When you hear the word “fracture,” you might think of a broken bone – an arm or leg cracked or snapped into pieces due to a sudden force or impact. But did you know fractures can also occur in your spine? Spinal fractures are a little different from a broken arm or leg because they cause tiny cracks in the vertebral bone that damage the spine’s structural integrity.
You may be surprised to hear that spinal fractures are quite common. Around 700,000 people in the United States endure a spinal fracture every year. While some of these fractures occur because of injuries, many of them are due to osteoporosis and bone degeneration. This is just another reason to ensure you’re maintaining proper bone health as you get older.
Graybar Chiropractic serves patients in the Wilmington, Wallace, and Clinton, NC areas who experience back pain or spinal fractures with our holistic approach to patient wellness: Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP). If you have been in an accident or think you may be suffering from a spinal fracture, read on to learn more about how we may be able to help.
What happens during a spinal fracture
Spinal fractures can occur in any part of your spine, but they are most common in the upper back, or thoracic spine. There are a few different types of spinal fractures that can occur.
A spinal compression fracture, or wedge fracture, is the most common type. When a compression fracture occurs, one side of the vertebra collapses and loses height, creating a wedge shape with the other side of the vertebra still in place. These fractures are typically caused by osteoporosis, a disease in which bone density gradually decreases.
Bust fractures are slightly different. They occur when the vertebra fractures on both the front and back simultaneously. These fractures are usually caused by impact-related injuries like falls.
Injury-related fractures may be much more serious than compression fractures. Bone fragments have the potential to impede on nerve activity, which may cause additional pain that shoots down the legs or arms or causes tingling sensations and/or numbness.
No matter what type of fracture occurs, the main symptom will be back pain in the area the fracture is located. Pain normally appears quite suddenly when due to a compression fracture and will appear after an injury if it is a burst fracture.
The waiting game: Diagnosing and treating spinal fractures
If you suddenly begin to feel back pain after an everyday activity or injury, you should visit a chiropractor to be examined and determine the exact source of your pain. Unfortunately, spinal fractures can be difficult to diagnose because they produce similar symptoms to other ailments.
However, spinal fracture pain typically goes away on its own after a month or two. The bone needs time to heal and regenerate, but most patients will experience relief over time.
While you wait for your fracture to heal, your chiropractor may recommend at-home treatment methods such as ice and heat therapy and gentle stretching to help reduce your inflammation and maintain mobility, so your muscles don’t freeze up. They may also be able to do gentle manipulations of your spine to help correct any misalignment caused by the fracture or injury that caused it.
When dealing with spinal fractures, you always want to work with a chiropractor who is experienced and knowledgeable about how to treat sensitive bone. The spinal experts at Graybar Chiropractic in Wilmington, Wallace, and Clinton, NC may be able to provide you relief and assist you on your path to healing. Contact us today to learn more.
Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.