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Spine and Back Health

Fracture of Thoracic spine

09/24/2009

Question:

Hello I am 18 and am a college Freshman. I am set to play college basketball, the season just a month away. Last season (my senior year) I was diagnosed, through a bone scan, with a fracture to my T8 vertebrae, and believe it was caused by a softball injury! I took the summer off, and thought my back was better, but now that I`ve started working out, my back has started to hurt again. I don`t know if I want to risk playing at the sake of it getting worse and causing long term problems. I am planning on going to the doctor soon, but I don`t know how to tell if it`s worse. What kind of specialist should I see?

Answer:

Hello, thank you for your question. I would recommend that you see a spine specialist, either a neurosurgeon who specializes in spinal surgery, or an orthopedic spine specialist. Alternatively, you could start by seeing a physiatrist (otherwise known as "physical medicine and rehabilitation" - don't confuse this with a psychiatrist), or a pain management doctor. Usually the types of fracture you're describing heal on their own, so your pain might not have anything to do with that previous injury. Good luck.

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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