Types of Injuries:
When you are involved in any type of accident, countless different types of injuries can result. Your physician may send you for a number of different tests and may recommend surgery. This page is intended to discuss various types of personal injury and the options for treatment. This is not meant to replace the advice of your physician. If you have questions about your health, please be sure to contact your physician with those questions.
Strain – an injury that affect muscles or tendons, thick bands that attach muscles to bones. It occurs in response to a quick tear, twist, or pull of the muscle. Strains are a type of injury that results from overstretching or over contraction. Pain, weakness, and muscle spasms are common symptoms experienced after a strain occurs.
Sprain – an injury that, instead of tendons, affects ligaments. Ligaments is made up of the cartilage that attaches one piece of bone to another bone. When this cartilage tears, it is known as a sprain. Sprains are typically suffered as a result of some sort of trauma. A person who has experienced a sprain may feel pain, swelling or bruising.
Rotator cuff tear – the rotator “cuff” is really several tendons that are arranged in a way to support the shoulder joint itself. The shoulder has several muscles that work together to move the shoulder joint in various ways. Each tendon is attached to a different muscle that is responsible for moving the shoulder joint. The shoulder can move inward, away from the body, up, and down. If the group of tendons, or the “cuff” is damaged, any movement to the shoulder can cause pain.
Whiplash – Hyperextension (over-extension) injury to the neck, often the result of being struck from behind, as by a fast-moving vehicle in a car accident. The mechanics of whiplash injury are thought to be as follows: The victim may be first pushed or accelerated forward, pushing the body forward, but the head remains behind momentarily, rocking up and back, and some muscles and ligaments may be stretched or torn. These muscles, in a reflex action, contract to bring the head forward again, to prevent excessive injury. There may be overcompensation when the head is traveling in a forward direction as the vehicle decelerates. This may move the head violently forward, damaging more muscles and ligaments.
Herniated disc – According to the Mayo Clinic, the spine is made up of bones (vertebrae) cushioned by small oval pads of cartilage or disks consisting of a tough outer layer (annulus) and a soft inner layer similar to jelly (nucleus). When a herniated disk occurs, a small portion of the nucleus pushes out through a tear in the annulus into the spinal canal. This can irritate a nerve and result in pain, numbness or weakness in the back as well as the leg or arm.
Bulging disc – the jelly portion of the disc is pushed outward but remains in place.
Sciatica – refers to pain or discomfort associated with the sciatic nerve. This nerve runs from the lower part of the spinal cord, down the back of the leg, to the foot. Injury to or pressure on the sciatic nerve can cause the characteristic pain of sciatica: a sharp or burning pain that radiates from the lower back or hip, possibly following the path of the sciatic nerve to the foot.
Stenosis – the narrowing of the spinal canal.
Spondylosis – destruction of the joints and disks located between the bones in the neck or back. The swelling and collapse of the disk can place pressure on the nerves that pass between the bones of the neck or back. This can result in malfunction of the nerves that control the arms and legs.
Spondylolisthesis – forward movement of one vertebrae onto the vertebrae below it.
Carpal tunnel – the carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway located on the palm side of the wrist. This tunnel protects a main nerve to the hand and nine tendons that bend the fingers. Pressure placed on the nerve produces the numbness, pain and, eventually, hand weakness that characterize carpal tunnel syndrome.
X-ray – testing used to show bone structure and deformities.
MRI – a test that produces three-dimensional images of body structures using powerful magnets and computer technology. It shows soft tissue structures even better than CAT scans. It can show the spinal cord, nerve roots and surrounding areas.
CT/CAT scan – a computer is used to create an image from x-rays. It can show the shape and size of the spinal canal and its content. Ct scans can show the soft tissue structures.
Myelogram – an x-ray of the spinal canal following an injection of a contrast material. The use of the contrast dye can reveal pressure on the spinal cord, herniated discs and bone spurs.
Electromyogram/Nerve Conduction Study – used to measure the electrical impulse along nerve roots and muscle tissue. The test will indicate if there is ongoing nerve damages or if the nerves are healing.
Discogram/discography – a procedure in which dye is injected into one of the vertebral discs and viewed. The goal of the test is to pinpoint which disc is causing the pain.
Bone Scan – creates computer images of bones. A very small amount of radioactive material is injected into a blood vessel and throughout the blood stream. This dye is collected in the bones and detected by a scanner. The test is used to detect spinal problems such as arthritis or a fracture.
Chemonucleolysis – treatment of an intervertebral disc that consists of an injection of chymopapain, a drug that dissolves part of the disc.
IDET – a procedure designed to relieve the pain of certain disk problems, in which a heated catheter, inserted via a needle placed in the affected disk, sears or cauterizes the nerve fibers along the disk wall.
Discectomy – a surgical procedure that involves removing damaged disc material from between the vertebrae.
Laminectomy – the surgical removal of the bony arches on one or more vertebrae.
Fusion – when two or more vertebrae are fused together to provide stability.
Arthroplasty – the surgical reconstruction or replacement of a malformed or degenerated joint.
Disc replacement – replaces the entire function of the diseased or damaged intervertabral disc of the spinal column with a man-made device.
Nucleoplasty – a technique used to reduce pressure inside the damaged disc.