Spine Fracture - Traumatic
Fall from height and road traffic accidents are the two most frequent causes of a spine fracture. The spine is a highly stable structure by the virtue of disco-ligamentous structures, protecting the spinal cord in the spinal canal. In trauma, bone or disco-ligamentous structural failure can put the spinal cord at risk of compression and thereby cause neurological deficit (paralysis).
Back or neck pain depending on the site of injury, immediately after the fall / accident.
Some may develop weakness of hands or legs, and then this is called acute traumatic spinal cord injury.
Principle: DO NO HARM
Patient should be shifted on a flat sheet, preferably a stretcher/ spine board. Trying to lift the patient or shifting to a wheelchair can worsen the situation and also cause permanent injury to spinal cord
You doctor may advise to get X-ray (Radiographs), CT scan/ MRI, depending on the clinical situation.
Most spine fractures, apart from a few, don’t require surgery.
Non-operative management includes medications, physical therapy and occupational therapy.
Depending on the severity of the fracture, it can be treated by a brace or surgery (pedicle screw fixation).