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Spinal Stabilization After a Car Accident

After a car accident, it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible in case of a spinal injury. Without spinal stability, the healing process will take longer or be ineffective.

Further, if you sustain a spine-related injury during a car accident, such as a slipped disc or ligament tear, these injuries are prone to degeneration at a rapid pace. Any spinal auto accident injury that becomes unstable will require spinal stabilization to protect the injured area so it can heal.

Your friends at Impact Med Sun City Center discuss spinal stabilization and what to expect during the healing process after a car accident.

Spinal Injuries After an Accident

The spine is the support system for your entire body and allows you to sit, stand, walk, bend, and twist. The spine is composed of:

  • 33 small vertebrae bones that form the spinal canal, an opening that contains the spinal cord and protects it from injury.
  • Intervertebral discs are flat round cushions that separate each vertebra and act as shock absorbers. A disc can tear or herniate causing some of the gel inside the discs to leak out. These herniated discs can be quite painful and will limit your movement.
  • Nerves run through the spinal canal to the skull from the lower back.

What is Spinal Stabilization?

Spinal stabilization is also known as spinal immobilization and is necessary for patients who are suffering from instability in their spine due to a car accident. The degree of spinal stabilization will depend on the severity of the injury and the patient’s pain level.

Spinal stabilization or fusion may be used in instances of fractured vertebrae or herniated discs. Spinal stabilization permanently connects two or more vertebrae, thus eliminating the discs and ending their motion.

For car accident victims, this can improve the spine’s stability and decrease pain. However, it must be noted that it can put more stress on other parts of your back and can cause long-lasting problems there.

What Does Stabilization Involve?

Stabilization is called immobilization for good reason. Spinal stabilization involves installing hardware and bone grafts to fuse segments of the spine. This can be done to treat injuries sustained in a car accident such as herniated discs.

Spine injury requiring stabilization can include:

  • Blunt force trauma from a car accident
  • Trauma sustained during a fall, leading to spinal fractures or spinal compression
  • Spinal fractures due to bone loss
  • Trauma sustained from a gunshot

How is Stabilization Achieved?

There are several ways that a spine can be stabilized, and all of them require surgery, though less invasive treatments are also available including laparoscopic surgery.

Laparoscopic surgery combines the use of noninvasive techniques and tools which allow the surgeon to make smaller incisions, resulting in a quicker recovery time and less pain.

When done laparoscopically, spinal stabilization enters the spine and removes any debris from the injury site. Nerves are repositioned to allow for decompression, and then the surgeon will graft donor bone to the vertebra where healing is needed.

To secure the donor bone during the healing process, the surgeon will use hardware such as rods or wires, hooks, or screws.

What is Interventional Pain Management?

If you’d like to forgo getting spinal surgery, interventional pain management can be an option depending on your injuries to reduce pain and improve your mobility. These treatments are minimally invasive and can be used by patients who have tried other unsuccessful therapies.

These treatments can include:

  • Cervical/thoracic/lumbar discography
  • Cervical/thoracic/lumbar epidural steroid injections
  • Cervical/thoracic/lumbar facet injections
  • Cervical/thoracic/lumbar radiofrequency ablations
  • Percutaneous discectomy
  • Selective root nerve blocks
  • And more!

Healing After a Car Accident

If you are suffering from spinal pain and mobility problems following a car accident, our team at Impact Med Sun City Center can help. From interventional pain management to chiropractic care and physical therapy, we can help you heal and regain mobility in your spine, perhaps avoiding spinal stabilization surgery altogether.

Move forward after a car accident with compassionate care from Impact Medical Group in Sun City Center. Call us today to schedule an appointment; 813-938-5195!