The spinal cord is easily the most vital, yet sensitive parts of the body. The spinal cord is important, as its main purpose is as a centerpiece of the central nervous system (CNS). Composed of mainly nerve tissue, the spinal cord is responsible for relaying messages back and forth between the brain and different body parts. Using this relay and response system, the spinal cord is able to directly affect a number of our bodily functions, including our movement breathing, temperature regulation, feeling, and much more. Surrounding the spinal cord are a series of bones known as vertebrae, and intervertebral discs which act as shock absorbers in between our vertebrae. These bones and discs are there to provide our body with its upright structure, facilitate movement and provide protection for the sensitive spinal cord. Considering how vital our vertebrae are to our structure and most of our bodily movements, they can be susceptible to injury and as the years go by, normal wear and tear. According to the top spine surgeon Northern NJ has to offer, Dr. Evan Baird of Comprehensive Spine Care, these injuries can have a drastic effect on our daily lives, however there are a variety of treatments (both surgical and non-surgical) that can help to treat them, as opposed to injuries to the spinal cord itself. As the top spine surgeon, Northern NJ has practicing, Dr. Baird groups vertebral injuries into two main categories, fractures, and dislocations. And within these categories, there are a number of specific injuries that can cause different issues with the spinal cord, as well as the body overall. To better educate you on these possibilities, here are a few of the most common types of vertebral spine injuries.
· Spinal Compression Fractures
When it comes to vertebral spine injuries, compression fractures are likely the most common. This is most commonly a result of an accident or some type of trauma, in which the spinal column is forced downwards and slightly forwards. This causes the vertebra to weaken and sometimes crumple into one another. Generally, those patients who suffer a spinal compression fracture have experienced a loss of bone mass in the vertebrae. As we age, the bones experience normal wear and tear and grow weaker, due to some type of trauma or accident, that downward force causes the vertebrae to crumble into each other.
A dislocation of the spinal vertebra occurs when the surrounding ligaments have been badly stretched or even torn, over time. According to the top spine surgeon Northern NJ, Dr. Evan Baird, this causes the vertebrae to move far more than they should. Due to this additional flexion and movement in the bones, they may begin to slide over one another more and more, eventually causing them to lock in over each other incorrectly. This misalignment in the vertebrae can lead to a host of different issues, including damage to the spinal cord, pain, and improper movement. In order to restore alignment, a combination of a spinal brace and a surgical procedure may be necessary.
Over time, as the joints in the back of the vertebrae grow weaker and weaker, and the surrounding tissue like the ligaments and certain muscles begin to degrade, the vertebrae begin to slide and slip out of place. In doing so, a partial dislocation known as a subluxation occurs, again causing a misalignment of the spinal column – affecting both movement and our structure.
· Burst Fracture
This is by far one of the most severe spinal compression fractures that can affect the spinal column. Due to a severe accident, injury or some type of trauma, the bone may actually shatter completely. These types of vertebral spine injuries can be devastating as when a vertebra fractures completely, it can create jagged bone matter which can pierce the spinal cord or surrounding nerves – leading to loss of movement, paralysis, and other bodily functions.
The vertebrae are vital to our overall spinal health and wellness, without them our bodies would not have the upright structure or the ability to move with the fluidity we do. For more information on all manner of vertebral spine injuries, contact Comprehensive Spine Care today.