FRACTURE of the THORACIC and LUMBAR SPINE (Mid and Lower Back)
The most common spine fractures are of the mid back and lower back or at the junction of the two. These fractures are typically caused by high velocity accidents such as a car crash or fall from height.
Men experience fractures of the thoracic or lumbar spine four times more often than women. Seniors are also at risk for these fractures, due to weakened bone from osteoporosis. Because of the energy required to cause these spinal fractures, patients often have additional injuries that require treatment. The spinal cord may be injured, depending on the severity of the spinal fracture (AAOS, 2013).
Common cause of fractures to the thoracic spine, lumbar spine, and thoracolumbar junction include:
- Falling from a height with great speed or force.
- Car crashes and impacts exceeding speeds as low as 35 mph.
- Gun shot wound.
- Blunt trauma.
Any injury to the vertebrae can have serious consequences to the spinal cord, the central nervous system’s connection between the brain and the body, runs through the center of the vertebrae. Damage to the spinal cord can result in paralysis or death. Injury to the spinal cord at the level of the thoracic and lumbar spine can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis of the entire body below the point of injury.