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Personal Injury Medical Terms Part III – Spinal Glossary (D-Q)

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Spinal Glossary

Personal Injury Medical Terms Part III – Spinal Glossary (D-Q)

By: Heath C. Murphy +Personal Injury

This is Part III of VI in my Personal Injury Medical Terms Glossary. When I began this blog I envisioned a 3 part series, but as I began brainstorming the list of injuries and medical terms related to those injuries I was amazed at how quickly the list grew. I ended up filling up two legal pages with just some of the more common terms and I am sure that I forgot many of important terms. If anyone reads this and finds that I am missing a word they think should be in this glossary, let me know and I will add it. After I finish the entire glossary I intend to combine the individual blogs and create one large page for it on the website.

If you read yesterday’s blog you can skip this paragraph, but it might be helpful to understanding some of the definitions included in this segment of the glossary. Prior to providing a list of specific medical terms, I am going to attempt to provide an easy to digest overview of the back. Your spinal column consists of 31 vertebrae which are bones stacked upon one another which house and protect the spinal canal. The individual vertebrae in the vertebral column are separated by discs. The discs in your spine allow for movement and act as shock absorbers. Each disc is made up of a center portion of a gel like material which is surrounded fibrous material that keeps the gel in place. Think of a jelly doughnut. The jelly is the nucleus and the surrounding doughnut is the annulus. If the doughnut is compressed the jelly will move to the edges and out of the center where it belongs.

Flexion Compression Fracture

This type of fracture more commonly occurs at T1 and L1 vertebral bodies and typically involves some loss of vertebral height. X-rays are utilized to determine the stability of the fracture. If the middle and posterior columns are intact, the fracture is thought to be stable and treated with conservative measures.

Flexion Distraction Fracture

This is also referred to as a Chance Fracture. It is often the result of a car accident when a seat belt is utilized. All three columns of the vertebral body are involved with possible injury to the disc, ligaments and the bone. It is an unstable fracture that requires immediate medical evaluation and stabilization.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc is medical condition in which a tear in the annulus fibrosus allows the nucleus pulposus to escape. If we go back to the jelly doughnut example, a herniated disc describes a condition in which the jelly escapes the doughnut.

Invertebral Disc

Invertebral discs lie between adjacent vertebrae in the spinal column and allow for movement in the spine and act as shock absorbers along the spine.

Lumbar Spinal Cord Injury

The lumbar area of the spine is located primarily in the lower back. It may be noted by the shorthand L1-L5 which describes each vertebra in the lumbar region. Spinal cord injuries occur when the bones protecting the spinal cord are damaged causing the spinal cord to be damaged. Injuries to the lumbar area of the spinal cord may cause complete paralysis beginning at the location of the injury extending down. Many times this injury results in paraplegia.

Nucleus Pulposus

The nucleus pulposus is the inner core of the vertebral discs. If we go back to the jelly doughnut example, it is the jelly.


Paraplegia refers to a condition in which there is a loss of sensation in and the ability to move the lower extremities. The paralysis is usually present from the point of injury to the spinal cord and extends downward.


Quadriplegia refers to a condition in which there is a loss of sensation in and the ability to move the either the arms or legs. The paralysis is usually present from the point of injury to the spinal cord and extends downward.

Jones Law Group

Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury law firm today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a slip and fall, a car accident, a motorcycle accident, a bicycle accident or a pedestrian accident, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707

Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio