Spinal fractures are usually the result of high velocity road accident, falls and contact sports. The spine can fail anywhere but the mobile segments of the cervical and thorco-lumbar areas are most vunerable. Inappropriate treatment can have devastating neurological consequences.
- Trauma from the impact of a high-velocity accident like a car crash, fall or sports injury
- Osteoporosis (especially in the elderly and in women)
These depend on where the injury is and how severe but can include:
- Severe back or neck pain
- Numbness, pins and needles, tingling, muscle spasm, weakness
- Bowel and bladder changes
- Physical examination - although the spine may need to be kept in a neck or back brace
- An X-ray, MRI scan or CT scan to reveal fracture site and damage
This begins with pain management and stabilising the injury to prevent further damage.
Braces and orthotics are used to maintain spinal alignment and immobilise the spine during healing.
If the fracture is putting pressure on the nerves and spinal cord, surgery may be necessary so any damaged bone can be removed. If this leaves the spine unstable, it may then need to be strengthened and reconstructed using cages and plates.