Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Understanding Fractured Vertebrae

A fractured vertebra, which is also known as a vertebral compression fracture, occurs when the vertebra of the spine gets compressed as a result of a forceful trauma. A vertebra has a thick layer of bones and thus for a vertebra to break or fracture it requires significant force. Thus, fractured vertebra can occur after a severe motor vehicle crash, a fall from a height landing on the feet or the buttocks compressing the spine, getting tackled while playing contact sports like football and rugby and landing on the back.

In some cases, such as in the elderly population or individuals battling cancer, the bones become weak and fragile and even a slightest force may result in a fractured vertebra. The areas most susceptible to break in cases where the bones are weak and fragile are the bones of the low back, although vertebrae in any part of the spinal cord can break.

There are also certain medical conditions like osteoporosis which also make the bones weak and brittle predisposing the individual to a Fractured Vertebra. This condition is seen mostly in females above the age of 50. Osteomyelitis is yet another condition in which there is infection of the bone which may lead to a fractured vertebra.

Recovery Time For A Fractured Vertebrae

What Is The Recovery Time For A Fractured Vertebrae?

In majority of the cases, a fractured vertebra begins to heal within a couple of days after injury with treatment utilizing pain medications, braces, and complete rest. In case if a surgery is required to treat a Fractured Vertebra then the recovery time is close to around four months postsurgery and aggressive rehabilitation.

A fractured vertebra caused due to conditions like osteoporosis tends to take around 10 weeks to heal although pain medications and rest help control pain. Conditions like osteomyelitis causing fractured vertebrae require complete treatment of the condition before a treatment is started for the fracture. In such cases it takes around three to four months for an individual to completely recover from a Fractured Vertebra.

For vertebral fractures caused due to cancer, the recovery time depends on the type and stage of the tumor. Lung and breast cancer are the most common types of cancer which involve the spinal cord. Treatment of the tumor and the time taken for it decides the recovery period for fractured vertebra.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 20, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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