It’s fair to say that when we think about ‘spinal fractures’ the worst springs to mind in every sense.
There are different types of spinal fractures that can occur as a result from different events.
The most common types that physiotherapists tend to see are:
Yes, spinal fractures can be a troublesome occurrence, particularly those of that have occurred as a result of trauma. Trauma that can cause spinal fractures include car accidents and severe falls. In most cases, a fracture in the spine is quite apparent and will be detected by medical staff after traumatic events. There is also the possibility that a fracture may not require surgery and in some cases, surgery is an option. As Physiotherapists, we do see spinal fractures from time to time and when we do, we work very closely with your GP and/or Specialist involved to ensure the best outcome possible. However, not all spinal fractures are this extreme
Commonly, stress or repetitive use can cause fractures. This is because, over a period of time where that same movement is repeated over and over (for example cricketers and bowling practice), that repetition can cause a strain on the joints in the same area and is aggravated continuously. Stress fractures of the lower back are reasonably common – particularly in fast bowlers. This type of fracture requires careful clinical inquiry and sometimes medical imaging using X-Rays and / or MRI’s. Physiotherapy is central to a positive outcome in these situations as patients will usually require rehabilitation through exercise therapy and/or a pilates program.
Another common type of fracture in the spine is what will call a crush fracture. These sound worse then they are and tend to occur in the upper back region. Often crush fractures tend to occur in the elderly and in people with osteoporosis issues. Again, physiotherapy can be of significant benefit to patients experiencing this type of spinal issue by way of providing pain relief and rehabilitation through strengthening.
These are just some common types of spinal fractures.
There is a wider range of spinal fractures – in terms of type, severity and the treatment required.
It is important that any traumatic event or persistent spinal problems are assessed by your Physiotherapist.
This ensures your potential for recovery is maximised.
Remember, your physio can liaise closely with your doctor if need be, and facilitate X-rays if indicated.
If you have persistent spinal problems or even a recent car accident, please contact us to see a Physiotherapist to help kick-start your recovery.
Cameron Dickson, myPhysioSA Associate Physiotherapist