What Is Spinal Trauma?

Trauma refers to an injury caused by a blow to the body. The most common causes of spinal trauma are motor vehicle collisions and falls.

Because spinal trauma most often occurs after a car accident or a fall from great heights, people with spinal trauma usually experience pain in the back or neck; pain, weakness, or numbness in an arm or leg; and paralysis.

Fractures, dislocations, deformity, or spinal cord injury commonly occur with spinal trauma. Other complications include spinal instability — a structural weakening of the spine — and neurological disability.

Risk factors for spinal trauma include:

  • High-speed motor vehicle collisions
  • Falls
  • Increased age
  • Osteoporosis

Because the most common cause of spinal trauma is a motor vehicle accident, young adults and the elderly are the most frequently affected. Minor blows to the spine, however, can further weaken the bones of individuals with osteoporosis or spinal tumors.


Maintaining strong, healthy bones may offer protection in the event of spinal trauma. Otherwise, avoiding high-risk behaviors such as speeding, drinking and driving, diving into shallow water, or climbing high ladders is recommended. Unfortunately, spinal traumas usually can't be predicted or prevented.

We can help

Located in New York City, Mount Sinai Neurosurgery Spine is dedicated to providing the highest level of clinical excellence. From the newest diagnostic studies to the least invasive interventions, we tailor our treatments to each patient's needs.

With an emphasis on comprehensive care, we work with the departments of anesthesia, physiatry, rehabilitation medicine, physical therapy, oncology, and internal medicine to provide the optimal solution for each situation. To schedule an appointment, please call us at 1-800-MD-SINAI (800-637-4624).

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Tel: 1-800-MD-SINAI (800-637-4624)