Trauma

     Any part of the spine can be injured.  Attention is usually focused on a fractured part of the vertebra when we investigate trauma to the spine. All the soft tissues connecting the spine and surrounding it act as excellent buffers to loads subjected to the spine.  It is only when the soft tissues could not sustain abnormal forces that it transfers residual forces to break the bony architecture of the spine.



          The intervertebral disc has been found to be the strongest part of the spine.  Biomechanical tests have shown that the bony architecture breaks before the integrity of the disc fails. But this usually happens when the rest of the ligaments and muscles of the spine has already failed in absorbing or dissipating loads to the spine.



          Traumatic injuries to the spine will present the following signs and symptoms:



Pain ​​               - because of the inflammation of 

                          injured muscles, ligaments and 

                          fracture to the vertebra.  Pain can

                          also be due to compression of the

                          spinal cord or nerve roots.  Pain is

                          usually felt immediatedly and

                          sometimes persists for a long time

                          after the injury.  Chronic pain is

                          usually a symptom of instability-

                          which is a sequela of poor natural

                          body healing or inadequate care.

                        



Deformity      - acute deformity can occur with 

                          the disruption of the architecture 

                          of the spine.   Deformity  of  the 

                          spine  should  be  given  proper 

                          attention  since  it  will  lead  to 

                          instability and chronic pain.



Weakness      - weakness after a spine injury can

                         be due to severe pain usually felt

                         after a spine trauma.  It can also

                         be a cause of compression of the 

                         spinal cord or the nerve roots.



Paralysis        - is the worst sign of injury to the

                         spine.  It usually indicates that the

                         spinal cord was injured due to 

                         direct or indirect causes.  Direct

                         injury is usually due to a fractured

                         part of the bone compressing on

                         the cord, over-stretching of the

                         cord and nerves, or disruption of 

                         blood supply to the spinal cord.



            Trauma to the spine needs immediate attention.  Your spine specialists would normally order one or combination of all these labs to fully evaluate your spine and offer the best management.

 

                       - X-Rays

                       - CT Scans

                       - MRI 



        



         

Copyright UPMC Spine Specialists (2012) Manila, Philippines

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Many illustrations in this Web Page were borrowed from open source Netter Anatomical Illustrations and the Sobotta Atlas of Human Anatomy.  However most of the original borrowed illustrations may not be recognized anymore.  Most of them were digitally modified and altered to serve the purposes of discussions and explanations contained within this web.



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