Understanding Fractured Vertebrae
Fractured vertebra, also known by the name of vertebral compression fracture, is a pathological condition that occurs when the vertebra in the spine gets damaged, compressed, or even broken. This normally occurs as a result of a forceful trauma to the spine due to a motor vehicle collision or a fall from a height landing on the feet or the buttocks. A fractured vertebra can also occur as a result of a stab or a gunshot wound to the spine.
There are also certain medical conditions that can cause a Fractured Vertebra. These fractures are called as pathological fractures. Osteoporosis is the most common cause of a pathological fracture.(1) Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and weak. It is seen in mainly females above the age of 50.
Natural process of aging also plays a role in causing a Fractured Vertebra. As an individual ages, the discs in the spinal column start degenerating resulting in the vertebrae to become weak and thus getting fractured even with small jerks like coughing and sneezing, or even while doing activities of daily living.
Cancer is another cause which may lead to weakening of the vertebrae and causing a Fractured Vertebra. Breast and lung cancer are the most common forms of cancer that involve the bone and have a tendency to cause a Fractured Vertebra.
Many patients with a Fractured Vertebra ask their physicians whether this condition can heal on its own. Read the following array of the article to know more about it.
Can A Fractured Vertebrae Heal On Its Own?
The answer to this question is yes, a Fractured Vertebra can heal on its own. However, this process takes quite a long time of upwards of six months. During these six months, the patient needs to completely rest the spine and is not allowed to do any strenuous activities, bend, lift, or twist. The patient will be given pain medications in the form of Tylenol or ibuprofen to help with the pain caused by the Fractured Vertebra.
Additionally, the patient will have to wear a back brace which is quite bulky and may be uncomfortable for the patient as well. The brace is required to immobilize the spinal column and allow the healing process to take place.(2)
While a Fractured vertebra can heal on its own, there are quite a few demerits on holding off the treatment for this condition. The pain caused by a Fractured Vertebra may be quite debilitating and the patient will have to be dependent on pain medications for quite a long period of time.
At times, opioid pain medications may also be given for pain relief which have a high addiction potential and pain management specialist may have to be consulted to get off the medications.
Furthermore, if a Fractured Vertebra is allowed to heal on its own, then during the healing process a curve may develop of the spine causing the individual to have a stooped posture. This posture puts immense pressure on the nerves of the legs causing numbness and tingling of the lower extremities. A Fractured Vertebra may also affect the bowel and bladder functions in the affected individual.
In conclusion, while Fractured Vertebra can heal on its own, the cons of leaving the condition untreated far outweighs the pros of a treatment and thus it is highly recommended to get the Fractured Vertebra treated rather than wait for the fracture to heal on its own.