What Is a Spinal Fracture?
A spinal fracture is a broken vertebra, which can occur anywhere in the spine from the neck down to the lower back. Similar to a broken arm or leg bone, a broken vertebra can result from trauma, such as a fall, car accident or sports-related impact. Additionally, if the spinal bones have become weakened due to osteoporosis, a vertebral compression fracture can even result from a routine activity that only slightly strains or jars the spine. Some examples include bending to pick up an object from the floor, reaching overhead to open a window or lifting a relatively lightweight item, such as a bag of groceries.
Like any other broken bone, a spinal fracture can cause pain and inflammation. However, because the vertebrae are in close proximity to the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots, a broken vertebra can potentially cause neurological complications as well. For instance, if a vertebra is forced out of alignment or a bone fragment breaks off, the displaced bone can potentially compress a nearby spinal nerve.
What are the symptoms of a spinal fracture?
In addition to neck or back pain, a spinal fracture can cause:
- Pain that worsens with standing or walking and improves with lying down
- Difficulty bending and twisting the spine
- A loss of body height
- Excessive spinal curvature
- A stooped or hunched-forward posture
Additionally, if a spinal fracture causes nerve compression, other symptoms may develop, such as pain, muscle weakness, numbness and tingling sensations that travel along the pathway of an affected nerve, which may run from the spine all the way down one arm or leg.
How is a spinal fracture addressed?
Some vertebral fractures gradually heal on their own over the course of several months. In the meantime, it is important to avoid strenuous exercise, heavy lifting and other activities that can aggravate the condition. Medications and bracing can help relieve pain, and after the fracture heals, physical therapy can help restore mobility and range of motion.
In some cases, surgery may be recommended to remove a bone fragment, realign a displaced vertebra or add support and stability to the spinal column. At Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, we provide a comprehensive range of spinal fracture treatment options — both surgical and nonsurgical — to residents of Houston, TX, and surrounding areas. Our spine specialists can assess your injury and make an individualized recommendation for you.
To learn more about our approach to spinal fracture treatment, contact Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, Texas, today.
To request an appointment, please enter the information on the form on the right and press the “Continue” button to start the appointment request process.
1Professional Building II At North Cypress Medical Center
2North Cypress Professional Building At Lakewood Crossing
3North Cypress Professional Building At Towne Lake
4Advanced Orthopaedics Memorial
What Our Patients Are Saying
Dr. Patel is one of the best Doctors I have ever had. She is pretty good at her job. She makes it plain and simple. She is also very thoughtful. I was very glad to have met her.
Dr. David R. Mack replaced my right hip in June 2009, and my left in October 2010. I am already able to go places and do things on my own again.
Dr. Cubbage & Staff replaced a disc that had been destroyed between my 4th and 5th vertebra. This is my 4th month since the surgery in January of 2018. I was very impressed with their dedication
Completing forms online beforehand was quick and simple. I arrived 30 minutes prior to my appointment as requested, and was pleasantly surprised to be summonsed less than 10 minutes from arrival.
Excellent care and attention to patients. I recently had a total hip replacement and I am able to walk 6 weeks after surgery with no cane.
Doctor Brooks is the best. His advice to get lubricant injected into my knees has made my life so much better. Kudos!
It has been eight weeks since my partial knee replacement and now I realized just how much I was missing. Having it done has made such a difference to my life. For a start my leg is now straight and my knees actually touch!
Dr Tanous and Chris are the best! Thank you for always taking such good care of me!
Dr. Patel is a very good Pain Management Doctor. She is one of my favorite doctors.
AOSM is a very high quality medical facility. They handled my hip replacement both pre and post op with the utmost professionalism.