Trauma, the result of physical injury to the spine, can lead to compression of one or more vertebrae and injury to the spinal cord or nerves. Vertebrae weakened due to osteoporosis can also fracture (break) with low-level trauma.
The most common symptom of spinal trauma is the sudden onset of pain following a traumatic episode. In severe cases, where the fractured bone is pushed into the spinal cord or nerves, the damage may lead to pain, weakness, numbness, or paralysis.
Spinal trauma is typically caused by a violent force applied to the spine, which can compress and fracture vertebrae. Motor vehicle accidents and falls are frequent causes of spinal trauma.
Fractures may occur anywhere along the spine but are most common in the middle and lower back. The sudden onset of back pain following an injury is suspicious for a fracture. Treatment of spine fractures will depend on the symptoms and extent of the damage.