Signs and Symptoms of a Spinal Fracture

Spinal fractures, also known as vertebral fractures, are breaks in one or more of the bones that make up the spinal column. They can result from traumatic events, such as car accidents or falls, or from underlying medical conditions like osteoporosis or tumors. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a spinal fracture is crucial for timely intervention and prevention of potential complications.

Spinal Cord fracture
  1. Pain: The most common and prominent symptom of a spinal fracture is pain. The pain can be localized to the site of the fracture or can radiate to other parts of the body, depending on which vertebrae are affected and if any adjacent nerves are impacted.
  2. Numbness or Tingling: If the fracture compresses the spinal cord or nearby nerve roots, a person may experience numbness, tingling, or a “pins-and-needles” sensation in parts of the body.
  3. Weakness: Compression or damage to spinal nerves can lead to muscle weakness or even paralysis in severe cases.
  4. Limited Spinal Mobility: Movement might be restricted, especially when trying to twist or bend the spine.
  5. Deformity or Change in Posture: In certain types of spinal fractures, the shape of the spine may alter, leading to an observable hunchback or other postural deformity.
  6. Loss of Height: Multiple vertebral compression fractures can lead to a loss of height over time.
  7. Difficulty Breathing: Fractures in the upper part of the spine, near the rib cage, might cause breathing difficulties if the broken vertebrae impinge upon the lungs or chest cavity.
  8. Bladder or Bowel Dysfunction: Severe fractures that impact the spinal cord can lead to loss of bladder or bowel control.
  9. Immediate Onset: Symptoms typically appear suddenly after an injury or trauma, though in cases of osteoporosis-related fractures, they can develop gradually.
  10. Increased Pain with Movement: The pain tends to intensify with any movement or weight-bearing activities.

It’s essential to seek medical attention if one suspects a spinal fracture. Even seemingly minor fractures can lead to significant complications if left untreated. Immediate evaluation can provide an accurate diagnosis and guide the appropriate treatment course.

Virginia Spine Specialists is an award-winning, minimally invasive spinal care practice with locations in Fredericksburg, VA and Manassas, VA. We also serve these Northern and Central Virginia locations: Haymarket, Gainesville, Culpepper, Front Royal, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Colonial Beach, Tappahannock and Lake Anna.