Spinal fractures


A spinal fracture is a break or crack in a spinal vertebra. Vertebrae can also be crushed or collapsed. The most common areas for spinal fractures are the lumbar spine (low back), thoracic spine (middle back), and where the two meet.

Causes of Spinal Fractures

Spinal fractures from an injury usually result from high-energy trauma, such as a car accident, a falling injury (more than a 10 to 15-foot drop), or a violent assault. Weakened bones from osteoporosis can cause compression fractures.

Symptoms of Spinal Fractures

Signs and symptoms of spinal fractures depend on the severity of the fracture and whether or not any other injuries occur. With minor compression fractures, you may only notice mild pain. For other spinal fractures, symptoms can include severe back pain that worsens with movement.

If a spinal fracture affects the spinal cord, symptoms may include:

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Numbness
  • Tingling and weakness in the limbs

Our spine specialists can pinpoint the area of injury by determining where the loss of sensation or function is occurring.

Treatment & Prevention of Spinal Fractures at Dignity Health

Treatment and prevention options depend on the cause and severity of the fracture. Many spinal fractures respond to nonsurgical treatments, including:  

  • Back bracing
  • Casting
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation exercises

If in some cases, surgery may be necessary to restore stability to your spine and relieve pressure on the spinal cord. We use the latest in surgical technologies to improve your procedure and recovery, as well as offer a pre-surgery spine education class to help you feel as comfortable and confident as possible.

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If you have back pain from a spinal injury or chronic condition, the experts at St. Joseph's Medical Center perform a variety of treatments for spinal fractures in Stockton and surrounding areas.

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