Fractures of the Back, Neck, and Spine

Fractures of the bones that make up the back, neck, and spine are serious injuries that require immediate medical attention.

Spinal fractures typically are caused by high-impact events such as falls and vehicle and sports accidents. They also can result from conditions that can weaken the bones – including osteoporosis, Paget’s disease, cancer, malunions and nonunions (prior fractures that healed improperly or never healed), and several rare genetic conditions.

While the vertebrae can be broken or crushed outright, fractures in the back, neck, and spine are frequently small cracks called stress fractures (spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis), often caused by sudden, intense compression of the spine.

Working closely with their colleagues in Radiology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Pain Management, UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Orthopaedics spine team delivers comprehensive, expert care for all types of fractures of the back, neck, and spine, including stress fractures.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a fracture in the back, neck, or spine can include:

  • Pain, ranging from mild to severe
  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness
  • Restricted movement or paralysis
  • Swelling, bruising, or tenderness near the fracture
  • Bladder or bowel dysfunction
  • Loss of consciousness

Diagnosis

Spinal fractures are diagnosed with imaging techniques that can include X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and bone scans.

Treatments

UT Southwestern’s orthopaedic medicine specialists expertly evaluate, treat, and rehabilitate patients with back, neck, and spine fractures.

Some spinal fractures can be treated nonsurgically with immobilizing devices such as casts, braces, and traction, while others require surgery to repair the broken vertebrae.

Patients recovering from fractures of the back, neck, and spine often benefit from the care provided by the UT Southwestern Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation team.

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a sports medicine specialist at UT Southwestern or to learn more about our services, please fill out the Appointment Request form or call 214-645-8300.

Doctors Specializing in Fractures