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Common fractures of the spine

Some Ohio residents may know a person who has suffered a spinal fracture in a car accident or while on the job. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the most common locations for spinal fractures are in the lower back, or lumbar spine, the mid-back, or thoracic, and at the connection between the two, also known as the thoracolumbar junction. These types of fractures are usually caused by high-velocity impacts, such as falls from heights or in a car accident.

Men are four times more likely than women to suffer fractures of the lumbar or thoracic spine. Older people are also at a higher risk for these types of fractures, as they are prone to osteoporosis. There are several different classifications for spinal fractures. Physicians classify these injuries based on whether the spinal cord has been injured and the fracture pattern of the injury.

The main symptom of a fractured spine is severe to moderate back pain that is exacerbated by movement. If the spinal cord has been compressed by the injury, the victim may also experience bowel or bladder dysfunction, weakness, tingling or numbness. Since a spinal fracture is often caused by a high-velocity impact, it is likely that the person will have additional injuries.

The impact of a spinal injury could be severe and life-long. A victim who loses some functionality due to compression of the spinal cord may not be able to return to work for an extended period of time. If the injury is due to a motor vehicle accident that was caused by a negligent driver, the victim may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. A personal injury lawyer can help in determining the amount and nature of damages to be sought.

Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, "Fractures of the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine", February 2010

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