The back is made up of several bones called vertebrae, and when these vertebrae break, they are commonly referred to as fractured vertebrae. Spinal x-rays, bone density tests, MRI scans or CT scans can all usually diagnose fractured vertebrae, which may occur suddenly and result in severe back pain. People with fractured vertebrae typically feel this pain in their lower or middle pain, but the front or side of the spine can also be painful, which has been described as “knife-life” and sharp. If multiple vertebrae become fractured, it could lead to kyphosis, which is a rounding of the spine that results in a hunchback-like appearance. Some people may simply be prone to fractured vertebrae because of certain conditions, such as osteoporosis, which is a disease that can cause bone fragility. A patient with cancer, such as multiple myeloma, or someone with a tumor that starts in the spine may also be susceptible to fractured vertebrae. However, in other cases, fracture vertebrae may be the result of trauma to the back. This can mean any type of accident that severely injures the back, such as:
- Car accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical mistakes
- Defective products
These types of incidents can result in fractured vertebrae because when external force is applied to the spine, the bones located in the vertebral column may be incapable of supporting that loan. This can cause a compression fracture if the front part of the vertebral body is crushed. A burst fracture, on the other hand, occurs when an entire vertebral column breaks. In many of these scenarios, a negligent party may be to blame, and the injured individual may be eligible to pursue damages in a personal injury lawsuit. These types of lawsuits are typically meant to cover a wide range of things, such as medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and so on.
Pain from fractured vertebrae can be debilitating, and may take weeks or months to dissipate. The course of treatment will vary from patient to patient; some patients are simply instructed to manage their pain with pain-reducing medication and may also be ordered to go on bed rest. Depending on your line of work, being put on bed rest can result in an inability to earn a living. If you are on bed rest for a prolonged period and you’re out of work for a significant amount of time, you may be dealing with a tremendous amount of debt from bills piling up. This may be on top of the medical bills you are already dealing with that directly resulted from the incident that caused your fractured vertebrae, which can often put injury victims in challenging financial situations.
For some patients, physical therapy may be recommended as part of their treatment, or surgery if the pain hasn’t gone away after two months. Spinal fusion, balloon kyphoplasty, and vertebroplasty are some of the common surgical treatment options for fractured vertebrae. However, this will often require several additional weeks of healing and recovery time, and may also require additional surgery later on. When all is said and done, and after patients have exhausted all options, some may find that they will have to deal with chronic, lifelong back pain to some degree. For some people, this can still be pain that severely affects their daily lives, including their ability to work. Because the decision to undergo certain types of treatment for fractured vertebrae should not be taken lightly, some patients may benefit from second opinions, as each course of treatment has both pros and cons. For example, surgery may be the only way to significantly improve symptoms, but may also result in nerve damage and other negative consequences. If you are uncertain about having an operation, presented with multiple treatment options, you have other medical issues to consider, an experimental or controversial treatment is offered, or you have concerns about the current treatment you are receiving, a second opinion may be the next best step. Alas, while second opinions may in fact be beneficial to those with fractured vertebrae, this also typically means more medical expenses to worry about.
Whether you’re permanently or temporarily out of work due to fractured vertebrae, this type of injury can easily take a toll on someone: not just physically and emotionally, but financially, too. If your back injury was the result of someone else’s negligence and you’re working with a personal injury attorney, you are likely counting on that money to take care of the bills and expenses that have accumulated. Because the settlement process can be time-consuming, plaintiffs sometimes get stressed out and worry about how they will handle these expenses. Contact us today to learn more about receiving money sooner through a process known as pre-settlement funding, or a lawsuit advance.