Spine Fracture Treatment | Spine Bone Fracture Surgery | Fractured Spine Symptoms, Healing Time, Recovery and Causes
Spine fractures are very different from other fractures because when a vertebra is dislocated or fractured the bone fragments can pinch and damage the spinal cord. This can put the person’s life at risk. The most common occurrence of spinal fractures usually comes from falls, gunshot, car accidents, or sports. The injury can range from just mild ligament strain to dislocations and fractures of the bony vertebrae, which can be debilitating because the spinal cord is inside the spinal column. So depending on the severity of the injury, the patient may experience pain, walking difficulty or immobility to his arms legs which indicates partial paralysis. Some types of spine fractures can heal with less treatment but the severe type may need surgery to realign the vertebra.
Types of Spine Fractures / Classification
The most common types of spine fractures are the following:
• Vertebral body compression fracture. This is the sudden downward force that has shattered the vertebrae and made it collapsed. When the force is extreme some of the bone fragments may even lodged into the spinal cord and this case is called a burst fracture.
• Dislocations. This happens when the ligaments or spinal discs that are connecting two vertebra together are torn or stretched and the bones come out of their alignment. For instance, when there is the quick forward motion of the body but the body is tied with a seat belt, the seat belt can pull the vertebra and will stretch its ligaments. This will result in the dislocations of the vertebra and the compression of the spinal cord. This case will need the use of brace or stabilization surgery.
• Fracture-dislocation. This happens when the bones were broken and the ligaments were torn apart. This case can be unstable and can cause paralysis but sometimes through repair surgery there may still hope for the person not to have paralysis.
Diagnosis of Fracture of the Spine
When you suspect person a possible spinal injury, call the paramedics so that they can take you immediately to an emergency room. Doctors who are experts in assessing spine conditions will attend to you. They will assess your breathing and will do physical exam on your spine then x-ray will be taken from your bony vertebrae. Extension x-rays and special flexion will be used to detect any abnormal movement in your spine. CT scan will also be used so that a 2-dimensional image of your spine will be able to help the doctors to view your bony structures clearly. MRI may be required as well just to be sure they get the complete details including the condition of the soft tissues surrounding your spine.
Causes of Spinal fractures
The main causes of spine fractures are car accidents, which make up to 45 percent of the total number of spine injuries all over the world. This is followed by hard-impact sports (15 percent) and 5 percent for other miscellaneous activities. Osteoporosis which is a debilitating bone disease and spine tumors are also contributing to the cases of spinal injury although fortunately these are only few.
Spine Fracture Symptoms
Depending on the severity and the area of the injury symptoms may include:
• Pain in the neck
• Muscle spasms
• Tingling sensation in the arms or legs
• Change in the bladder or bowels
Spine Fracture Treatment
The first treatments for spine fractures are pain management and stabilization so that further injury is prevented. Other treatments include braces and orthotics. These methods can maintain spinal alignment, immobilize the spine while healing and can control pain because the spine is prevented from moving.
Stable fractures can be solved by the use of back brace with rigid collar for stabilization while a cervical-thoracic brace is for the upper back fractures. Any of these may be required for the patient to wear for around 8 to 12 weeks. For unstable neck fractures, traction will be needed to put the spine back into its proper position. Other methods such as instrumentation and fusion and vertebroplasty & kyphoplasty may also be used in treating other forms of spinal fractures.
We cannot easily prevent trauma that might cause spine fractures but we can still take some precautions that will protect us from having fractures in our spine. When driving, always wear seat belt and your car must have balloon protection that could protect the body, the head, chest and neck during crash. Also, if you are suffering from osteoporosis you should ‘fall proof’ your house by taking away things on the floor that could trip you over and put skid-proof backing on the rugs. The stairs should be well lighted as well.
When to Call A Doctor
It is important for us to know how to identify signs of spinal fractures so that we can notify medical people when we see someone suffered from broken back. If there is severe pain on the back after a fall or an accident, call the emergency number as soon as possible.
Other related types are compression fractures of the spine, stress, thoracic, thoracic, cervical spine, wedge fracture and c spine.