As with other spinal injuries and conditions, there are different types of spinal fractures that can occur. Your surgeon will examine the vertebral body from all three sections, back, middle and front. A spinal fracture is literally defined by the breaking of one or more bones in the spine, and the severity of this injury can vary greatly. There are, however, several symptoms patients should be able to recognize.
- The most common symptom is abrupt pain that becomes more severe with movement.
- The fracture sight may swell and feel pressured.
- Patients may have muscle weakness, a numb sensation or tingling in the extremities
- Severe spinal fractures may cause a decrease in height, curvature of the spine, compromised balance, loss of bladder control, and in extreme cases, paralysis
Some of the different types of spinal fractures include compression fractures (which are among the most stable and may take on a wedge-like appearance); chance fractures (typically caused by severe trauma separating the vertebrae); traverse process spinal fractures are defined by the spiny, bony protrusions from the vertebrae breaking; and burst fractures where pieces of bone can spread, threatening the cord itself.
Because spinal fractures, all types, present threats to the patient, it’s important to begin testing, defining the injury and working toward the best treatment plan as soon as possible following the accident.