The spinal column is made up of vertebrae that are linked above and below by facet joints. The thin piece of bone that connects the upper and lower segments of the facet joint is called the pars interarticularis. When the interarticularis is damaged by trauma, such as the impact of a severe car accident, the vertebrae can fracture. This fracture is called spondylolysis. When a vertebra is fractured, a person is at risk for developing spondylolisthesis, which means the front portion of the vertebrae has slipped forward from the back portion of the vertebrae.
The symptoms experienced by those who have spondylolysis include lower back pain and decreased range of motion of the lower back. If the injury has worsened to spondylolisthesis, and a vertebra is pushing forward into the spinal nerves, one can develop numbness, tingling or weakness in the legs.
If a car accident victim is experiencing such symptoms after a crash, a doctor can often diagnose spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis with a simple x-ray. An x-ray taken from the side of a patient's back will show if the vertebra has fractured or slipped forward. Sometimes an MRI or CT scan is necessary to identify very small vertebral fractures that might not show up on an x-ray.
Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis can often be treated with conservative care that allows the vertebral fracture to heal. Anti-inflammatory medication can be helpful in reducing swelling in the area, and doctors frequently prescribe pain killers to ease lower back pain. Physical therapy is frequently prescribed to strengthen the lower back. Sometimes a back brace is necessary to stabilize the lower back as the fracture heals.
In severe cases of spondylolisthesis, surgery can be necessary to repair the injury. Scar tissue can be removed from around the pars interarticularis and bone grafts set in place with screws. Sometimes fusion surgery may be necessary to correct the injury. In fusion surgery, vertebrae are joined together. In some cases the vertebrae are fused in their current position, and in other cases they must be moved back to their original locations before being fused.
Spondylolisis and spondylolisthesis are serious spinal injuries. If you or a loved one in the Mansfield, Fort Worth or Grapevine area have experienced back or neck injuries as the result of another person's negligence, you have the right to be compensated for your medical treatment and pain and suffering. The injury attorneys at the Anderson Law Firm provide FREE initial consultations, so call now for your case evaluation.
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No Health Insurance: How to Obtain the Necessary Medical Treatment After an Accident