Neck and back injuries are among the most common injuries people suffer in motor vehicle collisions. The momentum of the vehicle and the force of impact can cause strains, fractures and other injuries to the spine, as well as the spinal cord.

If you or someone you love suffered a spinal injury in a motor vehicle collision, you likely want to understand the chances of a full recovery. The prognosis for any spinal injury patient will depend on the nature of the injury itself.

Spinal fractures can heal in time

The spine is made up of a column of smaller bones, individually known as vertebrae. These bones allow you to twist your back and move freely, but they have small pieces that can wind up fractured in the event of a serious collision.

The actual fracture to the bone will heal in time with proper medical care and adequate rest. If there was no spinal cord damage, a full recovery may be possible. Some forms of spinal cord damage associated with fractures can also heal eventually.

The severity of a spinal cord injury impacts prognosis

Physicians typically group spinal cord injuries into one of two categories. Incomplete spinal cord injuries occur when the spinal cord winds up compressed, nicked, torn or otherwise damaged without becoming fully severed. The potential exists for substantial, even full, recovery with an incomplete spinal cord injury.

In a complete spinal cord injury, the spinal cord is completely cut, which means that recovery is impossible. However, even with a complete spinal cord injury, with physical and occupational therapy, individuals can adjust to physical limitations and increase their functionality over time.