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Types of Spinal Injuries and Their Treatment

Posted on March 4, 2015

On behalf of Charles Bryan Alred, PC posted in Car Accidents on Wednesday, March 4, 2015.

Oklahoma residents who have suffered from spinal injuries in car accident often have questions about their treatment. The type of treatment they receive depends on the type of fracture they suffered and their symptoms.

The three primary types of spinal fractures include flexion fractures, extension fractures and rotation fractures. Each type can occur in a car accident. Compression fractures are a type of flexion fracture that involve a break in the front part of the vertebra while the rear part does not break. Distraction fractures, a type of extension fracture, typically occur in head-on car accidents when the upper body moves forward rapidly while the lower body is held in place by the lap belt. Distraction fractures involve vertebrae that are completely pulled apart. Transverse process fractures, a type of rotation fracture, are uncommon, occurring when the body bends sideways. Fracture-dislocations, another rotation fracture, often result in spinal cord compression, occurring when the vertebra is displaced from the spine.

People with spinal injuries most commonly experience moderate to severe pain in their back that intensifies when they move. They may also experience numbness, weakness, tingling and problems with the bowel or bladder. Depending on the type of fracture and whether the spinal cord is affected, people may need back braces, spinal decompression, physical therapy or surgery. Surgery may be delayed for severe spinal injuries such as fracture-dislocations when they are accompanied by other life-threatening injuries. These unstable injuries may result in severe spinal cord damage if surgery is delayed.

Severe spinal injuries are often life-changing experiences, often leaving car accident victims with disabilities and in need of in-home accommodations and ongoing medical care. A personal injury attorney can assist a victim in pursuing available remedies against the party responsible for the accident.

Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “Fractures of the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine”, February 2010

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