Fractured Vertebrae: Causes Symptoms Diagnosis Treatments

Fractured Vertebrae Overview

A fractured vertebrae is a serious injury and one that needs investigating sooner rather than later. You could suffer this type of injury in many ways and having your condition correctly diagnosed and treated sooner rather than later is critical.

Any injury to your spine should be taken seriously and this includes a suspected fracture to any of your vertebrae. If you suffer from a condition that weakens your bones called osteoporosis, you may suffer collapsed vertebrae which could leave you incapacitated and unable to carry out normal daily tasks. You could have a type of tumour whether benign or malignant on your spine which would need investigating without delay so an effective treatment can be set in place where possible.

If you would like to know more about fractured vertebrae, the causes, diagnosis and how this type of injury is treated, please click on the Select a Section below.

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What is a Fractured Vertebrae?

Fractured vertebrae

Fractured vertebrae

Vertebrae make up your spine and in healthy people these bones are extremely strong. However, damage can be done whether through trauma or when bones become weaker through ill health and disease. When a vertebrae collapses or breaks, the damage done is referred to as a “vertebral compression fracture” or (VCF). Another name for this type of spinal injury includes osteoporosis compression fracture.

What are the Common Causes of a Fractured Vertebrae?

You could suffer a fractured vertebrae in several ways whether through trauma or illness as follows:

  • Non-cancerous or cancerous tumours
  • Osteoporosis
  • Trauma to your spine as a result of a physical injury

With this said, one of the most common causes of this type of spinal injury is osteoporosis which is a bone disorder that results in the bones found in your spine becoming weaker and therefore more at risk of breaking. A break of this type is known as a “fragility fracture”. Statistics show that around 3 million UK residents suffer from osteoporosis with just under two hundred and fifty thousand people sustaining fragility fractures every year.

As with any other type of fracture, a VCF is an extremely painful spinal injury but if diagnosed and treated correctly, damaged bones will heal and the pain does subside. However, if bones do not mend correctly the pain experienced can continue. Should several vertebrae be negatively impacted, it could mean you develop a curvature in your spine.

If you suffered a fractured vertebrae due to a tumour whether cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign), it could be that malignant tumours spread from other parts of your body through your bloodstream and it is worth noting that tumours rarely take hold in your spinal bones.

If you were involved in accident that resulted in you sustaining a trauma to your spine whether it was a road traffic accident or other incident, you could suffer an injury that negatively impacts one or more of your vertebrae. With this said, there are other issues that can affect your spine which includes when the discs between vertebral bones and small joints between them are negatively impacted.

You may be entitled to free private medical care for a fractured vertebrae and you could qualify for a free orthopaedic assessment of your broken bone report. Call TheHealthExperts.co.uk today to find out more and whether you would be entitled to free private physiotherapy aftercare which could get you back on the road to recovery sooner safely.

What are the Symptoms of a Fractured Vertebrae?

The symptoms associated with a fractured vertebrae include the following:

  • A curvature in your spine
  • Back pain whether mild or severe
  • Trouble breathing, keeping your balance or even moving
  • Bladder and bowel problems

When you develop any sort of change in the shape of your spine and experience a lot of pain, it is a good indication that you may have damaged your vertebrae and these two symptoms are typical of vertebral compression fractures. As a result, your mobility can be seriously compromised. Other fractured vertebrae symptoms include difficulty breathing because there is less room for your lungs to expand when you suffer any sort of injury to spinal bones.

Your mobility would also be negatively impacted when you suffer a fractured vertebrae and as such you would have difficulty walking. Any changes in your spine would result in more energy needed to walk and cover any distance. On top of this, your balance would be negatively impacted too. This makes it harder for you to do any exercise and if the cause of your spinal issue is due to osteoporosis, the less exercise you can do, the worse your osteoporosis becomes.

Call us today to find out whether you qualify for free private medical care for a fractured vertebrae in your area and whether you would be entitled to free private physiotherapy as well as medical aids that could help speed up a fractured vertebrae recovery time.

Are There Different Types of Vertebrae Fractures?

As previously mentioned, your vertebrae can be negatively impacted in several ways which results in a fracture. The part of your spine that is injured is important which is detailed below:

  • If osteoporosis is the cause of a fracture, it typically involves a collapsed or crushed vertebrae which starts at the anterior (front) section of the vertebral bone but can negatively impact the entire section too
  • If you developed a tumour in your vertebrae, it could result in the bone being broken or disrupted in some way. Should the rear wall of a vertebral bone break away or is weakened by the tumour, there is a greater risk of complications developing and treatment is more challenging too
  • Trauma through physical injury where a vertebral bone is crushed or the posterior (rear) section of a vertebral bone are broken or disrupted, you might need to undergo surgery in order to stabilise your spine
  • If you suffer from osteoporosis you may find that several of your vertebrae are negatively affected

The majority of people have seven vertebrae in their necks, twelve are found in the chest area of the spine and five make up the lower back and any of these can be fractured whether through trauma, illness or disease.

When Should I Seek Medical Attention for a Suspected Fractured Vertebrae?

You must seek medical attention if you suspect you have damaged your spine in any way whether you were involved in a road traffic accident or have been diagnosed as suffering from osteoporosis or some other health issue that could negatively impact the bones in your spine. You should see a doctor if you experience the following so a suspected fractured vertebrae diagnosis can be confirmed sooner rather than later:

  • You experience back pain and suspect you may have suffered a compression fracture
  • You are experiencing bladder control and bowel function difficulties
  • The symptoms you are experiencing are getting worse

To find out whether you would qualify for free private fractured vertebrae medical care in your area, please contact one of our health experts today who would tell you straight away what you may be entitled to.

How is a Fractured Vertebrae Diagnosed?

If a doctor suspects you have an injury to your vertebrae, they would carry out specific tests to confirm an initial diagnosis before setting in place a suitable fractured vertebrae treatment plan. These tests are detailed below:

  • A thorough examination of your spine
  • Take x-rays of your spine
  • Carry out an MRI and CT scan

During a physical examination of your spine, a doctor would need to know whether you suffer from osteoporosis although if they find a curvature in your spine, it could be a good indication that you have suffered a vertebral compression fracture (VCF). You would undergo a test that checks your bone mineral density which is carried out by taking special x-rays known as DEXA. A doctor might also want to carry out both Ultrasound and CT scans to confirm their diagnosis.

How is a Fractured Vertebrae Treated?

Pain control and bed rest are critical when you sustain a fractured vertebrae. However, this alone would not treat or repair your injury. You may have to undergo balloon kyphoplasty which is a less invasive procedure that is often carried out with an end goal being to repair a fractured vertebrae. The procedure also helps reduce pain and discomfort.

If you suffered a fractured vertebrae due to weakened bones because of osteoporosis, you would typically be treated with specific medication and a doctor would recommend or prescribe calcium supplements to prevent any further fractures to your spine. A doctor would prescribe the following:

  • Pain relief medication
  • Best rest

You may find that a doctor would recommend other treatments for a fractured vertebrae which could include the following:

  • Wearing a back brace, although there is a risk of further weakening your bones which in turn could increase the risk of suffering more fractures
  • Physiotherapy has been seen to improve mobility and it can strengthen your spine

At one time a medication known as calcitonin was commonly prescribed for people suffering from osteoporosis but a few years ago research established a link between long-term use of the medication and the risk of developing cancer. As such, the medication is no longer prescribed for people with osteoporosis.

Should you have suffered a severe fracture to your vertebrae and have experienced a disabling pain for over two months, you may require surgery which could include the following:

  • Lumbar decompression surgery (spinal fusion)
  • Balloon kyphoplasty
  • Vertebroplasty

Should the fracture be due to a tumour on your spine, you may need to have the affected vertebral bone removed. It is also worth noting that following surgery, the recovery time for a fractured vertebrae would be anything for 6 to 10 weeks during which time you may need to wear a back brace. You may also need more surgery to relieve any pressure on nerves or to join spine bones to each other.

What are the Risk Factors Associated with a Fractured Vertebrae?

When you suffer a fractured vertebrae, there is a much greater risk that you would sustain another injury to your spine. As time passes, multiple vertebrae fractures could end up disrupting the bones resulting in what is often called a “dowager’s hump” which is a forward curvature of your spine. As a result, your balance could be compromised and you could have difficulty breathing because your chest cavity compresses making it harder for your lungs to expand as they should. Other problems associated with this type of curvature includes the following:

  • Difficulty eating
  • Difficulty sleeping properly
  • Your age
  • Your gender
  • Your lifestyle

How Long Does a Fractured Vertebrae Take to Heal?

As previously touched upon, fractured vertebrae recovery time depends on the severity and complexity of your injury. With this said, the majority of compression fractures heal within anything from 8 to 10 weeks providing you have enough bed rest, respond well to pain relief medication and wear a back brace during the healing time. Should you have undergone surgery to correct a fractured vertebrae, the recovery time can be a lot longer.

Are There Any Complications Associated with a Fractured Vertebrae?

If you had the misfortune to sustain a fractured vertebrae whether through trauma, because you suffer from osteoporosis or were involved in some other incident that resulted in a spinal injury, there are some complications associated with this type of injury which are as follows:

  • Bones may not fuse together following surgery
  • You may develop a humpback
  • Your may sustain nerve root or spinal cord compression

Should you have suffered a fractured vertebrae because you suffer from osteoporosis, it is often the case that pain subsides with careful pain relief medication and enough bed rest. However, in certain cases people do suffer from chronic, long-term, disabling pain.

Is the Prognosis Good or Bad for a Fractured Vertebrae?

The prognosis for a fractured vertebrae depends on the severity and complexity of your injury. As previously mentioned, the healing time for a fractured vertebrae can take anything from 8 to 10 weeks providing you respond well to pain relief medication, wear a back brace and make sure you have enough rest. If, however, you had to undergo fractured vertebrae surgery, the healing time can take a lot longer and there is a greater risk of complications which in short, means the prognosis is not as good.

Should your injury be due to osteoporosis, with enough rest and the right pain relief medication, any discomfort should become less acute and more bearable. However, some people who sustain fractures as a result of suffering from osteoporosis, suffer long-term, chronic debilitating pain. As such, the prognosis can be poorer.

Should a fracture be due to a tumour on your spine, the prognosis depends on whether the tumour is malignant or benign and where it has developed.

Find Out Whether You Qualify for Free Private Fractured Vertebrae Treatment?

Fractured vertebrae treatment

Fractured vertebrae treatment

You may qualify for free private fractured vertebrae treatment in your area and you could be entitled to the following:

  • Free private physiotherapy
  • Free medical aids to help speed up fractured vertebrae recovery time
  • A free orthopaedic assessment of your NHS broken bone report

To find out more, please contact one of our health experts today and they can tell you in minutes what you may be entitled to.

Could I Qualify for Any Other Effective Free Treatment for Fractured Vertebrae?

If you are unhappy with the NHS fractured vertebrae treatment you are receiving, you may qualify for additional free private medical care in your area and you may also be entitled to medical aids free of charge which could help speed up your healing process. Call us today and find out what sort of extra treatment is available.

Can I Recover Safer and Possibly Faster From Fractured Vertebrae?

Physiotherapy is an essential part of your recovery should you have suffered a fractured vertebrae because it could help safely speed up your recovery getting you back to normal sooner rather than later. To find out whether you would be entitled to free private physio aftercare following an accident or illness that left you with a fractured vertebrae, please get in touch with one of our health experts today.

I Think My Doctor Missed Something When Treating My Fractured Vertebrae, What Should I Do?

If you are unhappy with a NHS fractured vertebrae diagnosis and the treatment you receive, carrying out as much research as possible on this type of spinal injury will confirm any doubts and suspicions you may have. The links provided at the bottom of the page provide essential reading on fractured vertebrae together with symptoms, causes and treatments.

Could I Qualify for Free Orthopaedic Assessment for a Broken Bone Report?

You may qualify for a free orthopaedic assessment of your NHS broken bone report which would include records of x-rays taken of your spinal injury, the MRI scan and the treatments that were set in place. Having an independent health expert look over your medical report would confirm if anything was misdiagnosed and could recommend other treatments that would get you back on the road to recovery sooner rather than later having sustained a fractured vertebrae.

Call one of our health experts today and find out whether you qualify for a free expert assessment of your broken bone report and whether you would be entitled to free private medical care and physiotherapy in your area.

Call Us to Find Out Whether You Qualify for Free Orthopaedic Treatment for a Fractured Vertebrae?

If you suffered a fractured vertebrae whether because you were involved in some kind of accident, because you suffer from osteoporosis or another health issue that has negatively impacted your spine, please call us today. It takes minutes for one of our health experts to let you know what you may qualify for.

You can call us on 020 3870 4868, our phone lines are open 7 days a week from 9 am to 11 pm, one of our health experts is waiting to take your call.

Helpful Links

To find out more about osteoporosis, the following link provides essential reading:

More about osteoporosis

If you suffered a fractured vertebrae due to a tumour developing on your spine, the link below provides a lot of very useful information on the subject:

More about cancer in bones