The human spine consists of 33 separate bones. This vertebral column supports your upper body and allows you to twist and bend your torso.
It also protects the spinal cord, which contains nerves that allow for mechanical function all over your body. Any fracture to your spine can affect your normal functions. In fact, it can threaten your life.
If you suspect a spinal fracture, take it seriously. Read on to learn about the types of spinal fractures and their treatment options.
Stable Vs. Unstable Spinal Fractures
The spine can break in a number of ways. These fractures can be stable or unstable.
A stable fracture means that the break-in of your bone does not compromise the spine’s integrity. Though you may still experience significant pain with a stable fracture, it does not put you at immediate risk and tends to heal with fewer complications.
An unstable fracture does put the integrity of your spine at risk. Since it cannot support the weight of your torso, you run the risk of injuring your spinal, which can lead to weakness, paralysis, and death.
An unstable fracture also puts you at risk for spinal deformities as it heals. You cannot know if your fracture is stable or unstable without imaging.
Seek prompt emergency medical attention for any spinal injury and go to physical therapy for long term rehabilitation to heal properly as you regain mobility. This site offers more info on physical therapy for this injury.
When a sudden force causes the bone to collapse, it creates a compression fracture. It can also occur due to degenerative bone disease, like osteoporosis.
With this type of fracture, the vertebrae will decrease in height. It can cause serious pain in the back arms and legs. Treatment for this injury usually includes pain relief and physical therapy.
A chance fracture occurs when the anteroinferior portion of the vertebrae breaks from both forward flexion and compression. This most often occurs from wearing a seatbelt during a car accident.
Typically these fractures occur where the thoracic vertebrae meet the lumbar spine. Left untreated, this injury causes progressive kyphosis of the spine.
This injury may require surgical stabilization of the spine with rods and screws. Regaining mobility requires physical therapy for an extended period of time.
High impact trauma can create burst fractures. These spinal issues occur when something crushes the vertebrae.
If the bone injury the spinal cord, it can cause serious nerve damage. Treatment includes immediate hospitalization, medications to control pain and swelling, surgery, and long-term physical therapy.
Understanding Types of Spinal Fractures
If you sustain any of these types of spinal fractures, you may feel overwhelmed and afraid for your future. We rely on our spines for much of our daily activities, and it protects our precious cord that innervates the body.
This makes prompt medical attention imperative. Physical therapy also ensures that your injury heals properly and you regain as much of your motion as possible.
Did you injure your spine in an accident involving another person? Learn your rights for compensation in the legal news section of our website.