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A fracture is in lay man’s language a bone that is broken. This condition alters the shape and functionality of that particular bone. A fracture often occurs when there has been the application of high stress on the bone. Fractures are common in over millions of people all over the world every single year, and they are caused by various reasons such as; sports-related injuries, falling, or from osteoporosis. There are many types of fractures, but our primary concern in this paper is the compression fracture and specifically the T12-L2 compression fracture.
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Compression Fracture T12-L2
A compression fracture occurs when the bone is crushed, and it appears flat. These fractures usually occur in the spinal cord and are often mistaken for back pain. Compression fractures start out as small cracks inside the vertebrae, and when those tiny cracks combine, they are responsible for the collapse of the vertebra. According to Amaral et al. (2016), that fracture is referred to as spinal compression.
The fracture mentioned above is commonly known to occur within the middle portion of the spinal cord, the thoracic spine. Compression fractures usually happen at the lower section of the above mentioned thoracic spine known as T11 and T12 and at the very first vertebrae of the lumbar spine, L1. These fractures are as a result of excessive pressure on the whole vertebral body, as a result of the combination of bending forward and the downward force applied to one’s spine.
One cannot possibly pinpoint one specific cause of compression fractures, which is why this paper will focus on a few key reasons that may lead to said fractures. One of the most common reasons a person may have compression fractures is if the person is ailing from osteoporosis. The disease affects the elderly, and it causes bones to thin out, as they get older. The above means that their bones are unable to withstand even normal pressure because they are too weak. The thin bones can usually collapse even during simple routine tasks, leading to the development of spinal compression fractures. The fractures can lead to permanent alteration of the strength and the shape of one’s spine leading to kyphosis.
Metastasis is another reason why a person may suffer from these fractures. Metastasis refers to the spreading of cancer into other parts of the body. When these cancer cells spread to the spine, they weaken the vertebra leading to compression fractures. According to Kim et al. (2016), the fractures may also be an excellent way to recognize undiagnosed cancer. Another reason may be trauma, for instance a car accident.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
When the fracture occurs because of trauma, and it occurs suddenly, the person will feel brutal pain on their back, arms and legs. The person will also experience numbness and or weakness in said areas if the fracture damages or injures the spine’s nerves. In the case of fracture due to disease, the fracture is gradual, and as such, one feels mild pain or no pain until the actual breaking of the bone (Takano et al, 2017). A health caregiver or a bone specialist is the one who can accurately diagnose the fracture. There can be many causes of internal pain and as a result the need to visit a hospital to determine the problem efficiently.
- Amaral, D. T., Damasceno, R. S., & do Amaral, L. L. F. (2016). Spinal Fractures in Adults. In Critical Findings in Neuroradiology (pp. 455-463). Springer International Publishing.
- Kim, S. K., Chung, J. Y., Seo, H. Y., & Lee, W. G. (2016). Vertebral compression fracture within a solid fusion mass without trauma after removal of pedicle screws. The Spine Journal, 16(3), e219-e223.
- Takano, H., Yonezawa, I., Todo, M., Mazlan, M. H., Sato, T., & Kaneko, K. (2017). Biomechanical Study of Vertebral Compression Fracture Using Finite Element Analysis. Journal of Applied Mathematics and Physics, 5(04), 953.