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How is a spinal fracture diagnosed?

Do you have reason to believe you have suffered a spinal cord injury? For example, this often happens if you are involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, such as one in which your vehicle is struck from behind.

If you experience back pain after an accident, don't hesitate to seek medical assistance. Generally speaking, it's best to contact an ambulance so that your spine can be stabilized as you are transported to a local hospital for examination and treatment.

Once a doctor assesses your current condition, he or she may order a variety of tests. All of these are meant to give them a better idea of the type of injury you've suffered:

-- X-ray. This displays a detailed view of the bony vertebrae that make up your spine. This can clearly show your medical team if there is a fracture.

-- CT scan. This noninvasive test makes a two dimensional image of your spine. Once again, it helps show any changes in the bony structures of your spine.

-- MRI. This test is different than others as it clearly displays both discs and nerves. This is often times necessary if your doctor wants to evaluate you for potential soft tissue damage.

These are three of the most common tests used to diagnose a spinal fracture. Once your medical team knows what type of injury you're dealing with, they can then explain your treatment options.

Due to the severity of a spinal cord injury, you should not hesitate to also learn more about your legal rights. If somebody caused the accident that lead to your injury, you may be able to seek compensation.

Source: Mayfield Brain & Spine, "Spinal fractures," accessed April 21, 2017

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