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Experienced Care for Spinal Fractures


A spinal fracture is a crack or break in a spinal vertebra (bones). The most common areas for spinal fractures are:

  • Lower back (lumbar spine)
  • Middle back (thoracic spine)
  • Where the lower and middle back meet 

Some spinal fractures are very serious injuries and need emergency treatment. If you have been in an accident or suspect that you have a spinal fracture in the Bay Area, call 9-1-1 or go immediately to a nearby Dignity Health hospital. 

As you heal from your broken spine, trust Dignity Health in the Bay Area to always provide care with humankindness. Find a Doctor online or call 866.759.0708 for a doctor referral today.

Spinal Fracture Causes

Injury from a high-energy trauma, such a fall, car accident, or violent assault, is a common cause of spinal fractures. Compression fractures, which are those that occur with degeneration of the spinal column over time, are often the result of weakened bones from osteoporosis.

Spinal Fracture Symptoms

Your spinal fracture symptoms depend on the severity of the fracture and whether or not any other injuries occurred. You may notice slight pain with minor compression fractures. For other spinal fractures, you may have severe back pain that worsens with movement.

When a spinal fracture affects the spinal cord, additional symptoms can occur such as:

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Loss of nerve function from the trunk area down to the limbs
  • Numbness, tingling, and weakness in the limbs

Spinal Fractures Treatment at Dignity Health

Your treatment options at Dignity Health in the Bay Area will depend on the cause and severity of the fracture.

Many spinal fractures respond to bracing, casting, physical therapy, and other nonsurgical treatments. You can help prevent future problems with rehabilitation exercises. 

In some cases, surgery is necessary to stabilize the spine and relieve pressure on the spinal cord. Our four Bay Area hospitals — St. Mary’s Spine Center and Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, and Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz — offer advanced surgical techniques for spine surgery

These tips can help you lower your risk for spinal fractures: 

  • Create a fall-free environment at home.
  • If you are older than 65, get regular osteoporosis screenings.
  • Improve balance and flexibility to help prevent falls.
  • Maintain calcium-rich diet or take supplements for good bone health.
  • Try to get regular exercise.

From emergency services to orthopedic treatment, rely on your Dignity Health care team in the Bay Area to help you get back to your normal activities as soon as possible.

Dignity Health’s orthopedic surgeons specialize in treating spinal fractures in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.