What Do We Mean By A Broken Back And What Causes It?
Broken back is quite a severe injury and requires immediate medical attention. Broken back is the term referred to a fracture of any of the bones forming the spinal column. These bones are referred to as vertebrae. The spinal cord has 24 vertebra of which any one can fracture or break resulting in a Broken Back.
The primary cause for a Broken Back is a forceful trauma to the spine such as from a motor vehicle crash or a fall from a height landing on the buttocks or the feet severely jarring the spine to the point that the vertebrae breaks.(1) Incidents of violence like a stab or a gunshot wound to the back may also result in a Broken Back.
Degenerative changes to the spine as a result of aging also predispose a person to issues like fractured or a Broken Back. There are also certain other medical conditions like osteoporosis which make the bones brittle and weak again predisposing the person to suffer from a Broken Back.(2) Osteoporosis is found mainly in females above the age of 50. Certain forms of cancer like breast and lung cancer also may result in broken Back as they also make the bones weak. A Broken Back incurred as a result of an underlying medical condition is referred to as pathological fractures.
An individual with a Broken Back will have intense pain in the back which will not allow that individual to perform any activity of daily living or recreational activity smoothly. Additionally, it will also be difficult for the individual to bend, push, pull, or lift.
A question that most patients with a broken back ask their physician is whether surgery is always required for treatment of this condition. This article throws some light on this issue and explains whether a Broken Back can heal without surgery.
Can A Broken Back Heal Without Surgery?
The answer to this question is, Yes. A Broken back can heal without surgery even though it takes quite a long time of upwards of three to six months for the fracture to heal. During the treatment, the patient will be given pain medications in the form of NSAIDs to ease the pain and make the patient more comfortable. In some cases, opioids may also be prescribed for some time to control the pain which will require weaning monitored through pain Management.
Throughout the healing phase of the Broken Back, the patient will not be allowed to move or put stress on the back. The patient will be on complete bedrest for at least a period of three months. A back brace will be utilized to prevent any motion of the back which may worsen the condition. These braces may be bulky and quite discomforting for the patient.
Once the symptoms of broken back calm down and the patient feels better, then the process of rehabilitation will be started with certain weightbearing exercises to see if the patient can perform such exercises without pain or discomfort. The patient may be sent to physical therapy for this purpose. After completion of physical therapy, gradually the brace will be removed and the patient will be eased back into normal activities.
In conclusion, a Broken Back can definitely be treated without surgery even though it may take upwards of three to six months for the fracture to completely heal. Additionally, the patient will require back brace, aggressive physical therapy for strengthening of the back and lower extremity muscles, and a gradual return to work program before the affected individual is deemed treated from a Broken Back.
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