Fractured Vertebra Recovery Time - How Long Does It Take To Recover? - The Health Experts (2023)

Fractured Vertebra Recovery Time Overview

By Billie Tennant. Last Updated 8th June 2022. When we experience back discomfort, it’s easy to dismiss the pain as a consequence of old age or a faulty lift at work. However, what may feel like a slight twinge one day could develop into a serious injury later on. An injury to your spine could range in severity from hairline cracks in the vertebrae bones to a spinal fracture. Therefore, it is vital to understand what the pain may

Fractured Vertebra Recovery Time - How Long Does It Take To Recover? - The Health Experts (1)

Fractured vertebrae recovery time guide

signify and how it can be properly treated to avoid further injuries, especially for those over the age of 60.

Whether your vertebra injury occurred at work, home or in a public environment, it could leave you with serious implications. In addition to this, a broken vertebrae could take a significant amount of time to heal.

In this guide, we will look at the common types of fractured vertebrae injuries, what types of spinal fracture treatment are available to the public and what exercises a person can incorporate into their daily routine in order to aid the recovery process. You could even qualify for free orthopedic treatment and physiotherapy aftercare.

To find out more about what treatment options are available to you, contact us on 020 3870 4868 or look at the bottom of this guide for further contact methods.

Choose A Section

  • Overview – What Is A Fractured Vertebrae Injury?
  • Common Types Of Fractured Vertebrae Injuries
  • Treatments For A Broken Vertebrae
  • The Average Recovery Time For A Vertebral Fracture
  • Fractured Vertebrae Classification Statistics
  • Exercises To Aid Recovery
  • How To Manage The Pain Of A Fractured Vertebrae
  • What Type Of Care Should I Use To Follow Up A Vertebrae Injury?
  • Broken Vertebrae Braces Used For Back Relief
  • How To Help Your Recovery With Physiotherapy
  • You Could Qualify For Free Treatment With Us
  • Further Reading

Overview – What Is A Fractured Vertebrae Injury?

If a bone in your spine has suffered a break, it is referred to as a vertebral fracture. As your spine runs from the bottom of your pelvis to the base of your skull, there are a number of spinal fractures that you could suffer and these will affect the location and severity of pain felt. A spinal fracture can bear very different implications to a broken wrist or a fractured rib. As there are more than 33 bones that form our backbone and protect your spinal cord, damage to any one of those could be worrying.

In most cases, a broken vertebra is caused by a bad slip or fall. However, a more severe injury could be caused by a distressing car accident, a malfunction in equipment or any other type of traumatic accident. Whereas other back conditions, such as osteoporosis in which bones become brittle or weak are mainly caused by old age. There are additional causes to a broken vertebrae back injury, such as malnutrition, cancer, a weak immune system or even obesity. A fracture of the vertebrae could lead serious complications, such as bone fragments that pinch and damage spinal nerves or the spinal cord.

There are a number of common broken vertebrae injuries in the back area, many of which will be discussed in the next section.

Common Types Of Fractured Vertebrae Injuries

There are several types of spinal fractures in which a person can suffer from. These may include Compression, Burst Fractures, Flexion-distraction and Fracture-dislocation. Many of the fractures include stable, unstable, minor and/or major complications.

Compression Fracture

Generally speaking, the vertebrae can absorb great amounts of pressure. However, when the vertebra experiences a sudden stress of pressure, it is unable to handle the force and this is what can lead to a spinal fracture. This is a particularly common type of fracture, especially in patients with osteoporosis or those with weakened bones from other disease, including that of bone cancer. A sub-type of the Compression Fracture is a Wedge Fracture. This is a sub-type vertebrae fracture which occurs anteriorly (front) or laterally. These fractures are more commonly found to create an anterior collapse and cause a section of the vertebrae to become wedge shaped.

Bust Fracture

These types of fractures are more severe than compression fractures. They are the result of serious trauma on the vertebrae, such as from a car accident or a natural disaster. When the vertebra is put under extreme pressure, the spinal bone itself can become entirely crushed, unlike a Compression Fracture in which a portion of the vertebrae is crushed. As a Burst Fracture includes a multiple areas to the fracture of vertebrae, it can cause bony fragments from the burst itself to disperse and cause severe damage to the spinal cord.

Flexion-distraction Fractures

If your spine has been pushed forward under extreme pressures, such as in a car accident, it may cause a Flexion-distraction fracture. As the spine flexes forward under sudden movement, it may cause a broken vertebrae or a fracture disc in the spine.

Treatments For A Broken Vertebrae

The process of treating a fractured vertebra is entirely dependent on the nature of the injury. A number of major spine fractures can be healed through nonsurgical procedures to allow the injury to recover naturally. There are various medications which can allow the bone density to stabilise and back braces to restrict minimal movement during the recovery process. Although most people return to their everyday activities following nonsurgical recoveries, some patients require further fracture of vertebrae treatment of surgical intervention for a full recovery. A broken vertebrae in back treatment process which does not require surgery could include a range of methods, such as bed rest, back bracing, pain medication and physiotherapy.

For a spinal fracture in elderly patients, it may be mandatory for a broken vertebrae back brace to be vital in the recovery process to ensure the prevention of future injuries. Whereas a spinal fracture brace may not be suitable to younger patients.

Furthermore, for spinal fracture management of pain, most people may require medications to help ease pain and discomfort. In addition to this, a doctor could prescribe active modification over bed rest to help keep the bones mobile and prevent further compression fractures. There may be a short period of bed rest but no more than a few days as prolonged activity should be avoided.

In circumstances where a fractured vertebrae osteoporosis has been suffered, surgical treatment may be required to address the pain, the break itself, any underlying spinal fracture osteoporosis and prevention of potential future injuries.

The Average Recovery Time For A Vertebral Fracture

In general, the broken vertebrae recovery time could last between 8 and 10 weeks with rest, medications and a brace for spinal fracture stability. However, if the fracture was caused by osteoporosis it could require further medical attention.

In cases where nonsurgical treatment for spinal fracture management is required, the patient should expect the injury to heal naturally within a three month period. But this could be longer or shorter depending on the severity of the break and in some cases the pain may improve significantly in a matter of weeks.

However, the spinal fracture healing time for those that require surgery may be proportionately longer where pain persists and becomes chronic overtime. Usually surgical procedures are required for vetebroplasty, kyphoplasty or spinal fusion surgery.

Fractured spine recovery time for a return to work

Some people may be concerned about when they can return to work. A spinal fracture or similar injuries such as fractured vertebrae in the neck is likely to affect your mobility, meaning you are unable to work during your recovery.

With regards to fractured spine recovery, the amount of time you miss at work can vary depending on factors such as how severe your injury is and the nature of your job. In short, there is no singular answer to how long it will be before you can return to work.

NHS sources tell us that typically, office workers will need to take around 4-6 weeks off work whilst they recover. Those who work in more physically demanding settings may require longer before they can return to their role. Some recovery periods may even take around 3-4 months.

So, the main thing to keep in mind is that everyone’s injury will be different. By seeing a medical professional, you can receive a proper assessment and bespoke guidance on this subject, and more.

Fractured Vertebrae Classification Statistics

When we think of spinal fractures, it may be hard to identify with the idea that others are suffering from the same injury. However, broken vertebrae and compression fractures are far more common than one might first assume.

In the US, an estimated 1.5 million vertebral compression fractured occur each year. This injury is primarily prevalent with age, which can reach up to 40% by the time you reach 80.Although they are common in predominantly elderly populations, at least 25% of postmenopausal women are affected by this injury during their lifetime.

In England and Wales, it is estimated that more than 2 million women are suffering from osteoporosis, according to research conducted by NICE. In addition to this, it is thought that at least 25,000 of annual fractures are osteoporosis-related clinical vertebral fractures in England and Wales. Further hospital episode statistics also reveal that approximately 800 percutaneous vertebroplatsy procedures and 500 percutaneous balloon kyphoplatsy procedures were undertaken in the England and Wales areas in 2008/09.

Exercises To Aid Recovery

After a spinal fracture, your daily activities may become increasingly difficult and agitating as pain begins to increase. Although medical attention can help to some degree, the broken vertebrae recovery time may begin to elongate as time goes on. But there are some exercises which you may find of use during the recovery period to ensure the strength is restored to the muscles in your back.

You will more than likely be required to wear a broken vertebrae back brace initially to allow the bones to be supported during the healing process. While the brace will provide much needed support, there are gentle exercises recommended by specialists which can improve posture. Some of these exercises include:

Pelvic Tilt

This is a gentle exercise which allows a person to become aware of the anterior and posterior realignment of the spine. When conducting this exercise, you must first lie on the ground with your knees bent and feet placed flat on the floor. You should then place two fingers on each hip bone, tilt your pelvis up while you keep your back flattened to the ground. Hold this pose for 3 seconds and then gently release. Then you should reverse this movement by tilting the pelvis down so that your lower back lifts slightly off the ground. Hold for 3 seconds and repeat the two exercises.

Hip Bridge

To begin, lie on the ground with your back to the floor and place your hands by either side of your body. Push your heels as close into the bottom of your glutes as much as possible while keeping your feet flat on the floor. From here, press your feet and shoulders into the ground while lifting your hips up to form a straight diagonal line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold this pose for 20 to 30 seconds, ensuring that your hips are pushed as far forward as possible and your glutes are tensed, and relax. Release and repeat.

Abdominal Conditioning

Although it may seem strange to strengthen your abdominal during a broken vertebrae lower back injury, your abdominal muscles provide essential support to your lower back. Therefore, it could be important to keep both areas strong and healthy for a speedy recovery.
You should begin by with your back to the floor, your knees bent and your feet placed fat on the ground about hip distance apart. Breathe in, and on the exhale contract your pelvis and lower abdominal muscles and hold for 5 to 10 breaths. Once you have released the contraction, rest for a moment and repeat the exercise.

Knee-To-Chest Stretches

These stretches could help elongate the flower back and relieve tension and pain too. To perform this exercise, you should begin by lying with your back to the floor and your knees bent while keeping both feet flat on the floor. From here, use both hands to pull one knee into the chest while keeping the other foot flat on the floor. Hold this position for 5 seconds, while keeping the abdominal tight and pressing the spine as far into the floor as possible without experiencing any sharp pains. Then, return to the starting position and follow the same procedure for the opposite leg. Repeat this process for each leg 2-3 times.

Lower Back Rotational Stretches

This exercise can help with relieving tension in the lower back and gluteus area which may have risen from prolonged bed rest. This can also gentle move the core muscles to improve abdominal strength as well.

You should begin, as previously mentioned, with your back to the floor, knees bent and feet flat on the ground (a couple of inches apart from the glutes). Then, keeping your shoulders firmly on the floor, softly roll both bent knees over to one side and hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Gently return back to the starting position and repeat the same process for the opposite side. You can repeat this exercise 2-3 times for each side.

How To Manage The Pain Of A Fractured Vertebrae

In order to manage the pain of a broken vertebra in the lower back, there are a range of medications which you can purchase or receive through prescription to ease any discomfort during the fracture of vertebrae recovery time. In order to relieve pain from a spinal compression fracture, you may also look to short periods of bed rest to assist your fracture of vertebrae treatment.

A prescription of the right medications could help reduce the pain suffered by this injury; however some over-the-counter pain medications are also sufficient in relieving pain. In some cases, it could be beneficial to seek out non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs alongside acetaminophen non-prescription medications which can be used over short periods of time as muscle relaxants and nerve relief.

Whereas some spinal fractures could be allowed to heal naturally, and this may last up to three months. However, the pain endured by an individual is known to significantly improve within a matter of weeks from this method. There are some experts which may recommend conservative treatment methods in order to manage fractured vertebrae symptoms, such as through bedrest, pain medications or even a spinal fracture brace to decrease the patient’s motion and therefore pain.

However, it has been known for medical interventions -specifically Kyphoplasty methods- to significantly reduce a patient’s pain while simultaneously avoiding any weakening of the bones and muscles .

What Type Of Care Should I Use To Follow Up A Vertebrae Injury?

In most cases, it may advised that you seek frequent follow-up appoints with a medical professional. It may be that your GP that follows up these appointments along with recommendations of physical therapy and rehabilitation. It may be the case that some patients are advised to resume normal activities as soon as possible without any restrictions. In the meantime, you can apply ice on your back for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed by a healthcare professional or alternatively apply heat to the injured area for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed to decrease both pain and spasms within the muscles.

However, you should be aware that you may need to return for further x-rays or additional tests.

Broken Vertebrae Braces Used For Back Relief

In the process of treating a fractured vertebra, a back brace may be necessary to reduce motion and strengthen muscles around the injured area. This may be particularly beneficial in fractured vertebrae treatment for elderly patients as they are more susceptible to progression bone deterioration and therefore are considered to be more frail than younger patients.

A broken vertebrae back brace are designed to limit movement of the spine which should reduce pain and strengthen the spinal structure. This can help the healing process by preventing further injury or damage while minimising discomfort for the patient.

There are various methods that you may use to apply your spinal brace, some of which are dependent on the size and shape of the brace, or whether it has an additional chest place. You will be given the option in instructions on the way in which the broken vertebrae lower back brace should be applied/removed. These may include:

Lying (Option 1)

Firstly, begin by lying on your back with your knees bent so that your feet are flat on the floor or bed. From here, lift your glutes up off the surface to create a gap between your back and the ground. Slide the back panel of the brace underneath you and slowly lower yourself onto the spinal brace. Make sure the spinal brace is located in the correct area, with the panel placed centrally within your back before fastening the brace to the recommended tightness.

Lying (Option 2)

You may find it more comfortable to affix the broken vertebrae brace by rolling onto your side first as opposed to lying on your back. If so, you can feed the side panel of your brace underneath and fasten the straps securely. From here, roll onto your back and check that the brace is located centrally within your vertebrae before securing any final straps.

By sitting on the edge of a bed, you can apply the spinal brace to your front while making sure that the middle set of holes run in a straight line across the centre of your body. Next, threat the back panel of the spinal brace behind you and keep the open side on your right. Then, after you have adjusted the brace to ensure it is lying underneath your buttocks, fold the front panel over your stomach and fasten the flaps on the outside of the front panel. From here, you should be able to reach around and grasp the black straps on righthand side and attach them to the front panel.

As with any treatment, there are some complications which may arise as a result of wearing a spinal fracture brace. As movement cannot be entirely stopped while wearing a spinal brace, a person may require additional treatments to help manage the condition. Furthermore, while the main purpose of a vertebrae brace is to strengthen various muscles around the injury, it may cause weakness of the other muscles around the spine as the brace is essentially taking some weight off of these muscles. However, this can be combatted by gradually removing the use of the spine after a person has been medically advised and replacing the treatment method with an exercise programme. In addition to this, pressure from use of the spinal brace could also lead to redness or breaking of the skin in extreme cases.

To ease discomfort in fracture of vertebrae treatment, a pump and air bladder can be fitted to provide inflated support to the natural curve of your back. You will be fitted by an experienced physiotherapist prior to wearing the brace to clarify whether it is ill-fitting or not.

How To Help Your Recovery With Physiotherapy

There is increasing evidence to suggest that physiotherapy is beneficial to fractured vertebrae treatment. Both manual techniques and exercise interventions have been known to play an important role in the treatment process. Those in care may find there are a variety of physiotherapy packages available to them, all of which are specifically designed to target specific pain areas for individual fractures, such as fractured vertebrae lumbar, fractured vertebrae thoracic and fractured vertebrae osteoporosis.

Some spinal fracture packages may be more ‘hands on’ than others, with various exercises requiring massages and mobilisations to address the pain and physical impairments. Whereas others may be entirely up to the individual to conduct on their own accord. However, it is widely known that physiotherapy is a helpful and successful method of treatment.

You Could Qualify For Free Treatment With Us

There are too few people who are aware that they could be entitled to private treatment to help them recover from their injuries. If you have suffered a spinal fracture or a broken vertebra in your neck, you may be entitled to free private medical care from a local provider through our services.

To find out whether you, a friend or a family member is entitled to treatment for broken vertebrae in back treatment, contact our friendly advisors today on 020 3870 4868or click here to make an online claim. Their expertise and knowledge could provide you with a definite answer as to whether you are entitled to free medical care within 30 seconds.

Further Reading

What Is A Spinal Fracture? – NHS
Guidelines provided by the NHS for fractured vertebrae injuries.

Osteoporosis – NHS
One of the many types of spinal fracture injuries that could harm a person.

Spondyloisthesis Slips
What happens when one of the bones in your spine slips?

Whiplash Support
Information about what a whiplash injury is and how it can be treated.

Fractured Spine Injuries
Our detailed guide to symptoms, diagnosis and treatment for vertebra fractures.

Overview Of Fractured Skull
An overview of the symptoms, causes and diagnosis of a fractured skull

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