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Spine and Back Health

Crushed Fourth Vertebrae

07/15/2008

Question:

I have read that crushed vertebrae often will repair themselves in approximately 4 months. I was told that this is true, but the fourth vertebrae can not repair itself because of where it is in the spine. Is this true?

Answer:

Hello, thank you for your question. Unfortunately, I cannot answer your question without more information. You have three different "fourth vertebrae" in your spine. There is a "C4", which is in the cervical spine, or neck. You have a "T4", which is the fourth thoracic (mid-back) vertebra, and an "L4", which is the fourth lumbar (lower back) vertebra. Also, the term "crushed vertebra" is hard to interpret. Are you talking about a "compression fracture"? There are other types of fractures, such as a "burst fracture", that heal differently. If you can post back with more information, I can help you more.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University