The lumbar spine is injured in a variety of ways. Injuries can be grouped as extension injuries, flexion injuries, rotational injuries and compressive injuries. The all apply different stresses to the bones that compose the lumbar spine. The area most commonly fractured is the upper part of the lumbar spine. The mechanics of this region, where the thoracic spine acts as a single unit due to the rib attachments, results in great stress being placed on the upper lumbar spine. Compression or burst fractures commonly occur in that area as downward force causes the vertebral body to compress and explode. Unfortunately, burst fractures may frequently be associated with the development of neurological injuries. Many of these fractures are unstable. That is, additional stress from movement may cause displacement of the spine that might damage the neurological structures.
Causes of Lumbar Spine, Fracture Or Subluxation
The majority of lumbar spine fractures and dislocations are caused by trauma. A small percentage are pathological, that is, they occur because of weakening of the bones. This can result from cancer, infection or osteoporosis.
Signs and Symptoms of Lumbar Spine, Fracture Or Subluxation
Pain over the damaged area is the most frequent symptom. It is often associated with swelling and bruising of the area. Spinal deformity may be obvious, particularly in burst fractures of the lumbar spine. Varying degrees of weakness, numbness or bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction will be present. The trauma of the upper lumbar spine can damage the kidneys, pancreas and duodenum. Blood in the urine can occur. Nausea and vomiting and bowel obstruction can occur. Traumatic pancreatitis can lead to upper abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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