What are spinal fractures?

Everyone is familiar with bone fractures. They are breaks in your bone that are caused by sports injuries, accidents or falls. Fractures are painful and need immediate medical treatment. Spinal fractures are small to large breaks in the bony spinal column that cause pain, difficulty in movement and even paralysis. Spinal fractures are different from fractures in your arms or legs because they can cause bone fragments to travel into the spinal cord or nerves, resulting in possible permanent damage such as partial or total paralysis. Spinal fractures can range from small and relatively harmless to debilitating spinal cord damage.

Spinal fractures can affect any part of your spine. They can be categorized into three types:

Fractures – The breaking of a bone after it has been subjected to a high amount of pressure. The most common type is the vertebral body compression fracture

Dislocations – The stretching or tearing of the ligaments or discs connecting the vertebrae, which causes the bones to become misaligned

Fracture-dislocations – Caused when the bone is broken and its connecting ligaments are damaged or torn

What are the causes of spinal fractures?

The most common causes of spinal fractures are falls, car accidents, acts of violence and sports. People who suffer from spine tumours and bone conditions such as osteoporosis are at high risks of developing spinal fractures.

What does the treatment involve?

The treatment of a spinal fracture can begin after it has been diagnosed using X-rays, CT scans or MRI scans in spinal fractures. Treatment typically involves stabilization using brace and pain management. Unstable spinal fractures often require surgical stabilization which may involve the use of screws and rods to stabilize the spine.

Consult our Neuro specialists for more details on spinal fractures and its treatment.

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