Spine fractures are different from fractures anywhere else in the body because the spine provides the main support for the upper body and serves as a communication cord between the brain and the rest of the body.
Spinal nerves branch off from the spinal cord, going from the middle of your back to your fingers and toes. When spine fractures occur, bone fragments can damage the spinal nerves, interfering with the communication in the body.
There are four kinds of spine fractures: compression fractures, burst fractures, flexion-distraction fractures, and fracture-dislocations.
Compression fractures are caused by weakened bones that can no longer handle the pressure and break. Burst fractures are caused by severe trauma, and they usually involve broken bones in several places in the spine.
Flexion-distraction fractures occur when the body gets pushed forward with a lot of force, such as in a car crash, and fracture-dislocations occur when the bones in the spine are fractured and dislocated.
To help you get a better understanding of what to expect from your healing journey, we asked Dr. Shoeb Mohiuddin, our expert at Regenerative Pain & Spine, to go over the most common treatments for spine fractures.
Dr. Mohiuddin uses pain relievers when treating pain caused by spinal compression fractures. These fractures are small and usually heal on their own in two to three months.
If you’re experiencing acute pain, you’ll also be recommended a short period of bed rest.
Because low bone density is often the cause of compression fractures, you may also benefit from supplementation with calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K2.
2. Back bracing
Back braces, much like a cast on a broken leg, immobilize the back and stabilize the spine.
Braces are also known to reduce pain but should only be used under the guidance of a specialist. Wearing them for too long can cause muscle atrophy in the back.
3. Minimally invasive surgery
Minimally invasive surgery includes the insertion of a small needle, guided by a live X-ray, to inject bone cement into the fractured bone to either stabilize the spine or fix deformities.
4. Spinal fusion surgery
Spinal surgery is used for severe fractures, and it involves fusing two vertebrae together to heal as one piece of bone. Spinal fusion is used to stabilize the spine if the fracture causes stability issues. This surgery can take away a bit of your mobility, but it prevents pain in the spine.
Learn more about spine fractures
Symptoms of spine fractures include pain, numbness, tingling and paralysis. If you suspect you have a spine fracture, contact us to schedule an appointment at our office in Chicago, Illinois.