Spinal Fracture Treatment
While some believe that spinal fractures mean handicaps and paralysis, spinal fractures can vary in severity. Only certain spinal fractures result in a permanent paralysis.
Frank X. Pedlow Jr., MD is a top spine surgeon in Boston, MA. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal fracture in the Boston area, contact Dr. Pedlow today to schedule an appointment.
Types of Spinal Fracture
- Occurs commonly with Osteoporosis.
- Vertebrae can fracture from a large amount of external or internal pressure.
- Similar to compression fractures, only there are multiple of them.
- This usually happens due to large incidents, car accidents, work injuries, etc.
- Your spine is designed to flex forward slightly, but if a large force pushes it too far forward, sections of the spinal column can fracture.
- If you have any fracture, and the spinal column moves significantly out of place, your spine will become unstable. This is called a Fracture-Dislocation.
Fracture Categorization of Stability
Simply put, a stable fracture means there was no neurological damage in the fracture. Your spine can still carry your weight fairly well, and you’re still able to function normally, though there may be some pain or discomfort.
When a fracture damages the neurological structure of the spine, or when the weight can no longer be efficiently carried & distributed, the fracture is categorized as an unstable fracture.
Unstable fractures are very serious.
Major and Minor Fractures
A minor fracture means a part of the outside of the spine is fractured. This is the part that faces outward. Generally, these fractures don’t impact neurological function or stability function.
A major fracture indicates that the inward-facing structure of the spine has significant damage. This means that your body may not be able to handle its own weight, and your spine is likely to be unstable. This can cause nervous system damage, and can break further. A major fracture is very serious.
Treatment for Spinal Fractures
Depending on the severity and location of the spinal fracture, the healing process could take anywhere from a few weeks to months, and in some cases it may never fully heal.
When a patient suffers from a spinal fracture, the immediate treatments are usually:
- pain medication
- vitamin D/calcium supplements
Of course, this varies heavily based on the severity of the fracture. Many people endure minor spinal fractures, and simply have to wear a brace and avoid laborious activity. Others may have a major spinal fracture that requires a long hospital stay, surgery for spinal repair, and physical therapy.
Surgical treatment for Spinal Fractures
If pain persists after a fracture heals, a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon may perform what is called a vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty, or in some conditions, a spinal fusion.