Barbell injury to cervical spine: C6 “clay-shoveler” fracture

Barbell injury to cervical spine: C6 “clay-shoveler” fracture

Case contributed by: Dr Chris O’Donnell


Lifting 35 kg barbell over head. Dropped onto cervical spine, developed acute neck pain

Patient Data:

Age: 25
Gender: Female
Race: Caucasian
Modality: X-ray


Displaced fracture (arrow) through the C6 spinous process
Modality: CT
Inferiorly displaced fracture through the spinous process consistent with direct impact injury

Case Discussion:

This fracture is usually to hyperflexion with avulsion of the ligamentous attachments to the spinous process.  In this case the fracture has been caused by direct impact force form the barbell!  In both cases treatment is symptomatic.
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