Monique Jeffrey broke her neck sneezing, then did it again laughing

This is so strange. From first aid training Canberra we wish Monique all the best in the future. Come and do one of our first aid training courses so that you can manage someone with broken vertebrae. Our first aid courses are excellent and we pride ourselves on our quality first aid training methods and also our experienced trainers.

MONIQUE Jeffrey was lying in bed checking emails on her phone early one morning in 2011, when she suddenly sneezed and her neck jolted forward.

As she sneezed, her C1 and C2 vertebrae collapsed and her chin fell onto her shoulder, leaving her hunched over in agonising pain.

With her husband at work and her newborn baby asleep in the next room, Monique soon realised she couldn’t move her neck, and began to panic.

“I texted Sam just saying ‘help!’ and he called me and I answered on speaker phone, because I couldn’t put the phone to my ear,” Monique told

“He came home and called an ambulance. It was pretty scary and it was such a strange sensation. I was in so much pain after just one little sneeze,” Monique said.

Monique pictured with her family. Picture: Supplied

Monique pictured with her family. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

She was placed in a neck traction – a manual device that immoblises the neck muscles and allows them to heal – for 14 weeks and made a full recovery.

But just three weeks ago, she injured her neck again.

“I was at work and I had a bit of a stiff neck. Nothing awful, it was just a little bit sore,” she said.

“I was actually joking around with some colleagues because they were making some inappropriate jokes about how I may have hurt my neck, and I threw my head back and did it again.

“It wasn’t as bad as the last time. I shuffled back to my desk and I said to one of my colleagues ‘I’m in trouble here, ‘I think I’ve done my neck again’, because it felt the same and I was stuck.

“My chin was pulled across to the right, so they called an ambulance and now I’m in a neck halo.”

Monique with her two children. Picture: Supplied

Monique with her two children. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

She had a neck halo screwed into her skull. Picture: Supplied

She had a neck halo screwed into her skull. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

The metal device screws into the skull and stops the wearer moving their head.

“I’ve had two kids and getting the halo is worse than childbirth,” said Monique, who has to wear the device for six weeks.

“I can lie down but I sleep sitting up in a special bed. The halo completely supports my head and my neck.

“All the muscles in my neck are wasting away but I don’t have to hold my head up because it’s being held up by the bars and screws. You kind of just get used to it.

“But I’m tired all the time. I’m usually a very energetic person, but walking up a flight of stairs just completely wears me out and I have to have a big rest after that.”

The neck halo keeps her head and neck upright, to allow the muscles to heal. Picture: Supplied

The neck halo keeps her head and neck upright, to allow the muscles to heal. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

After the halo is removed Monique will undergo months of rehab and physio to strengthen the muscles in her neck. If that isn’t successful, she may require surgery to “fuse” the C1 and C2 vertebrae together so they can no longer collapse.

Her sister set up an online fundraising page to help pay for the mounting medical bills and so far $8000 has been raised.

“The favourable option is intensive rehab to build the muscle and those muscles will work to try and keep my neck in place. But because this has already happened twice, the likelihood of it happening again is really high,” Monique said.

“We’re going to try physio and rehab first and we’re hoping that that does the trick for a couple of years.

“It’s not terminal, I’m going to be fine, but it does suck a bit. You just have to laugh about it.”

Visit Monique’s fundraising page here.

[email protected]

Leave a Reply