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Spine Fractures

Even the smallest spinal vertebrae fracture can cause intense pain. Spinal fractures can occur from accidents or develop gradually due to various factors such as diseases, aging, or wear and tear. A vertebral compression fracture not only causes intense back pain but also restricts your movement, preventing you from enjoying your favorite activities. Before spinal fracture treatment, you’ll first need an accurate diagnosis. Visit Gottlieb Spine, a trusted spine center for spinal fracture surgery. Call today to schedule an appointment.

What is a Spine Fracture?

Spine FracturesA spinal fracture, also known as a compression fracture, occurs when one or more of the spinal vertebrae collapse. These vertebrae form the chain of bones that safeguard the spinal cord, facilitate movement, and provide support to your body weight. When this chain gets damaged, it results in intense pain that necessitates the expertise of a spine specialist who possesses a deep understanding of back pain complexities.

Compression fractures most commonly occur in the lower part of the thoracic spine, causing pain in the middle back. These fractures can lead to severe back pain, reduced spinal blood flow, and even a decrease in height in some cases. Comprehensive imaging tests performed by our healthcare professionals will help identify the exact source of your discomfort, ensuring targeted spinal compression fracture treatment.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Spine Fracture?

Compression fractures not only affect your spine but also the nerve roots that pass through the vertebrae. Some common signs and symptoms of a spine fracture:

  • Sudden back pain that may become chronic
  • Increased pain when standing or walking
  • Relieved pain when lying on your back
  • Radiculopathy
  • Tingling and numbness in the back and extremities
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Decreased ability to twist and bend your back
  • Loss of height
  • A stooped posture, curved upper back, or hunched-back appearance

If you’re experiencing a spine fracture, receiving an early diagnosis will improve your chances of successful fractured vertebrae treatment. A spine specialist at Gottlieb Spine will be able to determine if you have a fracture, and if you do, its exact location.

What Causes Spine Fractures?

Spine fractures occur due to excessive pressure on the spine. While the spine is designed to be flexible, extreme movements and strain can lead to fractures. Some causes of these compression spine fractures include:

  • Osteoporosis: The weakening of bones due to this condition makes them fragile and prone to cracks. Even mild stress on vertebrae affected by osteoporosis can result in compression fractures.
  • Spinal injuries: Auto accidents are a common cause of spinal fractures. The impact absorbed by your back during an accident can make your spine vulnerable. Falls or other accidents that cause significant trauma to your spine can also lead to compression fractures.
  • Cancerous tumors: Metastasis, the spread of cancerous tumors to other parts of your body, can affect your spine. When tumors grow on your vertebrae, they weaken the bones and increase the risk of compression fractures.
  • Daily activities: Normal activities such as heavy lifting, poor exercising routines, bending, and twisting can contribute to compression fractures.
  • Sporting activities: Engaging in contact sports increases the risk of spinal cord injuries and complications, including fractures.

Your symptoms may differ depending on the cause of the spine fracture. For example, when fractures appear suddenly, like after an accident or injury, they will exhibit immediate, severe pain. If the fracture is caused by a condition like osteoporosis and has developed over time, your pain may increase and decrease with certain activities and you may develop a spinal deformity like kyphosis.

How are Spine Fractures Treated?

Your fractured vertebrae treatment will depend on the underlying cause. If osteoporosis is determined to be responsible, your doctor will initiate treatment with calcium and vitamin D supplements to enhance bone density. If the compression fracture did not result in damage to the spinal cord, it may be treated with conservative methods, including:

  • Activity modifications
  • Over-the-counter pain medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or acetaminophen
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Back brace to limit spinal movement and alleviate pain
  • Physical therapy to improve strength and mobility

If these treatment approaches to spinal fracture treatment fail to alleviate your pain, surgical procedures are available.

What is Spinal Fracture Surgery?

The goal of compression fracture surgery is to stabilize the spine, relieve pain, and prevent further damage to the spinal cord and nerves. At Gottlieb Spine, we offer several different procedures for fractured back treatment, sometimes referred to as broken back surgery:

  • Vertebroplasty: Bone cement is set into the fractured vertebrae, providing additional strength and support to the spine.
  • Kyphoplasty: Similarly, kyphoplasty involves injecting cement into the vertebrae. However, a balloon will first be inserted to restore the spine to its original height.
  • Spinal fusion: Spinal fusion surgery is more extensive and is often performed when the vertebrae are severely misaligned or there is significant instability.
  • Decompression surgery: This may be needed in cases where a fractured bone fragment is compressing the spinal cord or nerves.
  • Laminectomy: Sometimes, fractures may result in bone fragments pressing on the spinal cord or nerves. A laminectomy involves the removal of the lamina to create more space in the spinal canal.

The choice of spinal fracture treatment will depend on factors such as the location and type of fracture, the patient’s overall health, and the presence of other spinal cord or nerve injuries. Spinal fracture surgery is typically performed by a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon like Dr. Gottlieb and may involve traditional open surgery or minimally invasive techniques.

How Can I Prevent Spine Fractures?

There are several ways you can protect your bones and prevent compression fractures:

  • Optimize your diet and nutrition: Nutrients like calcium and vitamin D play a vital role in strengthening your bones and reducing the risk of fractures. This is especially true if you have a condition like osteoporosis.
  • Engage in physical therapy: Physical therapy exercises can help strengthen muscles and maintain bone density, reducing the likelihood of fractures.
  • Implement lifestyle changes: Making certain adjustments to your lifestyle can play a pivotal role in preventing spinal fractures. These include quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, engaging in regular exercise, and following proper lifting techniques.

By incorporating these measures, you can actively work towards reducing the occurrence of spinal compression fractures.

Updated on Jun 28, 2024 by Dr. Jamie Gottlieb (Orthopedic Spine Surgeon) of Orthopedic Spine Center: Dr. Jamie Gottlieb

Dr. Jamie Gottlieb, MD

Dr. Jamie Gottlieb, MD, is a Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon with over two decades of experience treating chronic and degenerative spinal conditions, such as spinal stenosis and ongoing neck and lower back pain. Dr. Gottlieb prioritizes building strong relationships with his patients, understanding their medical history and goals, and ensuring personalized treatment. Emphasizing non-surgical solutions whenever possible, Dr. Gottlieb is also well-versed in traditional, minimally invasive, and motion preservation surgery techniques.

Dr. Gottlieb earned his medical degree from Cornell University and completed his residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. After completing his residency, Dr. Gottlieb went on to gain experience as a spine surgeon and an emergency response physician at hospitals and emergency care centers in Fort Worth and Dallas. He also served as a research associate at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego and has continued to publish his findings in respected publications.

More about Dr. Gottlieb
Orthopedic Spine Center: Dr. Jamie Gottlieb
6121 State Hwy 161, Ste 225
Irving, TX 75038
(469) 528-1169
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Top Quality Care at Gottlieb Spine

When a spine fracture disrupts your daily life with intense pain and limited mobility, it is crucial to find the right treatment. Whether your fracture resulted from an accident or developed over time, our dedicated team, led by Dr. Jamie Gottlieb, is committed to providing innovative solutions for fractured back treatment. Schedule a consultation today to learn more about how you can start your journey towards a pain-free, unrestricted future with Gottlieb Spine.