Injuries to the Spinal Cord and Vertebrae

A lot of spinal cord injuries result from motor vehicle crashes, slip and falls and NYPD police assaults.

  • Symptoms, such as the resultant loss of sensation, loss of muscle strength and loss of bowel, bladder and sexual function may be temporary or permanent.
  • MRI’s are the best way to identify these types of injuries;
  • Treatment may involve immobilization of the spine, prescription drugs to alleviate pain and may sometimes even necessitate surgical intervention.

The spine is made up of twenty-four vertebrae, plus the sacrum. The vertebrae support much of the body’s weight and are therefore under a lot of constant pressure. Disks of cartilage between each backbone help cushion and protect the bones. The spine forms a protective canal of bone in which the spinal cord is encased.

The spine is a long, fragile tubelike structure that begins at the end of the brain stem and continues down to the lower part of the spine. The spinal cord consists of nerves that carry incoming and outgoing messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

Spinal injuries are known to affect the bones of the spine, the spinal cord and the roots of the spinal nerves which pass through the spaces between the vertebrae. The bundle of nerve roots that extend downward from the end of the spinal cord may also be injured in an NYC auto accident or as the result of police brutality. Injuries to the spinal cord can cause nerve damage or dysfunction in the following ways:

  • Blunt force trauma, such as a car accident or police brutality;
  • Pressure from broken bones, swelling or an excessive accumulation of blood;
  • Partial or complete tears.

Because the spinal cord is surrounded and protected by the spine, injuries of the spine or its connective tissue, such as disks and ligaments, can also injure the spinal cord. Such injuries include the following:

  • Fractures;
  • Complete dislocation of vertebrae;
  • Misalignment of adjacent vertebrae;
  • Loosened ligament attachments between adjacent vertebrae.

If ligaments are loosened too much, they may allow the vertebrae to move freely. These are unstable types of injuries. When vertebrae move, they can compress the spinal cord or its blood supply and damage spinal nerve roots. An unstable injury to the spine may not damage the spinal cord immediately. For example, the injury may cause spasms of muscles supporting the spine that prevent the vertebrae from moving much. However, after hours or days, muscle spasms may subside, enabling the vertebrae to move freely, which can damage the spinal cord.

If you were involved in an auto accident, or were mistreated by police and suffered spinal cord injuries, contact NYC car accident lawyer Michael J. Redenburg at 212-240-9465 for a free, no obligation consultation.