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spinal injury injury to the vertebral column (fracture-dislocation) which may or may not involve spinal cord injury and/or injury of the nerve roots within the vertebral (spinal) canal. Cord injury can occur in the cervical, thoracic and upper lumbar regions, ranging from minor damage to complete transection. Cauda equina injury occurs with damage below the first lumbar vertebra, where the 'horse's tail' of lumbar and sacral nerve roots descend to their exits from the vertebral (spinal) canal. Cord and nerve root injuries cause complete or partial paralysis of voluntary movement and sensory loss in the regions served by the nerve tracts or roots affected. See also back injury, cervical spine, neck injury, paraplegia, quadriplegia, whiplash injury.