Minor Trauma Does not Cause Serious Low Back Problems

Minor Trauma Does not Cause Serious Low Back Problems

Minor Trauma Does not Cause Serious Low Back Problems

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People come to the Doctor’s office because they have concerns that they caused a major low back problem with a minor traumatic event.  Luckily,  the research shows that Minor Trauma does not lead to a permanent change to the spine.

The study was performed at Stanford University by Carragee et al.   There were 200 volunteers.  The average age was 39 years.  27% were smokers.  76% had disk degeneration findings on MRI.  13% had moderate to servere spinal stenosis.  All had no know prior history of back pain.

Major Injuries were defined as back pain episodes associated with high-energy trauma that resulted in visceral injury (bowels,  bladder, etc), long bone fractures,  or pelvic or spine fracture or dislocation.

Minor Injuries,  or Minor Trauma was injuries that report a pain scale of >2/10, lasting more than 48 hours, but not meeting the criterion for a Major injury, outlined above.   Minor Trauma examples included lifting injuries,  falls,  sports injuries,  and road traffic accidents that did not meet the Major Injury catagory.

The study identified people who were at risk for degenerative lumbar disk disease,  but had no history of low back pain episodes.    All study volunteers were then examined with x-rays, MRI’s and physical examinations.  All volunteers were followed every six months to see if these people who were at risk for have lumbar disk disease would have a significant change in there spine with minor trauma.   After the traumatic episode,  the spines were again examined,  and MRI’ed.

By definition,  a serious back pain episode was defined as having a pain scale >6/10 lasting at least a week with disability from the usual occupation.

The results showed minor trauma was NOT associated with a significant adverse Low back pain event.  For each 6 months in the study,  the volunteers demonstrated a 2.1% risk of developing a serious low back pain episode without any trauma.  After a minor trauma,  2.4% developed a serious low back pain episode.

Followup MRI’s evaluating new serious low back pain rarely demonstrated any significant structural changes in the MRI.

The study concluded that Minor Trauma does not appear to increase the risk of serious low back pain episodes or disability.  Over all good news!  Even with an episode of increased back pain,  minor trauma does not cause a significant structural change to a spine.  

Citations

  • Carragee E, Alamin T, Cheng I, Franklin T, Hurwitz E. Does minor trauma cause serious low back illness? Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2006 Dec 1;31(25):2942-9. PubMed PMID: 17139225

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Author and Contributor to www.Spine-Health.com – July, 2015

www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

Board Member Morton Plant Mease Research Council

Co-Director of Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.

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2016 Spine Surgeons to Know list – January 2016

2014 Spine Specialists to know list – September 2014

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The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
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