The spine is made up of vertebrae which are stacked on top of one another. These are small bones that can become fractured by an accident, diseased or degenerate. The vertebrae create a canal that protects the spinal cord within it. The spinal cord extends from the skull to the lumbar spine (lower back).
Nerves branch out from the spinal cord through openings in the vertebrae and carry messages between the brain and muscles. Sometimes symptoms may be caused by nerve root irritation. The other parts of the spine are the cervical spine (neck) and thoracic spine (the middle back).
The Spinal Cord
The spinal cord ends in the lower back and continues as nerve roots. This bundle of nerve roots is called the cauda equina. They leave the spinal canal through openings in the vertebrae called foramen. Cauda equina syndrome is caused by compression of the nerves. This condition is a medical emergency and failure to diagnose in a timely manner can give rise to a claim for clinical negligence.
Muscles and ligaments provide support and stability for the spine and upper body. These soft tissue structures are also therefore very important and can suffer injury in the event of an accident.
Discs and Rehabilitation
Intervertebral discs sit in between the vertebrae. They are flat and round and act as “shock absorbers”. If a disc has “prolapsed” or slipped (possibly as a result of an accident) this can cause symptoms of sciatica.
In cases of spinal injury rehabilitation may assist in aiding recovery. A multi-disciplinary approach is often taken by rehabilitation providers such as Papworth Trust to provide vocational and psychological support if required as well as standard conservative treatment options such as physiotherapy.
Rehabilitation costs may be capable of being obtained by way of interim payment by the compensating insurance company or other organisation.