Spinal Fractures and Trauma

Spinal fractures are often caused by trauma such as a motor vehicle accident (MVA), sports injury or fall. There are 3 types of fractures: Burst fracture, crush fracture and compression fractures- often caused by osteoporosis (weak bones), and often are not immediately diagnosed. When a vertebra is fractured, bone fragments can damage the spinal cord, nerves and intervertebral discs. At Spine Associates, spinal fractures are taken very seriously because injury to the spinal cord and nerves can drastically compromise a patient’s quality of life.  Dr. Francis is a fellowship-trained, board-certified spine and trauma surgeon and has extensive experience treating spinal fractures. Spine Associates offers accurate diagnosis and advanced treatment for a variety of spinal conditions. To learn more about treatments for spinal fractures, request a consultation in Houston or Beaumont. Or you can call us at 1-713-383-7100 to schedule your appointment.

Symptoms

The location of the fracture in the spine will determine where the symptoms are experienced. The severity of the symptoms depends on extent of the damage, ranging from a strained ligament or muscle to an injured spinal cord. Symptoms may include one or all of the following:  

  • Severe pain
  • Weakness, numbness or tingling
  • Paralysis in the arms or legs
  • Problems with bladder or bowel control, in severe cases

 

Diagnosis

Accurate diagnosis is the key to appropriate and effective treatment for any spinal condition, especially spinal fractures. Dr. Francis is fellowship trained in orthopedic spinal trauma and is highly experienced in assessing and treating spinal fractures. Emergency treatment for a suspected spinal fracture caused by trauma usually begins with pain control and stabilization to prevent further damage.

Treatment

Dr. Francis will recommend conservative, non-surgical treatment for spinal fractures whenever possible. After determining the underlying cause and extent of the damage, he may recommend one or a combination of the following treatment options:

  • Modified activity / Medication / Calcium supplements
  • External Bracing
  • Spinal surgery such as kyphoplasty or spinal fusion