NECK/BACK INJURIES-FACET JOINTS.
The Personal Injury Lawyers at the Schmidt Salita Law Team collectively have over 100 years of experience in representing the victims of personal injuries from car accidents, trucking accidents, workplace accidents and a wide variety of other traumatic events. Neck and back injuries represent a large number of those cases. Many of the neck and back injuries have involved damage to the facet joints of the spine.
The human spine is made up of 24 bones (vertebrae) stacked in a column.
Between each vertebra is an intervertebral disc that acts as a shock absorber between the bones-and and is pliable to allow for movement in bending (flexion/extension) and twisting (rotation).
Each vertebra has a set of two boney knobs, one on each side, that meet to join between each vertebra. The point where they meet is called the facet joint (also called the zygoaphophyseal joint). That means that there are 48 facet joints in the neck and back.
The facet joints allow for movement of the spine, including forward flexing and backward extension-as well as twisting from side to side.
Each facet joint is protected by a capsule of soft tissue protecting each facet joints. This capsule, when healthy, is filled with synovial fluid which lubricates the joint and allows for fluid motion. The capsular ligament is the main source of stability of the facet capsule. Like other ligaments throughout the spine, the capsular ligament is “elastic” (like a rubber band capable of stretching to allow for the normal movement and then returning to its normal configuration). However, it has its limits. When stretched beyond that limit, it can tear. Even when it doesn’t actually tear, abnormal stretching (called “sub-failure” stretching) can render the capsular ligament to be totally non-functional and unable to provide its intended stability to the facet joint. The result is pain-often incapacitating.
“Ligaments of the upper cervical spine have a unique functional and structural anatomy, predisposing them to partial or complete rupture at low strains.” Facet Joint Injury and Whiplash, North Alabama Spine and Rehab.
The facet joint has a synovial capsule which is filled with fluid that lubricates the joint. The synovial capsule is contained by the synovial membrane. Synovial folds are formed when the membrane projects into the joint cavity. These synovial folds can be trapped between the articular surfaces causing pain and hypomobility with muscle spasm. This condition is called “synovial entrapment syndrome”.
Each facet joint also has a cartilage that also allows for smooth movement within the joint. Damage to the capsular cartilage can also produce significant pain.
The large majority of motor vehicle crashes involve a rear-end collision. Rear end collisions are known to cause facet joint injuries when the human head is “whipped” back and forth. The backward “whip” caused a crush of the facet joint. The forward “whip” causes an abnormal stretching of the facet joint.
Biomechanical studies have proven that facet joint injuries often occur at lower impact levels. Facet joint components may be at risk for injury due to facet joint compression during rear-impact accelerations of 3.5 g and above. The capsular ligaments are at risk for injury at higher accelerations. Pearson, Facet Joint Kinematic and Injury Mechanisms During Simulated Whiplash, Spine (2004) 29(4):390-7.
Nerves (called “medial branch nerves’) that branch off the spinal cord pass through the facet joints. They control the activities and movement and send pain impulses back to the brain through the spinal cord. These pain signals are an indication that the joint is irritated, injured, and damaged.
The Schmidt Salita Law Team Handles a Wide Variety of Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims.
The Schmidt Salita Law Team handles cases involving car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian car accidents, and bicycle accidents. It has many years’ experience in workers compensation , products liability and medical malpractice cases.
The Schmidt Salita Law Team has extensive experience with concussion injuries, traumatic brain injuries, neck and back injuries, whiplash injuries, broken bones, injured joint injuries (knee, hip, shoulder, wrist, ankle, spinal), amputation injuries, and vision and eye injuries.
The Schmidt Salita Law Team has offices through out the State of Minnesota. Its primary location is at Ridgedale Office Center in Minnetonka, near the intersection of I394 and I494. The offices are handicap accessible with ample parking.
The Schmidt Salita Team Offers Contingent Fee Arrangements.
The firm offers contingent fee agreements (You don’t pay lawyers fees until you collect and then only as a percentage of the settlement). It also offers home and hospital visits to clients whose injuries present difficulty in coming to the office.
“PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS WITH A PERSONAL TOUCH!”
The Schmidt Salita Law Team has locations throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Plymouth, Osseo, Anoka, Coon Rapids, Brooklyn Center, Fridley, Blaine, Shoreview, Woodbury, Falcon Heights, Columbia Park, Stillwater, Hastings, Inver Grove, Cottage Grove, South St. Paul, Apple Valley, Eagan, Burnsville, Savage, Shakopee, Richfield, Bloomington, Chaska, Chanhassen, Edina, Eden Prairie, and Hopkins.