Biomechanics of spinal trauma
The human vertebral column sustains mechanical loads during physiological situations and responds through deformations of its components. The main physiologic function of the column is to protect the spinal cord and maintain normal interrelationships between the various intervertebral components. During traumatic loadings, due to excessive deformations, injuries can occur in the form of fractures to bony regions and/or disruption of the integrity of the soft tissues surrounding the vertebral complex. Spinal injuries can vary from minor anatomic abnormalities with no long-term or neurological involvement to severe consequences. This chapter presents fundamental biomechanics from component, segmental, and vertebral column perspectives, leading to discussions on trauma mechanisms focused on acute loading. A brief introduction is presented on the biomechanical aspects of spine anatomy.