A spinal fracture occurs when one or more bones in the spine (vertebrae) break as a result of sudden impact, such as a fall or car accident, or an extended period of wear and tear from exercise or physical labor. Unlike many other spinal conditions, spinal fractures often affect young adults. Here is some basic information on spinal fractures to help you better understand this condition.
Spinal fracture symptoms
The symptoms of a spinal fracture will vary according to its severity and location in the spine. Some spinal fractures are minor and only cause mild back pain, while others can compress the spinal cord or nerves and trigger numbness, tingling sensations, and muscle spasms. In severe cases that impact the spinal cord, paralysis – or the inability to move the arms or legs – may occur.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to promptly speak with a physician. Early diagnosis often leads to simpler and more successful treatment.
Treating spinal fractures
Spinal fractures are usually treated in one of three ways:
- Immobilization with bracing or orthotics – Immobilizing the spine can help facilitate the body’s natural healing process and promote proper spinal alignment.
- Fusion and instrumentation – These procedures are used to address unstable fractures by joining vertebrae together to create one stable piece of bone.
- Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty – In cases where spinal tumors or osteoporosis contribute to fractures, these minimally invasive surgeries are performed to inject special bone cement into damaged vertebrae.
Treating spinal fractures requires specialized expertise. In the Greater Pittsburgh Region, the orthopedic center to turn to for spinal fracture treatment is Orthopaedic Specialists. Led by board-certified physicians with extensive backgrounds in education and research, our practice can provide the advanced level of care you need. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.