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This occurs when the bones of the spine move too much relative to one another.  The spinal cord and the nerves coming off of the spinal cord, called nerves roots, travel through a bone tunnel (the spinal canal) in the middle of the spine.  If a bone moves enough relative to the bone above it or the bone below it, this motion causes the spine to act as a guillotine and can injure the spinal cord/nerve roots up to complete loss of function (See PARAPLEGIA; QUADRIPLEGIA)

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