When bones of the spine break or crack and compromise the stability of the backbone, the result is a spinal fracture. Sustaining a hard fall and progressive bone weakness from arthritis are frequent reasons why a fracture may occur. Fractures can heal on their own, but sometimes require medical attention to restore the integrity of the spine.
Spinal Fracture Causes
Any serious trauma can be the cause of a spinal fracture. Bone weakness from osteoporosis or degeneration of supporting discs, which compromises spinal integrity, may cause a fracture. A compression fracture may also result from a hard sneeze or a fit of coughing if the spine is already weak from a previous injury or existing condition.
Spinal Fracture Symptoms
Sudden back or neck pain lasting longer than a few days and doesn’t respond well to home remedies is a possible indication of a fracture. Image testing will confirm whether or not a fracture has occurred and where it’s located. Symptoms may also include:
- Numbness and tingling
- Muscle weakness or spasms
- Sudden back or neck pain
Treating Spinal Fractures
The first step in treating a fracture is to prevent further damage to the spine. If the fracture isn’t severe, a back brace or cervical collar may be recommended to steady the spine as it heals. Initial rest, the use of pain medication and vitamin D and calcium supplements are some of the common conservative treatment options for spinal fracture. When surgery is necessary to correct a spinal fracture, one of the following procedures may be performed:
- Balloon kyphoplasty: A balloon is used to lift the affected area and create a space for bone cement to be placed to stabilize the fracture.
- Vertebroplasty: Liquid bone cement is placed into the fracture to restore stability during this minimally invasive back procedure.
Most spinal fractures occur within the lower back area or neck. Men are more likely to experience a fracture from a traumatic injury, although women sustain more compression fractures from osteoporosis than their male counterparts. Untreated fractures shorten the spine and push it forward, which places added pressure on other parts of the back or neck.
If chronic back pain is restricting your daily activity, reach out to The Spine Institute, a leader in spine surgery Los Angeles patients trust. Schedule an in-person consultation with an experienced spine specialist by calling (310) 828-7757 today.