Spinal Fracture

What is spinal fracture?

Any fracture or collapses in one of the bones in the spine is known as spinal fracture. A spinal fracture is also known as vertebral compression fracture.

What causes spinal fracture?

Bone loss can be one of the main reasons for the collapse or break in the spinal column. Bone loss may result from various issues like hyperthyroidism, menopause, osteoporosis, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and long-term use of corticosteroids etc, These factors may cause vital loss in the bone mass, whereby increasing the risk for spinal fracture.

What are the symptoms of spinal fracture?

Back pain is one of the major symptoms of spinal frcatures. If one experiences a sudden onset of pain (chronic or a dull ache), it can be an indication for spinal fracture. If the back pain lasts for several days or more, it is necessary to seek medical help. Determining the cause of sudden back pain and treating it properly is necessary. In certain cases, spine fracture may cause heaight loss. So, measuring the height routinely will also be good to determine spinal fracture. Any postural changes or dowager’s hump can also be an indicator for spinal fracture.

How are spinal fractures diagnosed?

To determine spinal fracture, the doctor will conduct a physical examination. After the primary examination, he/she may suggest an x-ray to confirm whether the pain is caused due to spinal fracture or not.

How are spinal fractures treated?

Primarily, the doctor may suggest a pain management and stabilization which will help the patient from further injury. If there are injuries present in other parts of the body, it may also be treated. Treatment method will vary entirely depending on the type of fracture. The major treatment options for spinal fractures include:

Braces and orthotics: The three major goals of this treatment option include:
1. Maintainance of the spinal alignment
2. Immobilization of the spine during the healing period
3. Restricts movements and controls pain

The patient may need to wear the brace for about 8-12 weeks.

Instrumentation and fusion: Surgical procedures to correct the unstable fractures. In fusion, two vertebrae is joined together through a bone graft with the help of rods, plates, hooks, cages, screws and other hardwares.
Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty: These are two minimally invasive surgical procedure to treat spinal fractures. They are ususally used to treat compression fractures caused by spinal tumors and osteoporsis.

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