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The consequences of fracture of the spine: cervical, thoracic, lumbar

A spinal fracture is a serious injury of one or more vertebrae, in which the damaged muscles, nerves, vessels. Injury causes complications, leading to negative consequences, affecting the whole organism of the patient. The consequences of fracture of the spine with trauma of the spinal cord – the assignment of disability or death.

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The effects can manifest themselves immediately after the injury, and after a while, causing disorders of the spine. So after spinal cord injuries need immediate treatment from a trauma surgeon and a neurologist.

What is dangerous fractures of the spine

Despite the fact that the spinal cord is protected by the sharp turn of the body is easy to fracture. If the fracture is comminuted nature, there is a risk of spinal cord fragments. Fragments destroy the third part of the cells of the spinal cord and another part of cells dies due to lack of oxygen, the remaining cells die as a result of the self-destruct mechanism.

After the injury occur sharp pains in the affected area that become stronger when walking and other movements. So, for example, when a person suffered a fracture of the transverse process of the spine. Visually visible deformation of the spine, the affected area swells. With open fractures on the skin are wounds bleeding.

Depending on the location of the fracture of the pain experienced in hands (trauma, neck or thoracic spine) or leg (injury of the sacrum or lumbar).

The transverse process fracture is mild pain and mild symptoms. If injured spinal cord, the patient manifested neurologic effects of varying severity. In addition, for injuries of the spine characterized by lack of vertebral bodies, kyphosis, etc.

The instability of the segments

Vertebral motor segments consist of vertebrae, cartilage, joints, muscles and ligaments. Using such a device, the segments of the spine man can move. If corrupted one or more segments, it is loosened and is capable of non-physiological movement.

Often such effects are formed by compression fracture of the third degree. The result of an unstable spinal segment becomes osteochondrosis formed after injury because of destruction of the layers of cartilage to the damaged area. Patient concerned radicular syndromethat occurs when the pinched nerve roots.

Often there is discomfort in the damaged region, which is manifested during exercise. The effects of trauma is the occurrence of hernia, protrusion. Bone growth begins in the form of osteophytes.

Post-traumatic kyphosis

Physiological curvature of the spine not greater than 40 degrees and this is considered normal. Due to injury of the vertebrae, the bending increases and becomes more the norm. The patient feels the growth of the hump or the formation of pathological kyphosis. Post-traumatic kyphosis often manifests itself in people of advanced age or due to osteoporosis after vertebral compression fracture in the sternum.

The disease is almost asymptomatic, so the patient rarely pays attention to incipient pathology and delaying the treatment. When the curvature starts muscle spasm. The patient complains of pain and constant discomfort in the injured Department.

Post-traumatic kyphosis changes the anatomical structure of the bones of the thoracic, disrupts the work of all internal organs (liver, heart, lungs, etc.).

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Neurological effects

When displaced, comminuted fractures and sever the nerves imminent changes in the nervous system of the patient.

The fabric is prone to injuries of the tissuesshocks, rupture, crush. Such nerve damage affect the musculoskeletal system and cause numbness in the affected area.

In trauma of the lower part of the thoracic or if a broken vertebrae of the loins, full or partial loss of motor activity (paralysis, plegia). The patient complains of incontinence of feces and urine. If neurological effects occur in the thoracic (upper part), disrupts the function of the back muscles and abdominals.

The most damaging neurological occur when trauma to the neck. If the damaged spinal cord of a patient paralyzed, there are irreversible consequences in the work of the muscles responsible for breathing and a reduction in the abdominals, muscles of the diaphragm. In severe cases, it is possible to complete respiratory arrest and death from suffocation. If broken 1 or 2-th vertebra, it threatens the patient's death, but such trauma is rare.

After breaking often the patient is given a disability, the person is not able to perform the most simple movements. Patient difficult to care for themselves. Trauma in the cervical spine of the patient is often connected to a ventilator to maintain respiratory activity.

Not all neurological effects manifest immediately after the injury. They can occur months, due to a decrease in supply of blood vessels of the spinal cord and surrounding tissues.

A consequence of the fracture of the spine sometimes becomes myelopathy. This disease reduces the strength of muscle fibers, and disrupts the internal organs, causes malfunction of musculoskeletal apparatus, numbness of the extremities and adjacent tissues.

The consequences of spinal cord injury

The most adverse consequence of the injury is the tissue damage to the spinal cord varying degrees. Usually these effects occur when fractures are compressive in nature. They threaten the patient's life that threatened even the first degree of disability, adversely affects motor activity, leads to loss of health. Persons with first degree of disability unable to serve themselves.

After such injury occurs spinal shock, in which a person is unable to move, begins numbness and extremities, deteriorating reflex activity of the cells of the damaged area. The state of shock lasts from 2-3 weeks to several months, in addition, the patient developed thoracic defects.

"Horse tail", located in the lumbar region, is also exposed to negative changes with trauma with spinal cord lesions. Begins urinary incontinence and fecal incontinence, physical activity the patient does not change.

Spinal cord injury interrupts the nerve impulses from the normal functioning of neurons in the damaged area on the oppressed cells. Disturbed the management function of the CNS. The patient notes a decrease in pressure, his pulse becomes slower, impaired thermoregulation.

The area below the affected area becomes colder the whole body. If the time received a course of treatment and rehabilitation, the functioning of the damaged fracture zone amenable to restoration. If there is a rupture of the spinal cord, its functioning is impossible, even after surgery doctors.


Rehabilitation needs includes rational nutrition, several courses of massage, complex physical therapy (doctor's appointment). For the patient the obligatory walk in the fresh air. He needs social adaptation, especially if the person was disabled.

A full recovery (after the regeneration of damaged cells) is required from 8-11 12-18 months. During this time, should restore function of the spine after injury. If not, then the patient can only put up with the inability to rectify the situation.