Spinal Trauma

As always, what is considered ‘significant’ is contentious. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that 10% of major head injuries will have a concurrent spinal injury - Mike Cadogan

Spinal Trauma

image by: Trifon Papadopoulos

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Trauma! Spinal Injury

If pain is the only symptom, I generally take into account patient factors (e.g. age) and suspicion based on mechanism. If I have a low degree of suspicion of significant injury I will provide analgesia and re-examine after a period of observation. Often the patient’s symptoms resolve and specific imaging is unnecessary. Avoid using this approach in the presence of distracting injuries or an altered mental state.

Note that significant thoracolumbar spinal injury can be present in the absence of midline tenderness.

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 Trauma! Spinal Injury

As always, what is considered ‘significant’ is contentious. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that 10% of major head injuries will have a concurrent spinal injury.

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