Spinal Fractures For more information, please visit our Integrated Spine Care site What do I have? A spinal fracture occurs when one of the bones in the spine fractures or collapses. What does it do? Spinal fractures often result in pain or could also result in damage to nerves or the spinal cord resulting in weakness, sensory loss, strange sensations, difficulty with or inability to walk, or bowel and bladder dysfunction. Can it be cured? Spine fractures can often heal, but may need to be stabilized by either surgery or with a brace so that healing can take place. What caused it? Car accidents (45%), falls (20%), sports (15%), acts of violence (15%), and miscellaneous activities (5%) are the primary causes of spinal fractures. Diseases such as osteoporosis and spine tumors also contribute to fractures. How is it treated? Treatment of a fracture begins with pain management and stabilization to prevent further injury. Other body injuries (e.g., to the chest) may be present and need treatment as well. Depending on the type of fracture and its stability, bracing and/or surgery may be necessary. Braces & Orthotics do three things, 1) maintains spinal alignment; 2) immobilizes your spine during healing; and 3) controls pain by restricting movement. Stable fractures may only require stabilization with a brace, such as a rigid collar (Miami J) for neck fractures, a cervical-thoracic brace (Minerva) for upper back fractures, or a thoracolumbar-sacral orthosis (TLSO) for lower back fractures. After 8 to 12 weeks the brace is usually discontinued. Unstable neck fractures or dislocations may require traction to realign the spine into its correct position. A halo ring and vest brace may be required. Instrumentation & Fusion are surgical procedures to treat unstable fractures. Fusion is the joining of two vertebrae with a bone graft held together with hardware such as plates, rods, hooks, pedicle screws, or cages. The goal of the bone graft is to join the vertebrae above and below to form one solid piece of bone. It may take several months or longer to create a solid fusion. Vertebroplasty & Kyphoplasty are minimally invasive procedures performed to treat compression fractures commonly caused by osteoporosis and spinal tumors. In vertebroplasty, bone cement is injected through a hollow needle into the fractured vertebral body. In kyphoplasty, a balloon is first inserted and inflated to expand the compressed vertebra before filling the space with bone cement.