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Spinous Process Fracture

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is a spinous process fracture?

A spinous process fracture is a break or crack in the back part of a vertebra. Muscles and ligaments in your back are attached to this part of the vertebra. When a vertebra is damaged, the spinal cord may also be damaged. Most spinous process fractures do not cause spinal cord damage.

Vertebral Column

What increases my risk for a spinous process fracture?

What are the signs and symptoms of a spinous process fracture?

Signs and symptoms depend on where the fracture happened and how severe it is:

How is a spinous process fracture diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. Tell him or her how the injury happened. You may also need any of the following:

How is a spinous process fracture treated?

What can I do to manage my symptoms?

The fracture may take weeks or months to heal. The following can help manage your symptoms:

What can I do to prevent more injury?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone else call if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.