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3 of the Most Common Types of Spine Fractures and Their Treatments

Typically linked to conditions like osteoporosis, spinal fractures are among the most common bone injuries sustained by the American adult population. Research shows they’re twice as common as other fractures, such as hip, knee, or wrist fractures, affecting osteoporosis patients.

Spinal fractures may also occur due to sports injuries and accidents, causing serious damage to the spine and structures connected to it and requiring immediate assistance from a spine specialist.

Here are the three most common forms of spinal fractures:

1. Vertebral Compression Fractures

Vertebral compression fractures occur when a section of the vertebra collapses due to a squeezing force that results in the bone caving in. Usually, the front part of the vertebra crumbles, creating a wedge-like shape, while the posterior vertebra remains intact.

Vertebral compression fractures are especially common among individuals with osteoporosis, as even a mild force can result in the collapse of the vertebra. This may lead to spinal deformities.

2. Vertebral Burst Fractures

While compression fractures affect the front part of the vertebra, burst fractures result in the vertebra shattering on all sides. This makes them even more serious injuries, as the tiny shards of broken vertebra can scratch and damage the spinal cord and result in a spinal cord injury. If this happens, the person is at a greater risk of often irreversible forms of nerve damage and paralysis.

3. Flexion-Distraction Fractures

Flexion-distraction fractures are usually caused by severe trauma that results in the vertebrae being pulled apart. For instance, it may occur when a car slams into another vehicle or stops abruptly, throwing the passengers forward. This motion causes the spine to flex and the bones to bulge outward, causing a flexion-distraction fracture.

A woman with a walker wearing a back brace after a spinal fracture

Treating Spinal Fractures

Spinal fractures may be treated through various surgical and nonsurgical methods by an orthopedic spine specialist, depending on the severity of symptoms and the extent of the injury. For instance, kyphoplasty, vertebroplasty, artificial disk replacement, or vertebrectomy may be performed to treat the broken bones surgically. Alternatively, the injuries may be treated through prolonged rest and spinal braces if they are less severe. Your doctor can run a full diagnostic exam of your condition to determine the best treatment plan to help you repair the damage and find relief.

The Spine Solutions Center at Houston Physicians’ Hospital is a leading Spine Center Houston that offers various surgical and nonsurgical treatments for spinal fractures. We also treat various musculoskeletal conditions.

Visit our website to learn more about our Specialty Hospital near NASA TX and to find an orthopedic spine specialist who’s right for you.