Diagnoses: There are many different types of spinal fractures that can occur in the lumbar spine including compression fractures, burst fractures, flexion-distraction, and flexion-dislocation. Fractures of the spine are typically diagnosed via X-ray imaging.
Symptoms: Symptoms may vary based on the type of spinal fracture and whether or not the fracture is causing nerve problems. Symptoms might range from no pain to sudden and severe pain around the injured site. Decreased spinal mobility, decreased height, and pain with weight bearing might also be present. If nerve involvement is present, an individual might experience:
- Muscle weakness in legs
- Numbness in legs or feet
- Pain traveling down the leg
- Difficulty walking/moving
- Bowel/bladder changes
Causes: Spinal fractures most often occur secondary to trauma, such as car accidents, falls, contact sports, or other violent activities that put extreme force on the spine. Fractures might also occur in people with conditions that weaken the bone including osteoporosis, bone cancer, or spinal tumors.
Our Physical Therapy Treatment: Goals of physical therapy will ultimately be to create an exercise program promoting spinal stabilization. Treatments might include:
- Postural education and awareness
- Core stability and strengthening exercises
- Balance and mobility training
- Functional activity training
- Creation of a home exercise program