Head and Spinal Injuries Florida

Sharpe P.A. has successfully litigated hundreds of cases involving head and/or spinal injuries.

Our experience with spinal injuries range all the way from quadriplegia to simple disc herniations.

A spinal injury or head injury may result from a motor vehicle accident, a slip and fall, an object crashing down upon a person, a bicycling or pedestrian accident, boating accidents, diving accident, etc.

No matter how the injury occurred, it can make a devastating impact on a person’s life.

In most cases, an injury to the spinal cord may also result in severe head pain. These occipital discogenic headache patterns are usually linked to a spinal injury. Also present, may be severe pain that radiates into the upper and/ or lower extremities, linked with injuries to the spine.

For a person without a medical background, it can be intimidating to hear medical terms associated with an unfamiliar injury. In order to help our clients better understand their spinal injuries, please see below a glossary of medical terms commonly associated with spinal anatomy. This list is by no way complete or intended to substitute competent medical advice and treatment.

SPINAL ANATOMY - Glossary of Terms
Annulus fibrosis – tough fibrous ring around the disc.
Anterior – From the front of the body.
Anterior Column – The front 3/4 of the vertebral body and disc. The column classification is used to determine the stability of the spine.
Autogenous Bone – bone originating from the same individual; i.e., a patient’s own bone.
Autograft Bone – bone transplanted from one part to another part of the body in the same individual.
Bone Morphogenic Protein (BMP) – naturally occurring chemicals in the body- that play a major role in bone growth. BMP-like products are proteins that enhance mineralization and which can increase bone formation during fusion operation.
Bone spurs – also called osteophytes (please see below)
Bulge of the disc: the form or position of the disc changes with some slight impingement into the spinal canal. Also called a prolapse or protrusion.
Cervical – Referring to the neck, the top seven vertebrae of the spine.
Corpectomy – Removal of the vertebral body, usually to remove pressure off of the spinal nerves.
Degeneration of the disc: chemical changes associated with aging causes discs to weaken, but without a herniation. These changes can be seen on MRI scans, and are usually asymptomatic.
Diagnostic tests – include MRI, X-ray, CT scan, bone scan, discogram, myelogram.
Disc (also spelled Disk) – the structure between the vertebral bodies.
Discectomy – removal of the disc.
Extrusion of the disc: the gel-like nucleus pulposus breaks through the tire-like wall (annulus fibrosus) but remains within the disc.
Foraminotomy – opening of the foramen where the nerve exits.
Kyphosis – roundback (when viewed from the side). The thoracic spine is normally kyphotic.
Laminectomy – removal of the lamina.
Laminotomy – partial removal of the lamina.
Lordosis – swayback (when viewed from the side). The cervical and lumbar spines are normally lordotic.
Middle Column – the posterior portion of the vertebral body and disc (as defined by a study by Denis). The column classification is used to determine the stability of the spine.
Myelopathy – spinal cord dysfunction usually caused by compression. Signs include hyperreflexia (heightened reflexes), balance difficulties, dropping items and lack of coordination, and bowel and bladder dysfunction.
Natural History – what the patient’s outcome would be in given disease or condition without intervention (naturally).
Nucleus Pulposus – the soft inner core of the disc.
Neuroforamina – the tunnels where the nerve exists from the spinal canal to the arms and legs.
Osteophyte – bone spur.
Pars Interarticularis – a posterior bony structure between two adjacent facet joints in the lumbar spine. This structure is stressed and may fracture with extension and rotation of the lumbar spine.
Postlaminectomy spondylolisthesis – a slipped vertebral body which occurs post-operatively, if the remaining bones are not strong enough to support the spine.
Posterior – from the back of the body.
Posterior Column – the facet joint, lamina, pars, spinous process, and adjoining ligaments. The column classification is used to determine the stability of the spine.
Posterior Longitudinal Ligament – ligament between the vertebral body and discs in front, and the spinal cord or nerve sac in back.
Prolapse of the disc: the form or position of the disc changes with some slight impingement into the spinal canal. Also called a bulge or protrusion.
Protrusion of the disc: the form or position of the disc changes with some slight impingement into the spinal canal. Also called a prolapse or bulge.
Pseudoarthrosis – lack or failure of fusion.
Radiculopathy – arm or leg pain being caused by nerve impingement or irritation.
Radicular – pain radiating down the arms or legs.
Scoliosis – curvature of the spine when viewed from the front or back. The curvature is usually associated with rotation of the vertebral bodies.
Sequestration or Sequestered Disc: the nucleus pulposus breaks through the annulus fibrosus and lies outside the disc in the spinal canal (HNP).
Stenosis – tightness and compression of the spinal cord, nerve roots, or dural sac.
Strut graft – A long piece of bone or cage that is inserted into the space created by corpectomy to support (struts) the anterior column of the spine.
Spondylolisthesis – the slipping of one vertebra onto another.
Spondylolysis – a defect in the pars interarticularis.

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