How Does Physiotherapy Help With Spinal Fractures?
Traumatic injuries, osteoporosis, and other medical conditions can all result in spinal fractures, which is a serious condition. Surgery, immobilisation, or physical therapy may all be necessary for treatment, depending on the fracture’s severity. In this blog, we will examine how physiotherapy can be used to manage spinal fractures, the advantages it can offer, and what to anticipate throughout the treatment process. Continue reading to find out more about how physiotherapy can be beneficial if you or a loved one has suffered a spinal fracture.
Causes And Symptoms Of Spinal Fractures
Traumatic accidents, falls, sports injuries, osteoporosis, and other conditions can all result in spinal fractures. Excruciating pain, loss of mobility, and neurological issues like tingling or numbness can all be consequences of fractures. Muscle weakness and pain in the back, neck, or legs are common symptoms, as well as difficulty standing, moving, or sitting.
A person may, in extreme circumstances, experience bladder or bowel dysfunction, which is a medical emergency requiring prompt medical care. Depending on where and how severe the fracture is, the symptoms may change.
Types Of Spinal Fractures
Spinal fractures are classified based on the severity of the injury and the location of the fracture. Here are the types of spinal fractures:
- Compression Fracture – This is the most common type of spinal fracture, which occurs when a vertebrae bone in the spine collapses due to excessive pressure.
- Burst Fracture – This type of fracture occurs when the vertebrae is crushed or shattered into small pieces, causing severe damage to the spinal cord.
- Fracture-Dislocation – This type of spinal fracture is caused when the ligaments holding the spinal column in place are damaged, leading to the vertebrae slipping out of place.
- Flexion-Distraction Fracture – This type of spinal fracture is caused by excessive force on the spine, which can cause the vertebrae to bend and break.
How Physiotherapy Helps With Spinal Fractures
Spinal fractures can cause a range of symptoms, including pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. While rest and immobilisation are essential in the early stages of healing, physiotherapy can play an essential role in helping individuals recover from spinal fractures.
- Pain Management: Spinal fractures can cause significant pain, and physiotherapy can help individuals manage their pain levels through various techniques such as manual therapy, ice, heat, and electrical modalities. A physiotherapist may also suggest exercises to help release natural pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins.
- Restoring Mobility: Spinal fractures can severely impact a person’s mobility, which can lead to further complications. Physiotherapy helps individuals recover their mobility and function through targeted exercises and stretches that help reduce stiffness and increase flexibility. A physiotherapist may also use modalities like ultrasound and electrical stimulation to help promote healing and reduce inflammation.
- Improving Strength: Spinal fractures can cause muscle weakness, particularly in the muscles surrounding the spine. Physiotherapy helps individuals regain strength and endurance through targeted exercises that build muscle and improve overall fitness. A physiotherapist may also provide guidance on how to perform specific movements safely to avoid further damage.
- Preventing Future Injuries: Physiotherapy not only helps individuals recover from spinal fractures, but it also plays an essential role in preventing future injuries. A physiotherapist can provide guidance on posture and proper body mechanics to reduce the risk of developing spinal fractures or other injuries in the future.
- Customised Treatment: A physiotherapist creates a customised treatment plan based on each individual’s specific needs and goals. The treatment plan may include various techniques such as exercise therapy, manual therapy, and modalities that promote healing and improve overall function.
Other Treatment Options For Spinal Fractures
Other treatment options for spinal fractures may include:
- Medications: Painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants may be prescribed to help manage pain and inflammation.
- Bracing: A back brace may be used to stabilise the spine and reduce the risk of further injury. The type of brace recommended will depend on the location and severity of the fracture.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or stabilise the fractured vertebrae. This may involve removing bone fragments, fusing vertebrae together, or inserting hardware such as screws and rods.
- Rest and rehabilitation: Rest is important to allow the fracture to heal properly, but prolonged bed rest can weaken the muscles and lead to other complications. Physiotherapy can help with exercises and stretches to maintain strength and flexibility while the fracture heals.
- Lifestyle modifications: In order to prevent future fractures, lifestyle modifications such as quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and increasing calcium and vitamin D intake may be recommended.
Spinal fractures can be a debilitating injury, but with the help of physiotherapy and other treatment options, patients can experience significant improvements in their pain, mobility, and quality of life. Whether it’s through exercises, manual therapy, or other techniques, a qualified physiotherapist can work with patients to create a personalised treatment plan that addresses their individual needs and goals.
At Upwell Health Collective, our team of experienced physiotherapists are dedicated to helping patients with spinal fractures and other musculoskeletal conditions. If you’re looking for expert guidance and support on your road to recovery, we’re here to help. Contact us today to book an appointment or to learn more about our services.