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Why Do I Have Lumbar Fractures?

Why Do I Have Lumbar Fractures?

It’s no doubt that back pain is a nuisance, but do you know what’s causing your back discomfort? Back pain has many different causes, and some are less severe than others. Sometimes, though, you could have small fractures in the bones of your spine and not even know how you got them.

At Kellogg Brain and Spine, our expert team cares for your neck and back, especially when you’re experiencing pain. Our neurosurgeon, Dr. Jordi Kellogg, specializes in many different treatments for back pain, including pain that’s caused by fractures in your spine.

Understanding your lumbar spine

The lower portion of your back is known as your lumbar spine. It’s located under your thoracic spine, and above your sacrum and coccyx. 

Your lumbar spine is made up of a number of different components, including:

All of these components work together to give your spine stability and structure.

Your spinal cord stops at the top of your lumbar spine, but the nerve roots continue down the rest of your spine. These nerve roots at the lower end of the spinal cord are known as the cauda equina. 

Your lumbar spine has other functions as well, as it:

While your lumbar spine is very strong, it does take a lot of wear and tear on a daily basis. This makes it prone to injury and pain. 

Symptoms of a lumbar fracture

The symptoms that you experience with a fracture in your lumbar spine depend on a lot of variables — including where the fracture has occurred and the severity of the broken vertebra. Often, there’s immediate discomfort, no matter how your vertebra is broken.

When you suffer a broken vertebra, one of the key symptoms is usually pain in your back, but there are other signs that you should be aware of as well, including:

In some cases, these fractures can involve the nerves in your spine. This may lead to problems with bowel and bladder control. This is an emergency, and you should seek treatment as soon as possible. You may also experience numbness or tingling in your legs if your spinal nerves are involved.

Causes of lumbar fractures

Unless they’re caused by blunt or high-impact trauma, lumbar fractures are often the result of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the strength and durability of your bones. Your spine is often affected, due to the constant wear and tear it takes every day.

When you’re younger, your bones rebuild themselves as quickly as they break down. This is a constant process that goes on your whole life. However, as you get older, your bones continue to break down, but aren’t able to rebuild quite as fast.

Osteoporosis happens when your body can’t keep up with the breakdown of bone, causing them to become brittle and weak. This often leads to fractures throughout your body, including your spine. These fractures are known as compression fractures, and occur easily when you have osteoporosis.

But osteoporosis isn’t the only cause of lumbar spine fractures. Bone cancer and spinal tumors are other possible contributing factors. These conditions also weaken your spinal bones, making them more prone to fractures. 

Sometimes, though, fractures are the result of an injury, whether it’s a fall or a car accident. Either way, spinal fractures aren’t something you want to let go. Dr. Kellogg can get you the treatment you need, no matter what the cause of your lumbar fracture.

If you’re worried your back pain is due to a bone fracture, call one of our offices in Portland or Wilsonville, Oregon, to schedule a consultation. You can also click the request an appointment button while you’re here on our website. 

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