About Spinal Fractures
A spinal fracture is quite literally the fracturing of any vertebra in the spine, which can place the entire body at risk. Spinal fractures can cause bone fragments to compress or damage the spinal nerves or spinal cord, creating a potentially life-altering injury. For more than 15 years, our board-certified and fellowship-trained spine surgeon, Dr. Kendall Carll, has been specializing in the diagnosis and careful treatment of spinal fractures at his North Texas practice, Spine Care of North Texas. His medical offices in Addison, Frisco and Plano are equipped to help patients who may have experienced a spinal fracture due to accidents or the deterioration of spinal vertebrae. His aim is to help you find relief from pain and to help you regain your ability to be active and enjoy life to the fullest.
"I recently experienced a pinched nerve that severely affected my ability to use my right hand. I contacted Dr. Carll who immediately went to work on my behalf. Knowing that this was a time sensitive situation Dr. Carll went out of his way to ensure that I received the appropriate MRIs, CAT scans, and nerve studies to properly diagnose my situation. After reviewing all the test Dr. Carll exhibited true professionalism and integrity by referring me out to Dr. Patty Young (I am so thankful for your referral) who specialized in the surgery that I would need. Dr. Carll could’ve chosen to operate because I had several degenerative disc, however he chose ethics over profit. Dr. Carll is a true professional that will put your health over profit! When it comes to your health there’s nothing more important than having a doctor that you can trust to be professional and ethical. Thank you Dr. Carll for providing me with both!"- K.H. / Google / Aug 29, 2018
"Dr. Carll is THE BEST!!! I had to have an A-lift spinal fusion and never before have I seen such a caring doctor and staff. They held my hand through my fears were actually there for me and more throughout the process. I don't believe there is a more caring, more compassionate doctor than Dr. Carll. Thanks to him and his amazing abilities I can feel my right leg again and now live without pain. I will forever be grateful to this office and Dr. Carll for being there for me as a person and as a patient.-Nicole Baucum"- Anonymous / Healthgrades / May 17, 2019
"Excellent care - Very compassionate doctor! Truly cares about your pain and issues."- Anonymous / Vitals / Feb 12, 2019
"Excellent Care!! - I had put off my 360 Spinal Fusion for over a decade, relying on epidurals to deal with the pain. After doing two years of thorough research, I chose Dr. Kendall Carll at the Spine Care of North Texas. Being that I’m in the medical industry, I did ask around, too.From the initial consultation, all staff involved were very supportive and explained all aspects of the procedure; including what I could expect during and after the procedure. Because I never really experienced “excruciating” pain, I stopped taking all pain meds three days after the procedure. I was up and walking the day of the procedure and followed all directives. I was up several times a day walking and learning how to use steps; since I my place is two levels.The staff did a great job setting up my home health care; which included a nurse and a physical therapist. They, too, did an outstanding job. A large part of my job involves air travel. I felt so “good” I reached out to see if I was ok to travel. I followed all restrictions, primarily lifting, and was able to take a two-hour flight. This is amazing considering it was only 23 days post-surgery.If you’re like me and will use insurance, be sure to do the match; to make sure your rehab will be completed by the end of the year.“I am 100% satisfied with my experience with Spine Care of North Texas. Every single person on staff was terrific, and the system worked flawlessly. I now refer all my friends and family to them."- Anonymous / Vitals / Feb 04, 2019
"From the initial consultation, all staff involved were very supportive and explained all aspects of the procedure; including what I could expect during and after the procedure. Because I never really experienced “excruciating” pain, I stopped taking all pain meds three days after the procedure. I was up and walking the day of the procedure and followed all directives. I was up several times a day walking and learning how to use steps; since I my place is two levels. They are the best!!!"- E.E. / Healthgrades / Feb 04, 2019
Most spinal fractures occur because of car accidents, falls, or sports injuries. However, some spinal fractures occur slowly over time due to diseases such as osteoporosis. With osteoporosis, the vertebra may crumble and could lead to compression. This can lead to back pain, height loss, and kyphosis, a condition that causes a hunched posture. A spinal fracture can occur anywhere along the spine; 5 – 10% occur in the neck and approximately 60% occur in the lower back region. Fractures caused by conditions like osteoporosis tend to occur in the upper thoracic region.
Many spinal fractures can be prevented by adhering to a few basic instructions. You should always wear your seatbelt while riding in a vehicle. Additionally, you should wear protective gear such as a helmet when playing sports, riding a bicycle or motorcycle, or horseback riding. Finally, you should never dive head first into a shallow swimming pool.
Symptoms of a spinal fracture tend to vary depending on the severity and location of the injury. Most often, the symptoms include back or neck pain, numbness, tingling, muscle spasm, weakness, bowel/bladder changes, and paralysis. Those suffering from a spinal fracture may quickly realize that standing and walking make their pain considerably worse, while lying flat on their back helps to ease the pain a bit. Not all fractures cause injury to the spinal cord and rarely is the spinal cord completely severed. However, all patients who suspect that they may be suffering from a spinal fracture should seek immediate medical attention to ascertain the nature of the injury and prevent any further complications or pain.
For accidents that may have affected the spine, a trip to the emergency room is warranted. The doctor may initially palpate your back to detect tenderness or sensitivity near your vertebra and along your spine. Diagnostic testing will be conducted based on the findings of the physical exam. X-rays may be conducted to determine whether a vertebra shows a fracture. CT scans could also be used, with or without contrast dye, to create two-dimensional images of your spine. MRI scans may be needed to view the soft tissues of your spine, and to assess ligament and disc damage that might be affecting your spinal cord.
Many spinal fractures heal with conservative treatment, such as pain management and bracing. However, severe fractures may require surgery to realign the spinal vertebrae and strengthen the area of the spine that has been impacted.
Custom back and neck braces can help maintain spinal alignment and immobilize the spine while it heals. Wearing a brace will also help control pain by restricting movement. After 8 – 12 weeks, the bracing can usually be discontinued. Unstable neck fractures may require traction to realign the spine. With these injuries, a halo ring and vest brace may be required.
If a spinal fracture is deemed to be unstable, a fusion procedure can be performed to join the vertebrae. The bones will be held together with a bone graft and the insertion of plates, rods, hooks, and screws, possibly even a medical cage. After the fusion procedure, it might take as many as 12 months for the bones to heal completely.
Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that is often used to treat compression fractures in instances where the vertebral body is compressed or crushed in some manner. These types of fractures are commonly caused by osteoporosis and spinal tumors.
- During a vertebroplasty, bone cement is injected through a hollow needle into the fractured vertebral body
The stabilization or expansion of the vertebral space in either manner can serve to relieve pressure on the spinal cord that might be caused by bone fragments from the fracture. These fragments can be removed, which may allow the spinal cord to return to its normal functionality.
Start Receiving Relief
Board-certified North Texas spine surgeon Dr. Kendall Carll is passionate about providing patients with relief from back injuries or long-term spinal issues. Using proven nonsurgical and surgical techniques, he strives to help patients regain their ability to enjoy life without discomfort. Whether you have previously suffered a spinal fracture or suspect that you may have recently injured your back, we invite you to call Spine Care of North Texas to schedule your appointment. Our skilled team is prepared to help you regain your life and mobility and to reduce your discomfort as quickly as possible.