Spinal Fractures

Spinal fractures can vary widely in severity. Some fractures are very serious injuries that result from high-energy trauma and require emergency treatment. Other fractures can be the result of a lower-impact event, such as a minor fall, in an older person whose bones are weakened by osteoporosis.

Most spinal fractures occur in the thoracic (midback) and lumbar spine (lower back) or at the connection of the two (thoracolumbar junction). Treatment depends on the severity of the fracture and whether the patient has other associated injuries.


Fractures of the thoracic and lumbar spine may result from high-energy trauma, such as a:
  • -Car or motorcycle collision
  • -Fall from a significant height
  • -Sports accident
  • -Violent act, such as a gunshot wound

Many times, these patients have additional serious injuries that require rapid treatment. The spinal cord and/or nerves may also be injured, depending on the severity of the fracture.

Spinal fractures may also be caused by bone insufficiency. For example, people with osteoporosis, tumors, or other underlying conditions that weaken the bone can fracture a vertebra even during lower-impact events — such as reaching or twisting or falling from a standing height. These fractures may develop unnoticed over a period of time, with no symptoms or discomfort until a bone breaks.

Symptoms of a Spinal Fracture

Symptoms of a spinal fracture are sudden onset back pain that often lasts many days. Pain with ambulation, numbness, tingling, inability to move a limb or feel a limb are particularly serious signs.

-weakness in arms or legs
-numbness in arms or legs
-pain that radiates down the arms or legs (radiculopathy)
-difficulty walking or moving
-bowel/bladder problems- unable, poor urine stream, loss of control
-paralysis (rarely)

Treatment Options

The treatment approach for spinal fractures depends on factors such as the fracture's location, severity, and the patient's overall health. For mild fractures, conservative treatment may involve pain management, rest, and the use of braces to support the spine during healing. However, more severe fractures or those causing neurological deficits may require surgical intervention.

As spine surgeons, our priority is to stabilize the spine, relieve nerve compression, and facilitate proper healing. We employ various surgical techniques such as spinal fusion, vertebroplasty, and kyphoplasty to address spinal fractures effectively. These procedures aim to restore stability, alleviate pain, and prevent long-term complications, ensuring patients can regain functionality and quality of life.