Burst Fracture: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

by Administrator 26. March 2016 11:08

The spine comprises of seven cervical bones, twelve bones in the thoracic spine and five lumbar spine bones. A burst fracture is a condition which involves crushing of any of these vertebrae due to excessive pressure. The broken pieces may smash into the surrounding tissues and lead to compression of the spinal canal. Burst fractures generally occur between the thoracic and lumbar spine region.

Types of burst fractures:

  • Stable Burst Fracture:  A fracture in which there is no neurologic injury is termed as a stable fracture.
  • Unstable Burst Fracture: It involves damage to nerves and may cause spinal deformity.


  • Fall from a height: Falling from a great height can cause sudden impact on the spine which can lead to breaking of the vertebra.
  • Motor vehicle accident: Direct trauma to the spine can be caused by motor vehicle accidents.
  • Sports injury: Injury while playing sports such as football, basketball etc. can also cause a burst fracture.


  • Severe back pain
  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Pain in the legs
  • Inability to walk


The doctor may conduct physical examination by evaluating the symptoms experienced by the patient. Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scan and MRI may be suggested to determine the severity of the condition. Nerve testing may also be done to assess the movement and motion reflexes of arms as well as legs.


Non-surgical Treatment

  • Brace:  The doctor may recommend wearing a brace to prevent rotational movement or bending of the spine. If the fracture does not cause any deformity in the spine, a full body brace may be worn to provide support to the back and reduce pain.
  • Rest: Taking sufficient rest may provide relief from pain and discomfort. Activities that involve strenuous back movements must be avoided.  
  • Physical Therapy: After the cast has been removed, the doctor may recommend physical therapy to strengthen the spine muscles and restore flexibility.
  • Medication: Specific medications may be prescribed by the doctor to relieve pain.

Surgical Treatment

If non-surgical treatment does not provide relief, a surgery may be recommended.

  • Spinal Fusion: It involves fusing two or more vertebrae with the help of a bone graft.  
  • Bone Replacement: In this procedure, the burst vertebra is replaced with an artificial bone.
  • Spine Decompression: It aims at relieving pressure from the spinal nerves.

OrthoTexas, Frisco provides treatment for burst fractures and various other spine conditions. To schedule an appointment with the spine surgeons, you can call at (214) 618 – 5502.

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