Our lumbar spine is the part of the spine most associated with bearing heavy loads. Because of this burden it also is the source of most of our back pain.
The L1-L5 vertebrae make up the lumbar spine, connecting the thoracic spine with the pelvis.
When one of these five vertebrae are fractured, you could say you have a broken back. But it’s nothing to joke about. After all, certain breaks can allow the vertebra to impact the spinal cord residing within the vertebra, and you know where that ends.
Since we’re about a month into football season in this pigskin-crazed state, which is where many lumbar fractures occur, let’s get into these fractures.
What are the most common causes of lumbar fractures?
Fractures of the lumbar spine often result from high-energy trauma, such as:
- High-speed car crashes
- Falls from great height
- Sports accidents/collisions
- Violent acts
In later age, fractures may be caused by the bone degradation of osteoporosis. These fractures can occur from something as innocuous as twisting or tripping and falling from a standing height.
How serious can lumbar fractures be?
The most serious aspect of a fracture in the lumbar spine is the possibility of serious spinal cord or nerve damage. That’s why the initial response to these injuries needs to be to stabilize the fracture. This will later become necessary with bracing or surgery.
Will I be able to walk again if I have a lumbar fracture?
Although a broken back sounds horrifying, a broken lumbar vertebra can be successfully treated, whether that treatment is surgical or nonsurgical. If surgery is necessary, the training, skill, and experience of our four board-certified neurosurgeons at Texas Neurosurgery will ensure the best possible outcome.
Because there is so much variation between the types of these fractures and their causes, there is no way to predict outcomes. Having a lumbar fracture, however, does not in any way mean you will never be able to walk again.