Spine trauma is damage to the spine caused by a sudden traumatic injury from 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. Injury to the spine may cause fractures, dislocation, partial misalignment (subluxation), disc compression (herniated disc), hematoma (accumulation of blood), or partial or complete ligament tears.
The most common symptom of a spinal injury is pain. Spinal injury causes weakness and sensory loss if the spinal nerves get damaged. Symptoms may proceed to paralysis, limited movement and immobility. Spinal injuries are diagnosed using X-rays and a computed tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the spine.
Treatment will depend entirely on the specific type and location of the injury. You may be treated with pain medications, epidural injections (injecting into the spine), physical therapy or surgery. Surgery is recommended when other treatments fail or are inappropriate. Surgery for spinal conditions depends on the type and severity of the injury. Some of the common spinal surgeries include:
- Coccygectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of a part or entire portion of the 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.
- Spinal decompression is a procedure to relieve pressure on one or more “pinched nerves” in the backbone. It is performed by two procedures:
- Microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the 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 a pinched nerve.
- Discectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove a fragment of the slipped disc, also known as bulging disc or herniated disc.
- Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion is a 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 is a surgical procedure that includes both decompression and fusion. Decompression relieves pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots, and fusion surgery helps in joining the two vertebrae. This procedure is performed to reduce deformity and improve stabilization, minimizing neurological injury and early rehabilitation of the spine.
Your spine surgeon may recommend a rehabilitation program to promote complete and faster healing.