A spinal fracture is an injury that occurs when one or more of the vertebrae break, causing significant movement issues, pain and possible neurological problems. These injuries usually occur during car accidents, but other types of trauma can cause spinal fracture as well.
Certain factors may increase a patient’s chances of experiencing a spinal fracture. For example, if a patient has osteoporosis leading to bone loss, spinal fracture may be more likely. Women are also at a higher risk for spinal fractures. After menopause, women experience increasing amounts of bone loss. This occurs because of the decrease in the hormone estrogen, which plays an important role in preserving bone density. Hormone replacement therapy may reduce this risk.
Other factors that increase the risk of spinal fractures include lack of physical activity, smoking, and consumption of alcohol. In addition, having one spinal fracture makes a patient more susceptible to subsequent fractures.
Spinal fractures may develop over time, or they may occur suddenly. For example, a patient may experience a spinal fracture after lifting something heavy, which will lead to sudden pain in the bones. When a spinal fracture occurs, most patients will experience bone pain. This pain may sometimes be sharp, but can be dull and persistent.
Dr. Henry may identify a spinal fracture based on the results of a physical exam and/or certain diagnostic tests, such as a CT Scan or MRI scan.
In some cases, Dr. Henry may recommend non-surgical treatments for a spinal fracture. These treatments include stabilization with a brace, pain medication, and rest. However, these treatments won’t always be successful. If Dr. Henry doesn’t correct the spinal fracture surgically, the patient may develop a deformity that compromises the entire spinal canal. Occasionally, surgery is the best solution for a spinal fracture.
One type of surgery used to treat spinal fracture includes kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty. During both of these minimally-invasive procedures, Dr. Henry uses a special type of bone cement to stabilize the bones.
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