The good news is that most spine fractures respond well to conservative treatments, including a little rest and modification of activities. Determining whether or not this is enough, however, depends on the level of discomfort you’re experiencing and whether or not any related damage was overlooked during the initial diagnosis.
Determine the Extent of Your Fracture
All instances of spine fractures require an assessment from a Los Angeles spine surgeon. Your doctor will likely determine if you have a suspected fracture before recommending a full assessment by a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic spine specialist, which typically includes:
- An evaluation of the overall condition of your spine
- Images test to identify and assess the fracture
- An assessment of the pain experienced
Initial Bracing and Rest
If there are no deformities or serious spine injuries identified, it’s likely that initial rest will be recommended, often including the wearing of a brace to minimize movement. During the initial rest period, you’ll return for follow-up visits to determine how well your spine is healing and whether or not the fracture has worsened or spread.
Looking for Hidden Instability
Most spine fractures heal in about 2-6 weeks from the point of injury. Even if you respond well to rest at first, there may be hidden instability of your spine that wasn’t evident during your initial examination, which may result in pinched nerves. Signs that a spine fracture has worsened include:
- Pain accompanied by numbness and tingling
- Discomfort aggravated by certain movements
- Increased difficulty walking or standing
- Progressively worsening pain
Lingering Soft Tissue Damage
Damage to ligaments, soft tissues, and muscles supporting the spine can be missed on x-rays and CT scans. If you’re still experiencing pain after a period of rest and bracing, another scan using a different type of film is usually necessary to identify soft tissue damage.
Most spine fractures, about 60-70 percent, occur in the lower back, although the level of discomfort varies greatly from one person to the next. During the initial period when you’re mainly resorting to rest, monitor your pain and report back to your doctor to determine if additional treatment is necessary.
If you’ve fractured your spine and the pain isn’t subsiding, it make be time to see a board-certified spine surgeon in Los Angeles. At The Spine Institute Center, our team of qualified physicians can evaluate your condition and provide solutions for meaningful relief. Call (310) 828-7757 today and request a consultation.