Vertebrae Fractures & Spinal Injuries
Understanding the Severity of a Fractured Vertebrae
A fracture of one or more spinal vertebrae is a serious medical condition. Unless a victim suffers from an underlying disease that weakens the bones, the trauma necessary to fracture vertebrae is usually quite severe. Typical traumas that may result in the fracture of a vertebra include falls from elevated heights, blunt force traumas such as a car or truck accident, sports accidents, or violent acts such as gunshots. Most compression fractures occur in the mid back (thoracic) or lower back (lumbar spine). Some fractures occur at the junction between the mid and lower back (thoracolumbar junction). There are different types of vertebra fractures, classified by the pattern of the injury and the presence or absence of a complicating spinal cord injury.
There are three main types of vertebra fracture patterns:
Flexion Fractures including:
- Compression—the front of the vertebra breaks and sags, but the back doesn't.
- Axial burst—the vertebra loses height on both its front and back sides.
Extension Fracture also known as a:
- Flexion/distraction—the vertebra is pulled apart.
Rotation Fracture including:
- Transverse process—rotation or extreme lateral bending of the vertebra (this type of fracture is extremely rare).
- Fracture-dislocation—an unstable injury where a vertebra is broken and ligaments are torn; this type of fracture frequent results in spinal cord compression.
Symptoms of fractured vertebrae include:
- Pain: usually experienced in the back, but sometimes occurring as high up as the neck. A vertebra fracture may also result in hip, stomach, or thigh pain.
- High fever
- Numbness, tingling or weakness in the outer extremities: these symptoms may indicate that the nerves at the fracture sight are being compressed.
- Loss of control over bodily functions/loss of ability to pass urine: These symptoms can be an indication that the fractured vertebra is pushing on the spinal cord.
Spinal Injury Attorney in Houston, TX
Treatments for fractured vertebrae range in levels of aggressiveness from resting at home to wearing a back brace, receiving drug therapy for pain, or even requiring surgical correction. All treatments will likely be followed by some form of physical rehabilitation to reduce residual pain and improve mobility. In most cases, fractured vertebrae will heal with few complications. More complicated or severe fractures, however, may not fully heal or may result in chronic and persistent pain. If you or a loved one has suffered a fractured vertebra as the result of an accident caused by the negligence of others, you may be entitled to compensation. Arnold & Itkin LLP is ready to review your case and determine if you are entitled to secure compensation.