Spinal Fractures Associated With Car Accidents

Posted on behalf of Henness & Haight on Feb 24, 2015 in Car Accident News

As Nevada motorists may know, spinal fractures are sometimes a serious consequence of a car accident. Spinal areas often injured are the lumbar and thoracic regions. Certain fracture types are associated with car accidents. The vertebrae that make up the spinal column enclose the spinal cord adding protection. They are held in place by ligaments and tendons. A spinal injury may cause the vertebrae to collapse, pull apart or move away from each other.

The latter scenario is the most serious and destabilizing type of back injuries. The severity of spinal fractures depends on the fracture type and whether or not the fracture puts undue pressure on the spinal cord. Fractures in which one vertebrae is dislocated from adjacent vertebrae destabilize the spine and may injure the spinal cord. An extension fracture causes the front and rear areas of the vertebra to be ripped apart and happens most often in a head-on auto accident.

The body above the pelvis lunges forward while the area below the pelvis is stationary due to a seat belt. Symptoms depend on the fracture type. If the spinal cord is involved, a victim might notice signs of injury along the path innervated by the particular spinal cord segment. Without spinal cord involvement, the most common symptom is pain exacerbated by movement. Treatment may involve surgery or conservative measures aimed at restoring function.

If surgery is involved, rods or pins may be used to maintain stability of the spine. Complications of treatment may include infection, blood clots or pulmonary embolism. Such injuries may require long hospital stays and rehabilitation as well as lost time at work. Assistance from a Las Vegas personal injury attorney might help recover any financial losses that are sustained. The attorney can review accident data to determine fault and, if appropriate, file a personal injury suit seeking appropriate damages.

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