A compression fracture is one in which a weakened vertebra breaks and collapses (compresses). Compression fractures can be caused by a trauma, such as a car accident. In many cases, the spine may be already weakened by osteoporosis and the trauma causes further injury. It is not uncommon to find other injuries, such as damage to the spinal cord or ligaments from the same trauma that caused the compression fracture.
A compression fracture from a car accident in Florida is a serious injury. It can be very painful, and furthermore, can cause kyphosis, also known as hunchback or dowager’s hump, when the fracture alters the proper curve of the spine. Also, because the spinal cord is very close to the fractured vertebra or vertebrae, any shift resulting from the fractures presents a risk to the spinal cord.
Symptoms of a Compression Fracture
A person suffering a compression fracture from a car accident in Florida may experience a limitation of motion, back pain, reduced feeling in the extremities, and minor swelling.
If the fracture has pinched the spinal cord, numbness or tingling may be felt in various parts of the body.
Treatment of a Compression Fracture
If a compression fracture is suspected, the victim should be immobilized to prevent damage to the spinal cord. Then a brace or a cast is usually applied to the back. Anti-inflammatories and rest, along with casting or bracing, usually continues for six to ten weeks, and is followed by physical therapy.
In some cases, it may be necessary to undergo surgery. Steel rods may be used to realign the vertebrae and hold them in place.
Another procedure that is sometimes needed to relieve the pain of a compression fracture is called a vertebroplasty. In this procedure, a special type of cement is injected into the area of the collapsed vertebra to reinforce the bone. The cement hardens, fusing crushed bone fragments together so they don’t irritate the nerves and alleviates the pain.
Possible Complications of the Procedure for a Compression Fracture
The FDA has issued a warning that complications have been reported from the cement used in the vertebroplasty. These include soft tissue damage and nerve root pain and compression, caused by leakage of the bone cement. Other possible complications the FDA reports include pulmonary embolism, respiratory and cardiac failure, and death.
If you have been in a car accident in Florida and have suffered from a compression fracture of the spine, you may have a claim against the person who caused the accident. Because this is a serious injury with possible complications that may significantly change the quality of your life, the best way to proceed is to discuss your case with an attorney who is familiar with this type of injury.
Even before you interview a lawyer, I recommend that you read a consumer guide by Jim Dodson, entitled Five Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Florida Accident Case. It will provide you with information you need to avoid costly mistakes that could harm your case.