When the vertebra gets crushed from all directions, doctors give the individual a diagnosis of a burst fracture. When this happens, fragments from the sudden shatter can damage the spinal cord and some of the surrounding tissues.
What are a few symptoms of burst fractures?
Back pain that gets worse with movement is a common symptom of burst fractures. Other common symptoms include numbness, weakness of the bladder, and in some severe cases, paralysis. The most common cause of burst fractures is car accidents. If you have recently been in a car accident, go to the hospital immediately.
What if you do not need surgery?
This is an important question because sometimes burst fractures can get treated with no medical intervention. In such cases, most doctors will recommend that you wear a brace for eight to ten weeks and attend physical therapy. First, you will need to wear the brace for eight to ten weeks, and then you will need to go to therapy to regain your strength. They should fit your brace on the first or second day of your hospital stay. Then, the doctor should order an X-ray to ensure that your spine is stable in the brace. At the beginning of this process, you may receive narcotics to help with pain from the car accident.
What if you do need surgery performed?
If your burst fractures are more severe, you may need to have surgery performed. Conditions that indicate that you need to have surgery done include the loss of bodily height, forward posture at greater than a 20 percent curve, or a pinched disc. Surgery can help decompress and stabilize the spinal cord. When you go in for surgery for the burst fracture, you may need three to five days to recover. Some time after surgery, they will fit you for a brace and encouraged to walk with the aid of a trained physical therapist.