The Different Spinal Fracture Types Explained

There’s nothing worse than back pain. It can be debilitating and can make the most straightforward tasks very strenuous. 

Sometimes we can have a sore back, which you can take care of with rest. But, if consistent back pain continues, you might be suffering from a spinal fracture.

Spinal fractures are dangerous because they can lead to more damage to our spinal cords. They can occur by being in a car accident, falling, or by playing a sport.

Today we’ll be discussing different spinal fracture types. You’ll learn about the causes and how doctors diagnose fractures.

What Is a Spinal Fracture?

A spinal fracture is when a vertebra breaks. The vertebra is the spiny elements in your back that hold your discs in place.

Spinal fractures usually occur through severe trauma to your back. But there are other ways that spinal fractures can occur.

Acquired Disorders

These disorders develop after you’re born. As you age, your bones can weaken from conditions such as:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Spinal tumors 
  • Spinal infections 

Keep an eye out for these conditions if you do suffer from back pain. You can also develop spinal fractures from genetic disorders.

Genetic Disorders

Genetic disorders are what you are born with. So unlike acquired disorders, your bone strength is already determined. Once you hit a certain age, your bones will start to deteriorate.

Different Spinal Fracture Types

It’s essential to know about the different types of spinal fractures. Each can affect the spine differently and can happen in various ways.

Spinal Compression Fracture

A compression fracture is common for those that suffer from diseases such as osteoporosis or bone cancer. Because the bones are weak, they can fracture easily if mild force causes your back to jerk.

Burst Fractures

Burst fractures occur from severe trauma to your back, such as a car accident. The vertebrae can fracture in multiple places. Also, bone fragments scatter, which causes more damage to your spinal cord.

Flexion-Distraction Fractures

Flexion-distraction fractures occur when your body is suddenly pushed forward. The abrupt movement causes your spine to flex at short notice, and the impact forces your vertebrae to fracture.

Diagnosing Spinal Fractures

The different spinal fracture types might not concern you because some typical back pain symptoms can throw you off. But, if the pain is consistent or you’ve been in a traumatic accident, you’ll need to go to a specialist.

A standard test that doctors use to diagnose fractures is a chiropractic digital x ray. These x-rays give doctors a better view of your spine and the severity of the fracture.

Doctors may also use a CT scan or an MRI to look at the fractures. CT scans help determine if changes were made to your bone structure. MRIs show if there was any tissue damage around your spine.

Doctors will give you a back brace to minimize pain and keep your spine aligned during recovery. If your injury is severe, surgery could be a possibility.

Don’t Wait to Treat Your Back Pain

Sometimes we think our back pain will go away with rest. But with the different spinal fracture types, the injury can be worse than we thought. Make sure you go to a doctor if you think you may have a spinal fracture.

If this article has been helpful, read some of our other blog posts for related content.

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