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How can a fracture or dislocation of vertebrae damage the spinal cord?

The spinal cord runs through a bony tunnel formed by the vertebrae. If one of these bones is broken or displaced, the tunnel may partly collapse. This could cut, bruise, or cut the spinal cord.

(This answer provided for NATA by the University of Alabama Athletic Training Education Program.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.