Fractured vertebrae — potential causes and treatments

Fractured vertebrae can be a serious source of neck and back pain. These fractures are commonly caused by traumatic injury from sports or an accident. The elderly are also particularly prone to fractures with the onset of osteoarthritis and other bone-thinning conditions.

For some, a spinal fracture is not necessarily as serious as it sounds — it’s just painful. A compression fracture only leads to back pain and needs to be stabilized so that it can heal on its own. Only in the event of serious trauma and debilitating symptoms is spine surgery a recommended treatment. In many cases, a series of conservative, nonsurgical therapy sessions can effectively treat the symptoms of a spinal fracture.

Causes of fractured vertebrae

The fracture of a vertebra can be a painful experience, or it can go completely undetected, depending on the severity of the injury and whether the fracture causes nerve compression. In many cases, a compression fracture will cause localized pain and stiffness, although other pain-related symptoms can develop as a result of the damage. Some of the most common causes of fractured vertebrae include:

  • Traumatic injury
  • Osteoporosis
  • Aging and otherwise weakened bones
  • Cancer or another disease

Treatment for fractured vertebrae

If you are seriously injured, you should seek immediate medical attention. Otherwise, treatment of spinal compression fractures can oftentimes be less intensive than some patients expect. In fact, with the exception of a massive injury, a crack in one or more vertebrae can often be managed with conservative care. Painkillers typically are used to reduce the painful symptoms of the injury, while the back is stabilized and allowed to heal over time.

If the symptoms of your spinal fracture do not lessen as time passes, your doctor may recommend spine surgery in some cases. Before undergoing a traditional open spine surgery, you should research the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive stabilization and minimally invasive decompression surgeries are a safer and effective alternative to traditional spinal procedures, allowing our patients to experience a shorter recovery time and a lower risk of complications and infection.^

To learn more , contact our team at Laser Spine Institute. We’ll be happy to provide you with a free MRI review* to determine whether you might be a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgeries.