Your question: How does a spinal fracture change over time?

Over time, multiple fractures can disrupt the alignment of your spine, causing it to tilt forward (dowager’s hump). This forward curvature can become so pronounced that your balance is affected and your chest cavity compressed, making it difficult to breathe, eat or sleep properly.

Can a compression fracture get worse over time?

The main symptom you’ll notice with a spinal compression fracture is back pain. It may start gradually and get worse over time or come on suddenly and sharply.

How can you tell the difference between new and old fractures?

An MRI can also tell if the fracture is old or new. A nuclear bone scan — May be used to help determine when the fracture occurred. The age of the fracture is sometimes important to know to help guide treatment options.

What makes a spinal fracture unstable?

When all three columns are involved, the fracture is by definition considered unstable, because of the loss of the integrity of the posterior stabilizing ligaments. The table below shows the types of fractures, the part or parts of the spine involved, and whether or not it is a stable or unstable injury.

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How serious is a compression fracture?

Complications of compression fractures include: Fractured bones that do not heal after treatment, which can lead to damage of the nearby vertebrae. Blood clots in the legs due to decreased mobility.

Do old fractures show up on MRI?

An MRI scan uses magnetic fields to create computer-generated images of the inside of the body. It’s especially helpful if doctors need to distinguish between a fracture that is actively healing and an older fracture that has not healed.

Can an old compression fracture be fixed?

There’s a good chance you won’t need surgery. Most people can get by without it. Compression fractures usually heal on their own in about 3 months. While that happens, your doctor may suggest you try some things at home that can make you feel better, such as pain medicines, rest, physical therapy, or a back brace.

Can you walk with a spinal fracture?

Depending on how severe your injury is, you may experience pain, difficulty walking, or be unable to move your arms or legs (paralysis). Many fractures heal with conservative treatment; however severe fractures may require surgery to realign the bones.

What percentage of spinal fractures is considered unstable?

Radiographs showing 30 degrees of traumatic kyphosis (forward flexion of the spine) and 50% vertebral body height loss are historically thought to be unstable fractures, but new evidence is changing this belief. Furthermore, any neurologic deficit necessitates an MRI for additional evaluation.

How is a spinal fracture treated?

Medical Treatment

Most fractures are treated with immobilization in a brace or corset for up to 12 weeks. Bracing helps to reduce pain and prevent deformity.

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How is a spinal fracture diagnosed?

The best way to confirm that you have a spinal fracture is by having imaging tests. You may have the following tests done: X-ray: An x-ray clearly shows your bones and if you have any fractures. CT scan: This test shows bones in addition to the soft tissues, such as nerves.

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