The Spinal Column
The spinal column runs from the top of the neck, extending from the brain to the lower part of the back down to the coccyx. The spine is basically divided into 3 areas:
• the cervical
• the thoracic
• the lumbar
The cervical part of the spine is in the neck area. The spine is comprised of many pieces of bone, and through the spine the spinal column protects the spinal cord, which runs from the brain down to the bottom of the spine and then branches out like lines coming from the power generator that carry electricity from its main source and then branch out from the generating station to the city and then branches out from there to various parts of the city.
Compression Fracture of the Spine
The spinal column is actually made up of soft bone, so sometimes in a traumatic event the person gets a compression fracture of the spine, which means the soft bone is compressed down. A much more serious injury to the spine is when the nerves going down through the spine become injured.
Spinal Column – Discs
Between the various levels of the bone mass in the spine are discs. The discs can be compared to a rubber inner tube or a jelly donut. Within the disc is a mushy material that acts as a shock absorber, and discs give flexibility to the spine. As people get older, the discs become less pliant and become harder and less mushy. That is why it appears that some older people are actually shrinking, because the discs in their back or not as pliant, and they are getting flatter and harder.
A bulging disc is analagous to an inner tube tire with a bulge in it. A bulging disc is when the material inside the disc starts to push through but does not come out of the disc, like a bulge in an inner tube. This can still cause a very serious condition if the bulge is pressing upon the nerve that is exiting from the spinal column at that level of the spinal column. Doctors can usually tell, because they know which nerves come out of which locations in the spinal column and go to what part of the anatomy. So the doctor can usually tell whether or not the bulge is pressing on the nerve by knowing whether or not there is pain in a certain part of the body; whether or not the pain is radiating; and whether there is a loss of sensation or involvement in the motor function.
A herniated or ruptured disc means that the bulge has now opened up and the material inside the disc has actually come out. This tends to be a more serious situation, and frequently involves compression on a nerve that is coming out of that location of the spinal column. Another term that is used is a disc protrusion.
Ordinary X-rays will only show a picture of the hard tissue, i.e., the spinal column or the bones in the arms and the legs and other parts of the anatomy. In order to actually see a picture of the herniated disc or the soft tissue, or things like cancer, the doctor will either have to take a CT scan, PET Scan or an MRI. MRI means magnetic resonance imaging. Your body actually goes inside the MRI machine; the machine bounces through magnets in the machine impulses that are recorded and an actual picture of the soft tissue comes out.
If you or someone close to you has a spinal cord injury, contact an experienced and successful attorney to help assess your rights. With over 29 years of experience, the Simon Law Group will provide a free and confidential consultation when you call 480-745-2450 or click on “Contact Our Firm” and we will E-mail you shortly. Please let us help you during this painful and difficult time.
Remember, Experience Matters!!!