Spinal Fractures: Common Causes and Treatments to Consider

Nov 21, 2014 @ 11:52 AM — by Aron D Rovner, MD 
Tagged with: Spinal Fractures

The team at New York Spine and Sports Surgery is skilled at diagnosing and treating orthopedic conditions. These are important concerns when the back is the source of pain and discomfort.

Any injury to the spine is something to take extremely seriously. With this in mind, it is particularly important to be aware of the causes of spinal fractures. As with most medical conditions, the earlier your doctor is able to detect a spinal fracture, the more likely he or she will be able to treat it thoroughly.

Common Causes of Spinal Fractures

Some of the most common causes of spinal fractures include:

  • Sports injuries
  • Auto accidents
  • Bike accidents
  • Major slips and falls
  • Occupational injuries
  • Assaults/physical altercations

Osteoporosis: Spinal Fractures as a Result of Advanced Age

Commonly in most people over 60, the primary cause of a spinal fracture is bone-thinning osteoporosis. When bones are thinned out to this point, they are especially prone to any activities that may trigger a minor spinal episode. Everyday activities such as lifting a box, extended walks, or even sitting on a particular angle can be triggers to a spinal fracture. Because back pain is common even in younger patients, many spinal fractures go undiagnosed and are typically attributed to aging and/or arthritis.

In women around the age of 50, it is particularly important to be mindful of any back pain that is prohibiting daily function. If this is the case for you, see your doctor immediately.

Basic Treatment Options for Spinal Fractures

If you suspect you may have a spinal fracture, your doctor will take an X-ray or computerized tomography (CT) scan to determine the extent of the damage. Your doctor may suggest a brace to stabilize your back to prevent additional damage to your spine. Your doctor also may prescribe physical therapy to help accelerate the recovery process and restore some level of mobility.

More Advanced Treatments for Spinal Fractures

Your doctor will likely suggest procedures such as vertebroplasty (injection of bone cement to strengthen fractured bones) or kyphoplasty (use of a small internal balloon to assist in the placement of bone cement) depending on the severity of your injuries.

In rare, but extreme cases, your doctor will recommend surgery on spinal fractures that may lead to additional complications beyond pain. Working conservatively and as minimally invasive as possible tends to be the most ideal option.

Medications to Manage Pain from Spinal Fractures

To treat osteoporosis on an ongoing basis, and to prevent further spinal fractures, your doctor has a number of medications available to prescribe. The most common medications are Actonel, Binosto, Boniva and Fosamax. These medications fight the cells that work to break down bone in your body, which helps decelerate the loss of bone matter. Given the relative power of each of these medications, there are also strict regulations around taking them. If taken more than once a month, each of these can lead to ulcers in the esophagus.

Schedule a Consultation for Treating Spinal Conditions

For more information about spinal problems and how they can be effectively diagnosed and treated, be sure to contact our orthopedic surgery specialists today. We at New York Spine and Sports Surgery will be sure to go over all of your options for treatment and help you in achieving good overall health.