Magnetic resonance imaging of sports injuries to the cervical spine

Semin Musculoskelet Radiol. 2004 Mar;8(1):99-110. doi: 10.1055/s-2004-823017.


Fortunately, serious injuries to the cervical spine in athletes are rare. Most injuries are self-limited and related to sprains and strains. Although radiographs may be used to screen for fractures, potentially serious soft-tissue injuries require additional diagnostic techniques. In these cases, advanced imaging with computed tomography and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is important to assess the injury and determine treatment and prognosis. MRI is well suited to imaging the cervical spine and to evaluate injuries. This article reviews cervical spine imaging in the athlete, with an emphasis on MRI. It groups pathology into stability, impingement, and impairment and discusses causes and radiological assessment of each group.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Cervical Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Spinal Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Sports Medicine