The spine is a very complex column of bones held together with ligaments and supported by an array of muscles. It surrounds the spinal column and the nerves that control most of your body movement arise from the spinal column.
Acute fractures of the spine will usually follow some sort of trauma, a fall or obvious mechanism such as Motor Vehicle Accident. Some patients, usually the elderly can get fractures of the spine without obvious trauma. Thinning of the bones due to osteoporosis can cause them to collapse under normal loading.
Severe spinal injury can damage the nerves arising from the column leading to pain, numbness, pins and needles and weakness.
If you experience back pain that comes on suddenly you should always consult your doctor or attend ED. Your doctor will carefully examine you based on the symptoms and medical history. Your doctor may also recommend other diagnostic tests such as:
- X-ray: A spinal X-ray may be taken to determine the presence of a fracture
- MRI Scan: An MRI of the spine may be performed to know if the fracture is old or new and to detect other soft tissue abnormalities
- Bone Scan: A nuclear bone scan may be used to help determine the presence or age of the fracture
- DEXA Scan: Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry or DEXA scan, a test to measure bone mineral density, and is typically used to diagnose osteoporosis