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Spinal fractures and dislocations: What to know

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2022 | Personal Injury |

After a serious fall or impact, it’s possible to suffer from a spinal dislocation. A spinal dislocation commonly accompanies damage to the vertebrae, such as a fracture.

The problem with spinal fractures and dislocations is that there is a risk that the injury could place pressure on the spinal cord. In severe cases, the spinal cord could be fully compressed or damaged. As a result, there is a chance that the nerves will be damaged, and the victim could experience paralysis, pain and other symptoms.

Common causes of lumbar dislocations

There are a few common causes of lumbar dislocations including high-impact falls, impacts in sports and motor vehicle collisions. While dislocation injuries are more common in men, they can also affect women.

Recognize the signs of a lumbar dislocation

You may notice a dislocation along the spinal column because of the severity of the symptoms. Symptoms may include:

  • Moderate-to-severe pain around the point of injury
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Neurological symptoms like paralysis or trouble with the bowel

If you have these or other symptoms, then you will need to have medical treatment right away. Through a medical examination, it’s possible to establish the severity of the injury and how the spinal cord has been impacted.

At the hospital, it’s typical to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, X-rays or computerized tomography (CT) scans to determine how severe the injury is and to decide if surgery is necessary. It’s also typical for patients with signs of spinal cord injuries to go through neurological examinations.

What is the expected outcome after a spinal dislocation?

The prognosis for someone with a spinal dislocation will depend on the area of the spine that was damaged and the symptoms related to that dislocation. Someone with little pain or stiffness and no organ involvement may have avoided harming the spinal cord or may be able to fully recover, but someone who has paralysis or organ involvement may never regain full functionality. Early treatment may help mitigate some of those effects, which is why it’s necessary to go to the emergency room as soon as possible after suffering a back injury.