Figure 5-2. Front and side view of the vertebral column.
5-14. MECHANISM OF INJURY
Spinal cord injury can be caused by a number of mechanisms. Mechanisms of
injury discussed here are divided into these four areas: axial loading; flexion, extension,
and rotation; lateral bending; and distraction.
a. Axial Loading.
(1) Definition. Axial loading is a sudden, excessive compression which
drives the weight of the body against the head. For example, a downward blow to the
head such as a heavy object falling on the head can crush or fracture the vertebrae,
which in turn can pinch or compress the spinal cord or nerve roots. An upward force to
the feet as in a fall from a great height can have the same result.