How Is a Spinal Fracture Diagnosed?

Spinal fractures can be more severe than a broken arm or broken leg. A spinal fracture can cause the bone fragments of the vertebra to pinch or damage spinal nerves or the spinal cord. This specific injury may occur because of trauma to the spine from falls, car accidents, gunshots, or sports. Injuries can range from being relatively mild ligaments and strains to severe dislocations and fractures of the bony vertebra in the spine and debilitating damage to the spinal cord.

Depending on the severity of your injury, you may experience pain, decreased motor skills, difficulty walking, or paralysis. Fractures may heal from conservative treatments; however, severe fractures may require surgery to realign the affected areas. It is best to consult a spinal expert at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery (OLSS) for the best treatment plans surrounding a spinal fracture.

What Are Spinal Fractures?

Spinal fractures, tiny cracks in the bones of your vertebrae, may start out with slight back pain and increase in intensity over time or come on suddenly and severely. For most, spinal fractures will decrease in pain intensity as the bone heals.

Fractures may occur anywhere along the spine and are categorized one of three ways:

  • Spinal Fractures: The most common type of spinal fracture is a vertebral body compression fracture. Sudden trauma to the body of the vertebrae results in the shatter and collapse of the bone, and if the force is strong enough, it may even send bone fragments into the spinal canal, called a burst fracture.
  • Spinal Dislocations: In a spinal dislocation, the ligaments and/or discs that connect two vertebrae together are torn or stretched to the point where they may come out of alignment. A dislocated vertebra is a severe injury that can cause instability and spinal cord compression.
  • Fracture-Dislocations: This type of injury occurs when a bone is broken and ligaments are torn. These spinal fractures are debilitating and usually require surgical repair.

If you suspect that you have potentially suffered a spinal fracture, speak to a spine specialist at OLSS for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan. Our medical professionals prioritize minimally invasive treatment options and have spent decades helping patients regain their quality of life back before their spinal pain.

What Are the Most Notable Symptoms of a Spinal Fracture?

Symptoms of a spinal fracture are dependent upon the severity of the injury and the affected area. The type of symptoms you may experience include:

  • Back and neck pain
  • Numbness
  • Paralysis
  • Tingling
  • Muscle spasms
  • Weakness
  • Bladder/Bowel movement issues

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms associated with a spinal fracture, speak with an expert spinal specialist at OLSS for a comprehensive assessment of your symptoms and thorough treatment options for your condition and unique needs.

How Is a Spinal Fracture Diagnosed?

In most circumstances, a spinal injury will require a spine doctor or other specialists to evaluate the extent of your spinal injury. Initially, a spinal specialist will perform a physical exam of the spine and assess your breathing. The spine is kept in a back or neck brace until the appropriate diagnostic tests are performed. The tests may include:

  • X-rays: An imaging test that uses x-rays to view the bony vertebrae structures in the spine. Special flexion and extension x-rays may be performed to detect abnormalities in movement.
  • Computed Tomography (CT): An imaging test that uses an x-ray beam and a computer to make two-dimensional imaging of your spine. Sometimes it is performed using a special dye (contrast agent) that is injected into the bloodstream to show further details.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): An imaging test that uses a magnetic field and radiofrequency waves to show a detailed view of the spine and its soft tissue. Unlike in an x-ray, nerves and discs are highly visible. An MRI is especially useful in evaluating soft tissue damage to the ligaments and discs of the spine.

The spinal specialists at OLSS offer a comprehensive program that uses the latest in research, technology, and state-of-the-art treatments to assist in quicker recovery times and a 95% or higher success rate.

Speak with a Spinal Specialist at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery

At Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, our spinal specialists are leaders in their field and are dedicated to providing patients state-of-the-art care for their spinal fracture injuries. Our medical staff are pioneers in minimally invasive surgical techniques and create tailored treatment plans for the unique spinal needs of each patient.

Schedule an appointment today with our caring experts that are ready to provide the best orthopedic care for your condition. Call (855) 853-6542 or fill out our contact form for a tailored treatment plan customized to fit your needs for a full recovery.