Urgent message: Clinicians must be able to determine the cause and severity of injury in patients with neck pain, especially in the very young, whose symptoms vary according to their developmental status, and in the elderly, who have weaker bones and degenerative changes.
Avariety of patients from children to the elderly will present to an urgent care Center with the chief symptom of neck pain. Cervical spine (C-spine) injuries occur in 3.7% of adults who sustain blunt trauma and present to an emergency department (ED), and almost half of those are unstable injuries, which if not diagnosed and treated can result in spinal cord injury.1 For urgent care clinicians, these are some of the issues at hand to consider:
- Who needs C-spine imaging?
- Is an x-ray sufficient?
- Who needs transfer to a hospital for further trauma