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Spinal Fractures and Cervical Sprain

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Spinal Fractures and Cervical Sprain

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A spinal fracture, cervical sprain, or other related injury may significantly impact the life of an injured party. Whether it resulted from a slip-and-fall accident, motor vehicle collision, or another incident, the right attorney can assist in these matters. At our personal injury law firm, we take the time to get to know our clients, their stories, and the impact that accident-related injuries have had on their lives. Call an experienced and compassionate California personal injury lawyer from our office today to receive free, friendly case advice and understand your potential options moving forward.

What are Spinal Fractures?

Fractures occurring in the lumbar and thoracic spine are often the result of high-energy trauma events, like sports-related accidents, falls from great heights, and motor vehicle crashes. They may also occur due to violence, like gunshot wounds. In most cases, spinal fracture patients have associated injuries that require emergency treatment. The nerves and spinal cord may also be damaged based on the severity of the spinal fracture. They may also be caused by tumors, osteoporosis, and other underlying health conditions that cause low bone density.

The severity of spinal fractures may greatly differ. High-energy trauma may cause severe spinal fractures requiring emergency care. Other cases may occur because of a low-impact incident, such as osteoporotic fractures due to minor slip-and-fall accidents. This may occur when osteoporosis weakens the bones and predisposes an individual to bone fractures. If a spinal fracture occurs due to osteoporosis, a patient may be at an increased risk of future fractures. During treatment and recovery, a physician will suggest treatments to manage bone density loss to prevent osteoporotic fractures in the future.

Most spinal fractures occur in the thoracolumbar junction, lumbar spine, or thoracic spine. The appropriate course of treatment will depend on how severe the spinal fracture is and if the patient sustained other injuries in the incident. If a spinal fracture is left untreated, spinal fractures may lead to paralysis, nerve damage, and complete spinal cord injury. Conversely, while a cervical sprain is not usually a severe injury, it may lead to debilitating pain and other symptoms that may last for months or even years. In some extreme cases, untreated cervical sprain may result in spinal misalignment.

What Are the Types of Patterns in Spinal Fracture Cases?

Spinal fractures may come in various types. The general classification of fractures of the lumbar and thoracic spine is dependent on the specific pattern and if it is accompanied by a spinal cord injury. Fracture pattern classification can assist a physician in determining the appropriate course of treatment. The major pattern types in spinal fracture cases include rotation, flexion, and extension. Of these types, the fracture is categorized as stable or unstable.

What Are the Symptoms of a Spinal Fracture?

Moderate or severe pain in the back that worsens with movement may indicate a fracture of the lumbar or thoracic spine. If a fracture involves nerves or the spinal cord, patients may experience weakness, tingling, and numbness in the limbs in addition to bladder or bowel dysfunction. Patients may also report uncontrolled muscle spasms. If the spinal fracture is due to a high-energy injury mechanism, the patient may have also experienced a loss of consciousness and traumatic brain injury. This is common in traffic collisions.

When spinal fractures are untreated, abnormal healing of the vertebra may occur. Spinal misalignment may put stress on other muscles and joints. Patients may experience pain with lifting or walking due to poor posture. Other consequences of untreated spinal fractures may include increased risk of additional fractures for osteoporosis patients, chronic fatigue and back pain, sleep disorders, decreased activity, loss of balance, reduced mobility, and more. As such, immediate treatment and rehabilitation is recommended in spinal fracture cases.

How is a Fracture of the Lumbar or Thoracic Spine Treated?

Treatment of a spinal fracture will be based on whether it is accompanied by a neurological injury, the specific pattern of the fracture, and other injuries and their course of treatment. Once a patient has been stabilized, the physician will evaluate the specific pattern of the spinal fracture and determine if surgical management is necessary. Non-surgical management is indicated for most cases of flexion injuries, including osteoporotic compression fractures and stable burst fractures. Treatment will include bracing for six to twelve weeks.

Surgical management may be indicated for patients with unstable burst fractures. This will be based on whether the patient has spine instability due to spinal ligament damage, severe nerve damage because of parts of the vertebral disk or body pinching the spinal cord, excessive angulation at the site of injury, comminution, and vertebral height loss. Unstable burst fractures with nerve damage usually require laminectomy to decompress the spine. Following the procedure, the physician will place screws above and below the fracture or reconstruct the damaged bone to stabilize the fracture.

Surgical management is intended to achieve fracture stabilization, pressure relief on the nerves and spinal cord, facilitate early movement, and achieve sufficient reduction from proper realignment of the bones into their original position. The physician may perform the surgical procedure through a posterior, lateral, or anterior approach. In some cases, a combination of the three approaches may be indicated for some spinal fracture patients. Rods, metal screws, and other types of specialized instruments may be utilized in the surgical treatment of a spinal fracture.

What Are the Complications of a Spinal Fracture?

Fractures of the lumbar and thoracic spine may lead to potential complications. This may include pressure ulcers, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, and blood clots in the legs and pelvis. Symptoms that may occur due to surgical management of spinal fractures include wound complications, nonunion, failure of specialized instruments, spinal fluid leakage, infection, and bleeding. A physician will evaluate a spinal fracture case, advise the patient of the potential risks, and take appropriate measures, including early management, proper technique for surgery, and post-operative treatments.

Cervical Sprain From Motor Vehicle Accidents

Traffic crashes are a common cause of cervical injury, particularly in cases involving rear-end collisions. The trauma is attributed to the cervical spine and head undergoing sudden biphasic movement from the impact of the car accident. This may lead to musculoskeletal pain from the resulting injury. The common symptoms of cervical sprain, or whiplash, are tenderness, stiffness, and pain in the neck. This may occur within hours of the incident. In some cases, cervical sprain may become chronic. The symptoms of cervical sprain generally improve with conservative management.

Can You Seek Compensation for Injuries From a Car Accident?

When cervical sprain, spinal fractures, or other types of injuries occur due to a traffic collision caused by a negligent individual or entity, the injured party may file a claim against the opposing party to seek reimbursement for losses incurred. Various elements must be shown to bring a successful case forward. This includes demonstrating that the opposing party owed a duty of care to the injured party, the other side breached their duty of care, the breach of their duty directly caused the incident, and the accident resulted in serious consequences, or damages, for the claimant.

Dealing with difficult insurers after a traffic collision may be challenging. Most insurance carriers are focused on protecting profit margins. As such, insurance companies may use defense tactics to avoid paying claimants what they deserve. If you need assistance seeking the full compensation you need to cover medical bills, wage loss, and other damages from a spinal fracture, cervical sprain, or other accident-related injuries, start by retaining legal counsel immediately. An attorney from AutoAccident.com is available to review your potential case in a free consultation today.

Discuss Your Spinal Fracture Case With a California Personal Injury Lawyer

When you suffer a cervical sprain, spinal fracture, or other injuries in a motor vehicle crash, protecting your future is important. This is especially true when significant wage loss, mounting medical bills, and other losses are involved. An experienced California personal injury lawyer can provide immediate support following a crash by protecting your rights, guiding you through the legal process, and helping you seek the full compensation you deserve. Do not hesitate to contact an attorney. Start today and receive free, friendly advice from our legal team at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

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