Abnormal flexion, extension, rotation and compression cause injury to the spine in predictable ways. As described on the following pages, the ligaments of the neck can be injured from all of these mechanisms. The lesser forms of these injuries may cause injuries to the ligaments without the associated fractures. 

All injuries to the neck have the potential to damage the spinal cord. This can present as weakness or altered sensations in nerve root distributions or in incomplete spinal cord injury patterns (e.g. central cervical cord syndrome or Brown-Sequard syndrome). Clearly patients with neurology will all require specialist imaging (e.g. CT and/or MRI) and referral for further care and so will not be discussed further in this session.