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Spine Case 14 History/Physical Exam

Alert patients present with neck pain after an axial loading mechanism, such as an MVC, falling from a ladder, or classically diving into shallow water. Neck motion may be limited secondary to pain. Neurological deficits may occur if there is a retropulsed fragment impinging on the spinal cord, but there may be no neurological deficits since fragments often burst away from the spine. Neurologic exam may be limited if there is concurrent head injury or other distracting injuries.