – c4. Just to give you an update. 22 yeas ago I had fusure at c5 – c6. During the opp doc explainted he may do both, on awaking he had done the lower as it was worse, he said c3 -c4 may settle, however if not go as long as possible and come back if i get desperate. Therefore after banging my head a year ago, which finished the disc off, i went back. I am now told the area is arthritic and he will not opperate. I now live with the outcome, difficult. The joint is weak and sleeping is always painful and by morn i am more unwell due to lying down as the damage joint flexes more and traps the nerves etc. I have found that sleeping in a soft collar offsets the stress upward and downward of the soft collar and protects to a reasonable degree the damage joint. So i get a good night sleep. Hope this might help you. I know yours is higher and you dont want a collar, but to me a great help. karen

  • karen wagner

    Hi robbieA, when i was young i went through the rear of a car window, into the front and was sprung back out the hole by the front seat. I was a triathlete, but this day no helmet and a car that stopped where is shouldnt. 24 years on the disc has colapsed, cant have opp to stop entrapment of the nerves etc. was running 5 -8 miles a day 6 month ago, now cant walk more than 1 mile is stilletos before i feel ill, driving – viibration from the road controls how far. My body wants to take off and run but life is diff now. Would love to have it fused, as I lived for sport. You were lucky, best wishes karen

  • Amin

    I fractured my c2 vertebrae (obdonoid) one year ago. I Was worried through the roof for all 4 months of my recovery. This site helped me get through and thank you! I feel breaking my neck set me on the beautiful path I have now. I recovered in the neck brace with no surgery and very little lasting side effects. Its possible, keep your head up and listen to the docs 🙂 Plenty of calcium, w/ vitamin D, healthy foods and plenty of rest do work. Also STOP smoking as it will effect bone fusion drastically.

  • Larry

    hi everybody i broke my c5- c6 in a car crash on aug 30 im 29 was suppose too get married oct 3rd but had too be pushed back.its crazy my love has been there the whole time shes been great other then some numbness in my finger tips im pretty good 1 more week too brace comes off im so excited too get back too normal .my family has been a great help also scares heal but will never forget the pain i put my family thru everybody listen too the doctor as much as the collar sucks it works i took life for granted it was my fault i had too have a evo thats a sports car too all u old heads lol jk .i flipped at 100 plus miles an hour because i was racing. my next car is a hybrid stop an smell the coffee now i know what that means im glad my cup wasnt empty iwill pray for all u guys on here .

  • Karen

    On aug. 17 my family was in a car accident. We were hit by a drunk driver. My mom was pinned in the car(she was driving). She had a broken hip, broken toes, and the brake pedal went in her thigh. My dad had a broken shoulder and some broken ribs. My sister had a broken rib. I had a c7 fracture. I had to wear a soft collar for only 4 weeks. I truly believe god healed me. I play basketball and I was told I wouldn’t be playing this season at all but I am. I still am in almost constant pain even now, but to think how much worse it could have been I am thankful. God is a miracle worker!!!! I praise him and give him all the glory for healing me and for protecting my whole family. If he wouldn’t have been with us that day, we probably wouldn’t be here. If you have any questions or just want to talk about anything contact me at

  • Timothy

    Well my name is timothy and i guess you can say my story isnt as bad as some.. But i am only 17 on sept 18th 2009 i broke my neck playing football. I cracked the c4 and crushed the c5 and the verdebreas are pressing up against my spinal cord.. They say it is only 2 mm away from making me a quadriplegic. It was crazy though because when it first happened my whole body went numb and i got up fine but i jus wasnt feeling the same. I just thought i was a stinger and i could play through it so i did i play about 10 more min be4 i got hit my 2 linemen on a screen play after that i was done… I always wonder why me why do i have to wear a halo for 7 months wat did i do to deserve this im only 16… ANd i also keep thinking after i broke it how was it i was still able to play… Being in a halo is no joke its no fun and it can really drive you mentally insane is a;ways gud to have sum1 there for you like i did, i had my girlfriend and i think that if it wasnt for her i would have gone insane… i was stuck in the hospital for 2 weeks not able to get up at all i think that was the hardest for me… i mean i felt so helpless… my heart really goes out to whoever has to go through this cause believe me i knw its not easy… they say in about 3 years i would be fully healed but even till now i still have pain and my neck fees like it is 20 pounds sumtimes.. it was so hard for my family especially me a 16 year old who has to go through shit like this… Well i reado some of these stories and they are heart touching this has made me appreciate life alot more and not take anything for granite.

  • Heather G.

    I was so relieved when I came across this site. The day before Thanksgiving I was in a car accident. I was in the backseat when we were broadsided. After being taken to the ER by ambulance and run through every imaging machine they have, it was determined that I had fractured my c3 and it and c4 had been forced out of alignment, backward. This ruptured the disk between them and part of the ligament around them became detached. I ended up spending 6 days in the ICU and having surgery. They pulled things back into alignment,removed the disk and replaced it w/ a spacer and some doner bone. They had to remove the ligament that detached and then did a fusion (plate w/ 4 screws) on c3 & c4. By the grace of God, I had no spinal cord injury and was able to go home w/ only a hard collar. I also couldn’t believe how little information they send you home with. I’m 32yrs old and up to this point had never been seriously injured, so I had no idea what to expect. I was consumed with anxiety because I thought that any little movement would somehow harm me. Now, I am doing quite well. Just about 80% of my discomfort has subsided. (Most of my pain is in my shoulder) At my 6wk check-up I was told I could sleep w/o the collar which was wonderful news. I am only taking occasional Tylenol now. (I guess anti-inflam. are not good for the healing process) I’m praying for a full recovery and so far things look good. I am so glad everyone has shared their stories here…not only did it help to ease my mind but it gives me hope knowing I’m not the only one that has gone through this.

    Thank You – Heather

  • marie

    I was in a halo for three months in 2002. Evryone talks about how hard a halo is to wear. I would rather wear a halo for a year than have one headache while in a hospital and unable to run hot water on my head,etc. MY neck is bent forward and fused permantly in a downward postition. Neither the doctor who did the surgery his assistant, or anyone else in the hospital ever once explained the basics of the surgery or said one sentence to make a difference : it matters how you sleep.I slept sitting partly up for headaches didn’t know the muslces had been cut. The physical therapist told me afterwards that she had noticed that the kind of brace i had been prescribed tended to make people have a problem afterwards with holding up their neck. Its telling that she, the physical therapist and not the doctor who prescribed it, noticed and mentioned it. So try having even one headache like i have even though I know you think you could handle it and learn waht real pain is like where you don’t have the medical profession treating you like a saint but like a criminal. What is so hard about a halo except for right after the surgery, unless you have bad pain from the neck itself not just the discomfort of the halo? Maybe it is you, not me, you is weak and can’t handle pain. Maybe the headaches i have really ARE that bad adn would do that what they do to me to anyone. The bell can toll for anyone.

  • Greg

    Hey. I broke my c2 in a climbing accident about 3 months ago. I fell 50 feet and hit the ground. I was lucky to be alive let alone walk away from the fall. After walking out of the woods my wife drove me to the hospital. They did a ct scan and told me I had a broken neck. A neurosurgeon elected to fit me with a halo brace which I wore for 12 agonizing weeks. As much as I hated the thing it did the job helping my break heal nicely. It was removed a few days ago after a new ct scan showed a completely healed c2. I was very happy that it healed and relieved to get rid of the halo. Now my questions. Do I need to go to physiotherapy. My neck is really stiff/sore and I have limited range of motion but my doctor tells me that it will improve over time without any treatment. Can anyone tell me what sort of exercises or treatments would be prescribed if I went to a physiotherapist? Has anyone just done nothing and had their neck return to normal after a period of time? Thanks.

  • Ariana

    Wow I really like hearing all of these stories; everyone that I have meet has never even heard of someone breaking their neck. I broke my C2 and C3 vertebrate along with my ribs and ankle in a snowboarding accident on Dec 16, 2011. I, too, was a ski instructor in Aspen and have been competeing in ski comps for years prior to the break. I am now in my 8th week of recovery and just got my foot brace off, but am still wearing the Aspen Collar neck brace. However, according to my x-rays, my neck has still not fused which scares me. I am considering trying acupuncture, cold laser therapy or other methods of alternative medicine. Has another had an experience with these type of medicine or have any other tips for how to heal my neck more quickly?

    We are all very lucky that we survived such serious breaks. I thank God that I am still alive. I feel like a neck fracture is a straight up sign that something in your life needs to change. Does any one else agree?
    Well I have a month left of healing and would love some support from people with similar stories. I am gaining weight rapidly and get VERY stressed with my crazy family always on my ass about everything and need an outlet. So might as well try a blog… Please write back!

  • Hello
    15 yrs ago I was in a 5 car pile up on the Dan Ryan in Chicago. I was the middle car. My head hit the door frame and bounced around a few times. I had a severe C-sprain. Torn ligamints etc. 15 yrs. later I find out I have alot of athritis and I have no cartilege in between the vertebrates in my neck. My muscles are tight and sore most of the time and I have headaches off and on. I have had shots in the neck but they don’t seem to last to long. I am 64 soon to be 65. I don’t think they do much surgery for you at this stage. I had a neck brace early on but I only wore it for a few months and I threw it away. My Dr. doesn’t want to give me one now. If I go on an airplane I’m always in pain for at least a week. Riding in a car is not as pleasant as it use to be but neck pillows help. I bought mine at a truck stop. I have a camels hump thats what the Dr. called it. He said it was hereditary. It is a sore swollen spot at the top of my back on my vertebrate. I told him I never had it before the car accident and no one in my family had one. He just looked at me. I am angry this happened to me. I write in a journal and that helps. I have permanent short term memory loss but its not as bad as it use to be. I am a Christian and my Faith has healed me more than anything. I use to cry and feel sorry for myself TIME took care of that too! My husband says I’m the same person just a little different, and he loves me regardless. I am Blessed! and happy to be alive!

  • If you want to e-mail me I will respond.

  • Stephanie

    Wow, what a great sight, my 16 year old daughter rolled her car just over 2 weeks ago. She didn’t appear to have any injuries other bruising on her left shoulder from the seat belt. She was checked over at the hospital and an x-ray of her neck was taken and the doctor said everything was fine and she was free to go home, just to take tylenol or advil for the pain in her shoulder. I took her back to the doctor 2 dats later because she was complaining of pain in her neck now and was having trouble turning her neck. He ordered an “emergency” CT scan and gave her prescription pain medication. Because we live in a small town we had to go to the nearest city for the scan which is 80 miles away. They phoned the next day to set up the appointment which wasn’t for another 5 days. The day after her scan the doctor’s office phoned and wanted to see us. I phoned the next day to set up this apptoinment and we couldn’t get in to see the dr until the next Wednesday.(another 5 day wait). Took her to this appointment and the computers were all down so the dr.’s had no acssess to patient files so they had all gone home. I had to phone the next morning to make another appiontment and had to wait until Friday (2 more days). Finally got my daughter in to see the dr. to find out that she had been walking around with a C1 fracture for 15 days with out it being immobolized. He seemed upset with me because I had not brought her in sooner. I am just so thankful that nothing happened to her to cause her injury to be worse. She is very lucky because it is not a serious fracture and she should only have to wear a rigid collar for 4 weeks. I truly believe this child definately has a gaurdian angel watching out for her and her brother were in my van with me when we rooled it in a gravel road the in July of 2009. We all walked away with only a few minor cuts and bruises that time.

  • Stephanie

    Hello again. I was just wondering if anyone who might have had an experience similiar to my daighter’s where the fracture was undiagnosed for a while might be able to share some of their experiences about what it was like for them. She is having a really hard time adjusting to wearing the collar because by about day 5 or 6 after the accident her neck started to feel betterand by the time we got back to the dr. and found out about the fracture she was pretty much pain free. Now that she is wearing the collar she says that her neck is very sore and she is worried that she will have problems moving it after the 4 weeks are over. Any input about this would be greatly appreciated. Thankyou.

  • Jamie

    On 9-30-09 I fell off the roof of our porch. I tried to catch myself with my hands but caught the edge with my chin instead, instantly snapping my head backwards and breaking my neck before hitting the ground 13 feet below me. I thought I had broken my collar bone, not my neck. My husband tried to move me to get me into the car to get to the E.R. Well, that didn’t work out. Everytime I moved just a little bit, the pain was so excruciating that I blacked out with a scream. An ambulance came and transported me to one hospital where after xrays, the doctor came in and said well, you broke your neck in 2 places. I asked him if I was dead then because I could feel everything except for parts of my left arm and hand. He said no and that I was lucky and they were going to transport me to another hospital to a trauma unit. I shattered my c6 and c7 vertebrate and demolished the disc between them. 3 days after being admitted, they did surgery and put a titanium plate in the front of my neck and a surgical titanium rod down my spine along with a cadavar bone for the disc I damaged. I was told that I was very lucky because part of one of my vertebrate that was shattered severed a few nerves but only for my left side. I was released on Oct.6., 2 days after 2 major operations.I still can’t feel my index finger on my left hand, but I am used to that now. Where they cut through the muscles in my shoulder to put in the rod, there is a lot of scar tissue build up and the muscles never healed correctly. I had to wear a miami-j collar for 3 months and sleeping was next to impossible. My husband slept on the floor beside the bed holding my hand every night, afraid to sleep with me for fear of hurting me in his sleep. I have been back to the doctor many times since then because I have constant pain in my neck and shoulder. I can’t lift a full gallon jug with my left arm because of the muscle damage from the operation. My last xrays showed degeneration of the cervical spine and arthritis already setting in. I am 34 years old and hate being in constant pain. I have 2 children and am lucky to be alive to see them grow up. I also know that I am lucky to be able to function as normal, or almost as normal, as I could before my accident. I feel God kept me alive for a good reason, and I thank him every day for letting me get to keep his gift of life.

  • robbieA

    Hello again. It has been six months since I crashed my bike and broke my C7. I had the C7 fused to my T1. Met with my doc today and she said goodbye as I am gone with her. I am 100% good to go. cleared for all activities. she said just try to avoid any impact sports for a while.

    So folks there is hope. Hang in there and follow the rules and this too will pass!

  • Ann

    Hello everyone, I’m so happy to have found this posting! I’m 22 and female and was in a car accident 9 weeks ago. I broke my c2 with no spinal cord involvement, did not have any other injuries, and was fitted with an aspen collar. So far I have not had to wear a halo nor have any surgery. What troubles me is that I am not feeling any pain. Is that normal? Can anyone report if it’s normal to not feel any pain after breaking their neck? I’ve read that most c2 fractures take about 12 weeks to heal. Has this been anyone’s experience?

    Thank you so much for writing your stories on here, you all are a blessing to find.

  • Tim

    I started the web search this morning for neck injury information and found this site. My 33 yr old son broke his neck skiing 2 days ago. He hit a tree headfirst (top of his head) smashed his helmet,probably saved his life or serious head injury. He shattered C5 Initially he was paralyzed. Laid face first in the snow and couldn’t breathe. Within a short time he could move his left leg and arm. He was brought to local hospital where they performed surgery within 3hours. He has a mesh titanium cylinder with fusing C5 above and below. The surgeon had to take the C5 fragments and put them together within the titanium cylinder. He also used some cadaver bone and he injected bone marrow and a stem cell drug into the area. The idea is that this will grow the bone into one C5 again. He is overall weak. His “only” paralysis at this time, (I say only because we were told several times that this type of injury could result in quadripeligia) is his right arm and this is partial. He can lift it but he has very little strength. It is early and we are encouraged. Both his hands are swollen and sore. We were told that this might be a result of the IV’s lots of IV steroids and antibiotic. 24 hours post injury he was home. This is a miracle. I am looking for rehab advice for his right arm. Thanks

  • Amin

    yes c2 typically take 12 weeks. Took me that long to heal my c2 fracture!

  • Unknown

    Hey, I was in a car accident about 6 weeks ago, I broke my C1. I’ve had a hard collar ever since and I have to go for another ct scan in two weeks to see of it’s healed. I’m 16 years old. This is a very scary thing, and if it happens to you. Take care of yourself. Good news I never lost any movement at all.

  • Kayla

    I was in a car accident march 6th of this year, not too long ago. I lost control of my truck and slid side ways into a tree, and hit on the driver seat. Luckily I was alone. But I couldn’t move my neck. I was taken to the ER where they did many cat-scans and MRI’s. They saw that I broke my neck. C2 too be exact. I had feeling through out my whole body. They told me I was lucky too be alive, and not paralyzed. Now I’m in an extension brace for 6 months. And I am healing fast, which I am very thankful for. This whole experience has been scary. I’ve never broken a bone before this. But I have a lot to be thankful for.

  • Kayla

    Yes, my doctors told me 12 weeks as well. and i have no pain either, and it worried me at first too..i am so glad i found this website

  • Kerri Nicholson

    Hi Joanna. The Doctor told you that you have Camel Hump. My Doctor calls it Buffalo hump. It’s a deposit of fatty tissue that gathers at the top of the spine and in women came also form at the base of the spine over the sacrum area. I have just had a procedure called Lipo -disolve. it’s in injection based treatment with soy products. It is much nicer treatment than Liposuction and much, much cheaper. The fatty tissue is meant to break down over a 12 week period. I had mine about 5 weeks ago and already the area has softened. Maybe this would help you

  • Kerri Nicholson

    Joanna. I forgot to mention that I did have the lump before I broke my neck and had a Halo for 3 months. wearing the Halo seemed to make the problem worse and certianly made that part of my back very tender. I was refered to a plastic Surgeon for the Lipo-Dissolve

  • Kristen

    So it’s been about 2 1/2 yrs now and bad news. I was in a car accident Sept 2008 when I was 20 and had compression fractures from C2-C7 and T1-T2 during my recovery time C6 slipped a little bit but at the time I didn’t need surgery. It has now slipped farther and is pinching a nerve. When I first started having problems (hands going numb, tingling, pain radiating down my arms) I just went to a general practicioner who just thought it was carpal tunnel. After a few months problems started getting worse plus my neck/back where I was injured started aching again. I went to a specialist thinking it was just left over residual pain whatever kind of to be expected I thought. Wrong. The nerve going through C6 had started getting pinched and I was showing signs of weakness in my arms and hands. There’s now a good chance that I may have to have surgery woohoo here we go again. First thing my doc tried was to shoot cortisone into the area hoping it might calm things down a bit and make more room for the nerve so I don’t have to have surgery. I’m praying that I can get by without surgery since a lot of people have told me it does more harm than good with the spine. I hurt a lot right now but they said it was normal to be sore for 3-5 days after getting the cortisone shot into my spine. I’ve been paying off all my debt pretty gave up my whole last summer working 2 jobs I’ve been trying to get myself to a point that I can quit my job start taking random temporary jobs here and there and see the country save up money to go backpacking in Europe. I can’t even carry a back pack now. Don’t wait on your dreams!!! Also to those of you whose accident was someone else’s fault if you can afford to wait a bit do, make sure you know the full extent of your injuries and how they might effect you in the future before you settle.

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