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  • Writer's pictureDr Josh Bonine DC

Speed Bumps Cause Spinal Fractures

Speed Bumps Cause Spinal Fractures


Understanding how traumatic forces can result in bodily injury is often a difficult task since, as any seasoned clinician will tell you, each patient responds differently to each situation. The force of a collision is often a subject of debate and it is only through peer-reviewed medically indexed research that we can find answers that are based on science and not on opinion. What research shows is a “scientific consensus” about a particular subject.



Mujin et al. (2011) reported that their objective was, “To describe an injury mechanism and a series of patients with spine fractures after passing over speed humps in a motor vehicle” (p. 386). Interestingly enough, the authors state, “Of a sample of 46 patients with 52 fractures – none of them [had] neurological involvement...” (Mujin et al., 2011, p. 386).

The normal configuration of speed bumps in this study was 9 cm in height and 3.7 cm in width. The authors stated, “As the motor vehicle rises while it passes over the speed hump, a torque is generated” (Mujin et al. 2011, p. 388). They continue, “The torque generates a catapult effect on the vehicle’s suspension system. As a result, the passenger elevates suddenly from his seat, falling back abruptly and hitting the seat shortly because of gravity” (Mujin et al., 2011, p. 388).


In conclusion, the authors state, “In this case series, over 80% of the fractures occurred at the thoracolumbar junction…” (Mujin et al., 2011, p. 388). They also conclude, “This mechanism may cause severe spine injuries, considering that 10 patients in this series required surgery (3 patients required an anterior reconstruction) and 3 were granted permanent disability compensation because of chronic lumbar pain” (Mujin et al., 2011, (p. 388-389).


When evaluating the sequences of trauma resulting in an injury, it is important to take into account all aspects of the forces and how they are applied to that particular patient at that particular time in his/her life. Everyone is different and the astute clinician has the experience to understand that concept.



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Reference:


Munjin, M. A, Zamorano, J. J., Marré, B., Ilabaca, F., Ballesteros, V., Martínez, C.,... García, N. (2011). Speed hump spine fractures: Injury mechanism and case series. Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques, 24(6), 386-389.


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