What’s a Hangman’s Fracture?
Hangman’s fracture is a type of bone injury caused by falling from great heights. It occurs when the bones are broken or fractured while in contact with each other, usually due to trauma such as being crushed between two objects. The most common cause of hangmen fractures is falling off high places, such as cliffs or buildings. Other causes include falls from vehicles and sports activities like football and soccer. There have been several cases where hangmen’s fractures were caused by falling down stairs.
Symptoms of a Hangman’s Fracture:
The symptoms of a hangmen fracture vary depending on the severity of the fall and how far it was from the ground. Commonly, there will be pain at rest, but not during movement or activity. Pain may radiate up into your back, neck, face and upper chest area.
You may experience shortness of breath and feel dizzy. Your vision may become blurry or blurred vision, double vision, or even loss of depth perception. If you fall from a height greater than 15 feet (4 meters), you could suffer from paralysis, which means you won’t be able to move your legs or arms.
Causes of a Hangman’s Fracture:
There are many possible causes for hangmen fractures. Some of the most common reasons are:
Falling off a balcony or a roof
Falling head first into a tree or pole
Falling from a ladder or scaffolding
Falling off a horse, bicycle, motorcycle or another vehicle
A direct hit to your back, flank or spine by a golf ball, baseball, football or similar objects.
Sports injuries during high contact activities such as football, rugby, soccer or basketball.
Falls from trees or high places such as cliffs.
Treating a Hangman’s Fracture:
If you believe that you have suffered a hangmen’s fracture, it is important that you seek medical attention immediately. The following treatment options are available for hangmen fractures:
Anti-inflammatory painkillers to help relieve pain and decrease inflammation.
Crutches for up to six weeks.
Limited use of arm or hand.
Anti-depressants to decrease pain, anxiety, and sleep problems.
Casting or splinting of the broken bones.
In some cases surgery may be required where pins, screws, wires or metal plates are used to repair the broken bones.
Outlook of a Hangman’s Fracture:
While most hangmen fractures are non-life threatening, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. If you suffer from any of the following conditions listed below, seek medical attention immediately. These conditions can potentially be life threatening and require treatment by a physician specializing in internal medicine or emergency medicine.
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience:
A heart arrhythmia.
An irregular or abnormal heart beat.
Difficulty or pain when swallowing.
Difficulty or pain when breathing.
Pain in your chest that does not go away. Coughing up blood.
Pain or discomfort in your arms, neck or back.
Swelling, redness or bleeding at the injury site.
Pale or blue skin.
Numbness, weakness or loss of coordination in the limbs.
An inability to move your legs or arms. Paralysis.
Hangmen fractures are very serious bone injuries that can cause lifelong problems if not treated immediately by a medical professional. While most hangmen fractures are non-life threatening, if you are experiencing any symptoms listed above seek immediate medical attention. Serious complications from a hangman’s fracture can occur months or even years after the injury.
Sources & references used in this article:
Jupiter Project: Jupiter Project Book 1 by G Benford – 2015 – books.google.com