What is Spine Trauma?
Spine trauma is damage to the spine caused from a sudden traumatic injury caused by an accidental fall or any other physical injury. Spinal injuries may occur while playing, performing normal activities, operating heavy machines, lifting heavy objects, driving automobiles, or when you suffer a fall.
Conditions Caused by Spine Trauma
Injury to the spine may cause various conditions including fractures, dislocation, partial misalignment (subluxation), disc compression (herniated disc), hematoma (accumulation of blood) and partial or complete tears of ligaments.
Symptoms of Spine Trauma
The most common symptom of spinal injuries is pain. Spinal injury causes weakness and sensory loss if the spinal nerves are damaged. Symptoms may proceed to paralysis, limited movement, and immobility.
Diagnosis of Spine Trauma
Spinal injuries are diagnosed using spine X-rays and a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the spine.
Treatment of Spine Trauma
The treatment will depend entirely on the specific type and location of the injury. You may be treated with pain medications, epidural injections (injecting into spine), physiotherapy, and surgery. Surgery is recommended when other treatments are a failure or inappropriate. Surgery for spinal condition depends on the type and severity of injury.
Common Surgeries to Treat Spine Trauma
Some of the common spinal surgeries include:
- Coccygectomy – Coccygectomy is a surgical procedure which involves removal of part or entire portion of tailbone (coccyx) present at the end of your spine. It is performed in patients who have persistent tailbone pain due to injury, fall or contact sports and when all other conservative treatments are a failure.
- Spinal decompression – Decompression is a procedure of relieving pressure on one or many “pinched nerves” of the backbone. Spinal decompression is performed by two procedures, microdiscectomy and laminectomy. Microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive procedure which involves removal of a portion of a slipped disc by a surgical instrument or LASER. Laminectomy is a procedure in which a small portion of the roof of the spinal bone is removed to relieve pressure on the pinched nerve.
- Discectomy – It is a surgical procedure performed for the removal of the fragment of slipped disc, also known as bulging disc or herniated disc.
- Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion – Fusion surgery is a surgical procedure where the damaged disc between two vertebrae in the lumbar region of the spine is removed and the vertebrae are fused together.
- Decompression fusion – This is a surgical procedure that includes both decompression and fusion. Decompression relieves the pressure from the spinal cord and/or nerve roots and fusion surgery helps in joining the two vertebrae. This procedure is performed to reduce deformity and stabilization, minimizing neurological injury and early rehabilitation of the spine.
Your spine surgeon may recommend a rehabilitation program to promote complete and faster healing.