Serious falls and accidents are the most common causes of cervical fractures and can result in a broken or cracked bone. Prevention can be difficult, but wearing protective gear during certain activities, such as a helmet during contact sports, protects the head and neck. Indications of a cervical fracture may include: Severe neck pain Swelling of the tissue surrounding the fracture Tenderness at the location of the fracture Numbness Other symptoms associated with a cervical fracture include: Muscle sprain Dislocation of the flexible disks between the vertebrae Damage to the spinal cord The location of the neck damage is described in terms of the nearest vertebra and will determine the level and type of impairment. Your physician may order x-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests to determine whether you have a cervical fracture. Until a diagnosis is completed, you must keep the neck immobilized. Cervical arthritis affects the cartilage in joints, which can wear away due to an accident or age. These changes may slowly narrow the space between each vertebrae, resulting in nerve compression from the spinal cord in the neck. The nerves become inflamed, resulting in neck pain. Additionally, even a minor injury to the neck can cause symptoms because of vertebrae degeneration. Symptoms include: Chronic neck pain Muscle weakness and numbness Limited mobility of the neck Headaches Loss of balance The team at Sheltering Arms Institute combines experienced providers along with diagnostic equipment to enable the team to develop a treatment plan that will help you to get back to doing the things you love.