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Causes of and Treatments for Your Spinal Fracture

A spinal fracture occurs when one or more vertebrae break. Also called a broken back, a spinal fracture can compromise spine strength and cause nerve damage that spreads to your arms or legs.

Most of the time, traumatic injury causes a spinal fracture. But some fractures may develop more slowly, due to degenerative conditions like osteoporosis. The symptoms of spinal fracture are often impossible to ignore, and can include:

Like all injuries, spinal fractures range in severity. George Kakoulides, MD, and our team have extensive experience diagnosing and treating spine fractures, and we’re here to help you get the care you need.

Possible causes of spinal fracture

Spinal fractures can impact the front of your vertebra, the back, or both. Many spinal fractures are the result of traumatic injuries, like car accidents, severe sports accidents, falling from a significant height, or gunshot wounds.

If you or someone near you has suffered a traumatic injury, call 911. Some severe spinal fractures can result in permanent paralysis and other complications without immediate emergency medical care.

Spinal compression fractures are a type of spinal fracture that isn’t always the result of a traumatic event. These fractures develop when vertebrae aren’t strong enough to support the weight of your upper body as you move. 

Osteoporosis is a common bone disease that makes your bones more brittle over time, and an estimated one in three women and one in five men experience osteoporotic fractures in their lifetime. Having osteoporosis significantly increases your risk of spinal compression fracture.

If you have osteoporosis, movements as simple as bending down or twisting could be enough to cause a compression fracture. Vertebrae can crack and collapse, creating more pressure on other vertebrae and your spinal cord.

Spine fracture treatment options

When you seek treatment for your spinal fracture, Dr. Kakoulides begins with a comprehensive physical exam. He may order X-rays or a CT scan to assess bone damage or MRI imaging to evaluate spinal cord and nerve damage.

Cracked vertebrae and small fractures may not require surgery. Dr. Kakoulides may stabilize your spine with a brace, give you a prescription for pain relievers, and give you instructions to rest at home for several weeks.

More severe fractures might necessitate spinal surgery to prevent permanent disability. Dr. Kakoulides may recommend minimally invasive surgery to stabilize your spine and relieve pressure from nerves and the spinal cord.

Lumbar fusion

Lumbar fusion is a common surgical procedure to treat spinal fractures. In lumbar fusion, Dr. Kakoulides uses a bone graft or bone-like material to fuse two vertebrae together. He may use metal plates or screws to add additional stability.

Vertebroplasty

Another minimally invasive surgery for spinal fracture is vertebroplasty. In vertebroplasty, Dr. Kakoulides uses a fluoroscope to find the fracture. With a hollow needle, he injects cement into the fractured vertebrae to restore stability.

Kyphoplasty

Kyphoplasty is similar to vertebroplasty, but it increases space within your spine before it's stabilized. Dr. Kakoulides places a small balloon into your fractured bone and inflates it before adding the cement mixture.

Physical therapy is appropriate for many people with spinal fractures. Whether you had spine surgery or not, physical therapy helps build strength and restore stability to reduce your risk of complications as your body heals.

If you have a spinal fracture, don’t wait to seek treatment. Call our offices or book your consultation online.

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