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Fracture

Fractures in your back can occur anywhere in the bones of your vertebrae but most are in your middle or lower back.

Common Signs & Symptoms

  • Sudden, severe back pain (although it can start gradually if it’s a compression fracture)
  • Usually worse in standing or walking and better when you lie down
  • Lifting, twisting and bending are painful
  • Often following a fall, car accident or high impact injury
  • If your spinal cord is involved there may also be symptoms such as pins and needles, tingling or numbness in the legs - in severe cases your bowel and bladder may be affected

Description

Fractures of the spine fall into 2 categories:

Traumatic- from accident or injury, for example a car accident, fall from a height or from playing contact sport

Non-traumatic- this is when the bone has lost strength and usually occurs when you have osteoporosis or other medical conditions

Fractures in your back can occur anywhere in the bones of your vertebrae but most are in your middle or lower back. Your bone will fracture when more pressure is put on the bone than it can stand causing it to break. The most common spine fracture occurs when a sudden downward force compresses your vertebrae causing it to collapse - this is known as a compression fracture. Because your spinal cord sits close to the vertebrae, in severe cases fragments of bone may compress or damage the spinal cord causing weakness in your legs, pins and needles, numbness or changes with your bowel and bladder function (unable to wee or poo).

What to do next...

If you have severe back pain following an accident or injury, or a medical condition such as Osteoporosis, contact your GP to make sure there has been no fracture.

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