Your spine is the backbone of your body, quite literally. It’s a marvel of evolution, providing the structural support we need to stand upright, twist, and bend. However, like any vital component of our body, the spine is susceptible to injuries, with spinal fractures being a particularly concerning type. Let’s explore the common causes of these fractures, ensuring you’re informed and prepared.
As bones weaken and lose density with age, the risk of fractures increases. Osteoporosis is a prime example of this phenomenon. It’s a condition characterized by porous and brittle bones, leading to an elevated chance of spinal fractures, even from minor incidents.
High-energy impacts, such as those from car accidents, falls from great heights, or sports-related collisions, can lead to traumatic spinal fractures. In these scenarios, the sheer force exerted on the spine overwhelms its ability to maintain integrity.
Overexertion during Physical Activity
It’s commendable to be active and engage in regular exercises. However, pushing yourself too hard, especially without proper training or technique, can lead to injury. Deadlifts, squats, or heavy lifting without the right form might put undue pressure on the spine, causing fractures.
While not as common, spinal tumors can weaken the vertebrae. These growths can originate in the spine or spread from other parts of the body, compromising the strength of the vertebrae and increasing the fracture risk.
Certain infections can lead to weakening of the spinal bones. Conditions like tuberculosis or fungal infections of the spine can degrade the bone, rendering it more susceptible to fractures.
Congenital Spinal Deformities
Some individuals are born with spinal deformities which might predispose them to fractures. Scoliosis, a condition where the spine curves sideways, or spina bifida, where the spinal column doesn’t close completely, are examples of such deformities that can heighten the risk.
Repeated actions, especially in professions demanding frequent bending, lifting, or twisting, can introduce microfractures in the vertebrae. Over time, this repetitive stress can accumulate, leading to a more significant fracture.
Vitamin D and calcium play a pivotal role in bone health. Their deficiency can result in weaker bones. Regular intake of these nutrients is crucial, as their absence may increase the likelihood of fractures.
Medications and Treatments
Some treatments, particularly long-term use of certain medications like corticosteroids, can weaken the bones. It’s always essential to be aware of the side effects of any medication and consult with healthcare professionals about potential risks.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Age plays its part in the wear and tear of spinal discs. As these discs degenerate, the vertebrae might move closer together, leading to potential fractures, especially with added stress or trauma.
History tends to repeat itself, and this applies to our bodies as well. A person with a prior spinal fracture is more likely to experience another. This vulnerability stems from the compromised integrity of the spine after the initial injury.
Especially pertinent to women, hormonal changes, such as those during menopause, can lead to a decrease in bone density. As estrogen levels drop, bones can become more fragile and prone to fractures.
Alcohol and Smoking Habits
Lifestyle choices significantly impact our overall health, including the health of our spine. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to decreased bone mass and density, while smoking restricts blood flow, hindering bone health and repair.
Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions can have a detrimental effect on the spine. The chronic inflammation can weaken bones, rendering them more susceptible to fractures.
A diet low in essential nutrients, particularly minerals like magnesium and phosphorus, can compromise bone health. The foods we consume directly impact the strength and resilience of our bones.
Extended periods of bed rest or inactivity can lead to a loss of bone mass. Just like muscles, bones weaken when not regularly used or stressed, increasing fracture susceptibility.
Excessive Caffeine Intake
Though many of us rely on our morning cup of coffee, excessive caffeine intake has been linked to decreased bone density. Moderation is key to ensuring that your caffeine habit doesn’t harm your spine.
Age and Gender
It’s no secret that our bones become more vulnerable as we age. However, it’s noteworthy that women, especially post-menopausal women, are at a heightened risk due to the reasons previously mentioned, like hormonal changes.
Genetics and Family History
If spinal fractures or osteoporosis run in your family, you might be at a higher risk. Genetics plays a role in determining bone structure and density, so it’s essential to be aware of your family’s medical history.
Where you live and work can also influence your risk. Occupations with a high risk of falls or trauma, like construction, or those requiring prolonged sitting or standing can stress the spine over time. Similarly, living in icy climates can increase the risk of slips and falls.
Beyond corticosteroids, other medications can impact bone health. Some antiseizure drugs, certain antidepressants, and specific cancer treatments can lead to reduced bone density.
Stress, depression, and other psychological factors can indirectly affect the spine. They can lead to unhealthy habits such as poor diet or increased alcohol intake, and even directly impact bone health through hormonal changes in the body.
Overweight and Obesity
Carrying excess weight puts additional stress on the spine. The added pressure can weaken the vertebral structures and increase the risk of fractures.
Inadequate Calcium in Childhood
Bone health begins in childhood. Not getting enough calcium during these formative years can have lasting implications, as this is the time when bones are growing and reaching their peak density.
Ignorance or Lack of Awareness
Not understanding or underestimating the risks associated with spinal fractures can be a cause in itself. People who are not informed about the potential dangers might not take the necessary precautions or make lifestyle changes.
Have you suffered a spinal injury through no fault of your own? Contact Payam Law to discuss your case and take the first step to getting the compensation you deserve. You can find us at:
- Beverly Hills – 8383 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 830, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
- Los Angeles – 212 East Pico Blvd, Suite #4, Los Angeles, CA 90015
- Tulare – 100 E. Cross, Suite #122, Tulare, CA 93274
- Hanford – 13400 Hanford Armona Rd, Suite #B
Call now for a free consultation on (877) 729-2652 or (323) 782-9927.