The normal healthy spine is very firm, strong and stable and gives support to the back and the weight of the body. It affords good protection to the spinal cord and attachment for muscles and the ribs. The stability of the spine is provided by the discs, intervertebral joints, facets and ligaments and the posterior ligaments. It is these stabilising mechanisms that are damaged in significant spinal injuries. Injuries to the spine can occur without damaging these and so the vertebrae are not likely to displace and damage the cord. These are the stable injuries. Those injuries that do damage the stabilising mechanisms are likely to displace and injure the cord.
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