Spinal Injuries, Explained

For a start it is worth remembering a little bit of anatomy. The spinal column consists of relatively small individual bones – vertebrae located one above the other. Between the bodies of the vertebrae are the disks, due to which the axial load is softened. Paired processes form joints with the following vertebrae. Also attached to the processes are muscles and ligaments that strengthen the spine and ensure its movement.

Located one above the other holes in the vertebrae form the vertebral canal – a container for the spinal cord

The spinal cord is a continuation of the brain and consists of nerve fibers, through which commands from the brain go to our organs and muscles, and information from sensitive receptors, on the contrary, goes from the periphery to the central nervous system for processing. Despite its protective role and the strength of nature, the spine (and with it the spinal cord) is subject to damage. The reasons for this can be divided into two groups. For Spinal injuries / surgeries these are the best deal.


They cause up to 90% of all spinal injuries. Most often these are injuries from traffic accidents, with more than 30% of such cases involving alcohol or prohibited substances. Also a large percentage of traumatic spinal injuries occur as a result of falls from a height. This also includes “diver’s injury” – a typical injury of the cervical spine. Not fewer spinal injuries are due to violent causes (for example, gunshot wounds).

Non-traumatic causes

Occupy a smaller proportion compared with traumatic, but in recent years there has been an increase in the number of such cases. Non-traumatic causes include tumors of various nature, including hemangiomas, hematopoietic system tumors, bone metastases. The destruction of the vertebrae is possible due to degenerative changes, such as osteochondrosis or osteoporosis, which often develop with age. There are vascular and autoimmune damage. In some cases, the cause may be an infection (bone form of tuberculosis). According to statistics, men are subject to spinal injuries two times more than women, peak risk ages – 15-29 years and from 60 years.

Types of spinal injuries

You need to understand that not all spinal injuries automatically mean spinal cord injury. There are also situations in which the spinal cord is affected without spinal disruption. However, doctors most often encounter a spinal injury (PSMT), a combination of back and spinal injury with damage to the spinal cord. There are many PSMT classifications used in traumatology and neurosurgery. Consider the main options. Depending on the degree of violation of the integrity of soft tissues and skin, there may be open and closed spinal injury. According to the level of damage, spinal injuries can be divided into injuries of the cervical, thoracic, lumbar or sacral spine. With the defeat of several zones they say about multi-level damage. If several vertebrae are affected at once, the damage is multiple.

Spinal injuries can be of different types:

Bruises, dislocations, sprains, fractures . All these damages can be combined with each other, worsening the condition of the victim and making it difficult to make a correct diagnosis. Spinal injury affects only the soft tissues (subcutaneous tissue, blood vessels), occurs with a short-term action of damaging force. Distortions, or stretching, are caused by prolonged exposure to a pulling force exceeding the physiological one, and affect muscles, tendons, ligaments.

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