What is a Spinal Fracture?

Spine Fracture on X Ray

A spinal fracture refers to a serious injury involving some type of damage to one or more of the spinal columns. Patients with osteoporosis or diseases that weaken bones tend to be more susceptible to spinal fractures. However, spinal fractures can also occur as the result of accidental damage to the backbone.

If you or someone you know is suffering from pain along the spinal column, the expert Beverly Hills spinal surgeons at the Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration offer the following information to help you better understand the condition and how to treat its various forms.

Understanding Spinal Fractures

It’s easier to understand spinal fractures by following the three column model of the spine. The front part of the vertebra (anterior column) is the part of the spine facing towards the body. The middle column is the part of the spine responsible for stability of the spine. Damage to the middle column usually includes some nerve damage since there’s an important ligament in this area. The Posterior column refers to the back side of the spine that’s closest to the skin.

Types of Spinal Fractures

Spinal fractures typically fall into specific categories, with some fractures also resulting in damage to the individual bones and cartilage making up the spinal cord. Types of spinal fractures include:

  • Compression Fractures – This type of fracture occurs when the front part of the vertebra collapses under pressure, becoming wedge-shaped.
  • Burst Fractures – Burst fractures are typically caused by some type of severe accident when the vertebra is fractured in multiple places by an extreme force.
  • Flexion-Distraction Fractures – These fractures are caused by a sudden forward movement that puts heavy pressure on the spine, often occurring in car accidents.
  • Fracture-Dislocations – When a fracture also involves some type of dislocation, it’s classified as a fracture-dislocation.

Treatment for Spinal Fractures

Minor spinal fractures are typically treated with non-surgical methods such as vitamin and calcium supplements. External bracing may also be used to stabilize the back until the spine can heal. If there is a loss of vertebral height, spine fusion surgery may be necessary.

To learn more about treatments for spine fractures, call (310) 828-7757 and request a consultation with one of the experienced spine specialists or surgeons at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. We’re always available to answer questions and can recommend the best course of action to eliminate pain and discomfort.