Spinal Cord Injury and Fracture Services in New Jersey
Spinal fractures and injuries necessitate high-quality care from neurosurgeons, pain management services, and physical therapy treatment. From minor compression fractures to major spinal cord injuries, the award-winning team of spine experts at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine and Orthopedics provide comprehensive, personalized treatment for each patient with a complex spine injury. Our highly skilled neurosurgeons and physicians serve patients across Northern New Jersey with the highest level of care for spine injuries.
Types of Spinal Injuries We Treat
The vertebral bones of the spine are strong thus spinal injuries are caused by extreme trauma such as a car collision, sports injury, fall, or gunshot wound. Spinal fractures can destabilize the spine and splintering bone fragments can press against the spinal cord and adjacent nerves causing pain, dysfunction or even paralysis. There are different types of spinal fractures, and the symptoms experienced by the patient will depend on the type. Categories of fractures include:
Spinal compression fractures, which can be traumatic or non-traumatic related, are breakages within the vertebrae that result from excessive pressure against the bone. Demineralized or weakened bones caused by osteoporosis, tumor, or other spine medical conditions can increase the chances of a spinal compression fracture without and history of a traumatic accident.
Vertebral dislocations are considered a type of fracture even though the bone did not break. Rather the bones of the spine are forced out of alignment due to over-stretched or torn ligaments. A dislocation may cause instability and potential damage to the spinal cord if its dislocation presses against the spinal cord or nerves. Dislocations may only require a brace be worn for a limited time period but usually require a stabilization surgery called a spinal fusion.
A fracture-dislocation occurs when there is a combination of both pressure on the bone and ligament laxity or a tear causing malalignment as can happen when there is a high impact injury. The result is both a fracture and a dislocation of one or more vertebrae. The consequences may cause injury to soft tissue, nerves, and the spinal cord. This type of spinal injury is more severe and debilitating. Fracture-dislocations usually require spine surgery .
Fractures of the spine can occur anywhere along the spinal column; approximately 64% of spine fractures occur in the lower back compared to 5-10% affecting the neck region.
The spine experts at the Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics are dedicated to determining the optimum treatment plan that will result in the best outcome for each patient. The physicians and surgeons at CNSO work collaboratively together to effectively and promptly treat each case because a rapid response minimizes permanent damage. Below is a generalized list of treatment options proven to resolve spine trauma, depending on the type and severity of the spinal fracture or spinal cord injury:
Most compression fractures are treated non-surgically with immobilization by the patient wearing a brace similar to a corset. A back brace provides external support to the damaged vertebrae, limiting motion and potentially reducing discomfort and deformity while the bone heals by regrowing and fusing the broken pieces together. The patient would have to wear a hyper-extension brace or corset for up to 12 weeks to get the intended results.
Most less-severe fractures don’t require surgery. Medication or injections for pain relief, often in conjunction with other physical therapy to prevent deconditioning improves the rate of full recovery. Medications recommended may include over-the-counter pain medicines like acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). If a spinal injury is severe, other non-narcotic medications can be very helpful such as muscle relaxants, steroids, and nerve medications. If pain is not controlled with alternative pharmacology, narcotic pain medications may be prescribed for short periods of time until the body adjusts to the new medical condition. At CNSO, the goal is to eliminate the need for opiates within one month.
Spinal fractures may require activity modification, including a short period of bed rest for no more than a few days. Afterward, the doctor may recommend follow-up care with a physical therapist that works with the patient to develop a long-term rehab therapy plan.
Surgical treatment may be the best option for a patient, depending on the type of fracture and whether the bones are compressing the spinal cord or pinching any nerves. If either is visualized on an MRI, surgery will entail removing the offending bone or disc and stabilizing the spine. If patients with compression fractures continue to experience chronic pain from a while at rest, and pain management’s conservative measures have been exhausted, the following surgical methods are used to treat fractures of the spine:
- Vertebroplasty – Compression Fracture Only Treatment
- Kyphoplasty – Compression Fracture Only Treatment
- Spinal fusion surgery – Compression with Dislocation or Dislocation Only Treatment
Schedule an Appointment to Find Relief
Spinal cord injuries and fractures require first-class care from doctors. Patients and doctors trust the award-winning team of neurosurgeons, spine surgeons, pain management physicians, and physical therapists with a combined history of over 70 years of experience successfully treating spinal trauma patients at top hospitals and at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics. CNSO has multiple locations across Northern New Jersey in which patients with a traumatic spine injury can access high-quality care and multiple treatment options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or learn more.