A spinal fracture is a dislocation of the vertebrae which can cause fragments of the bone to damage spinal nerves or the spinal cord itself. These fractures have several causes that may lead to the overall spinal fracture. Injuries can be mild and can range from muscle strains to actual permanently debilitating spinal cord injuries. The following is a list of the causes of spinal fractures and the treatment options for those individuals who have had or are dealing with spinal fractures.
The most common cause of spinal fracture is a massive injury. These injuries most commonly occur in car accidents and in slip and fall accidents. However, there are other causes of spinal fractures which include gunshot wounds and sports injuries. Athletes who participate in football, soccer and contact sports may find that they are at a higher risk for spinal fractures. Individuals who participate in dirt bike riding competitions and in race car competitions will also have a higher risk of a spinal fracture is an accident and impact should occur.
The treatments for spinal fractures can vary depending on the severity of the spinal fracture itself. For spinal fracture injuries that cause minor damage such as a pulled muscle or strained muscle, a doctor may prescribe over-the-counter muscle relaxants or prescription muscle relaxants. Physical therapy may also be involved depending on how severe the muscle strain and spinal fracture is.
X-rays are one of the easiest ways to begin a treatment plan for spinal fractures. X-ray will determine if the vertebrae in the spine is damaged and how damaged it is. A CT scan or MRI scanner also uses noninvasive testing to determine how severe the spinal fracture is. Depending on the severity of the spinal fracture certain treatments may be determined by the doctor. One of the most common treatments is the use of braces and similar devices to maintain alignment of the spine and immobilize the spine during the healing process. This also restricts movement. Physical therapy may be joined with this particular form of treatment if the brace can be discontinued after a period of 9 to 12 weeks. Halo rings are also part of a brace treatment if the spinal injury is severe.
Fusion surgical procedures are also used as a treatment option if the spinal fracture is severe. This is the joining of vertebrae and bone grafting with the use of rods and screws in order to keep the spine intact.
Compression fractures may be treated with the use of special surgeries including the insertion of a balloon into the area to expand the bone area and vertebrae and relieve some of the tension.