What is a Spinal Fracture?


Our body is given its layout and its structure by our musculoskeletal system. Each and every component of the musculoskeletal system works together to promote proper range of motion, locomotion, and give us the upright structure that separates us from all other primates that we are related to evolutionarily. A big part of this structure is the spine.

Our spine is designed to support us and ensure that we are able to move freely about the world with flexibility. Unfortunately the spine is not invincible and there are many opportunities for problems to arise and deteriorate our spine in terms if bone quality, bone density, structural integrity, and many other aspects that make our bodies what they are.

The bones in our spine are sometimes the most vulnerable. Our spinal column is formed from 33 individual bones called vertebrae, and they are separated by cartilage discs that provide shock absorption and flexibility. In the event of a severe impact on our bodies, such as a car accident or a sports injury, the bones in the spinal column can fracture just like any other bones. While the fracture may be the same as in other bones in terms of the way the bone breaks, the potential for life-threatening injury is much greater. If a vertebra fractures and punctures the spinal cord in any way, there is the potential for paralysis.

There are three types of fracture that can occur in the spine. A vertebral fracture involves a break in the rear of the vertebra, while a wedge fracture usually occurs in the front of the vertebra. These fractures can be extremely painful and debilitating, and must be dealt with as soon as possible. An osteoporotic fracture results from a thinning of the bones, called osteoporosis. This condition is also common, especially in older women and can lead to the degenerative of bone mass.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, roughly 700,000 individuals experience spinal fractures in the United States each year. While it may seem like a condition that is quite extreme and that occurs rarely, a spinal fracture can be much more common than we think. Chiropractic care is applicable in the event of recovery, but only once the fracture is totally healed. With a careful approach, radiology, and a well-thought-out recovery plan, we can make our way back from spinal fractures without significant decreases in quality of life.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Khánh Hmoong