The five vertebrae bones from the hips to the chest are the lumbar vertebrae. A fracture of the fourth lower lumbar vertebra is known as an L4 vertebra fracture. Lower lumbar fractures can cause spinal injury, a decrease in body height, and varying degrees of prolonged, severe, and disabling pain and loss of function. In elderly patients, prolonged bed rest during recovery may result in secondary medical complications that could lead to death.
L4 Vertebra Burst Fractures
An L4 burst fracture is a fracture of the fourth lower lumbar vertebra that causes the vertebra to “burst” or shatter into surrounding tissue and possibly the spinal cord. Motor vehicle accidents, including car accidents, trucking accidents, SUV rollover accidents, motorcycle accidents, cycling accidents, and pedestrian accidents are frequent causes of burst fractures. A spinal cord injury is always a possible associated injury of a burst fracture. Depending on the severity of the injury, surgery may be necessary to fuse the fractured vertebra and remove loose pieces of bone. If there is no neurological damage, a custom-molded exterior brace called a Thoracic Lumbar Sacral Orthosis (TLSO) may be worn 24/7 for two months, with regular X-rays and MRIs to monitor healing.
L4 Vertebra Compression Fractures
A collapse of a vertebra is a compression fracture. Compression fractures most commonly occur in the lower back but can occur in any of the vertebrae. Common causes are slip and fall accidents where the person lands on their buttocks or falls from a height where a person lands on their feet, and auto accidents or pedestrian accidents. Because of the risk of injury to the spinal cord with any vertebrae fracture, an L4 compression fracture is a life-threatening injury, although the actual level of permanent damage varies greatly. Older women with estrogen deficiency and osteoporosis are at a higher risk of compression fracture and make break bones with less force.
L4 Vertebra Fracture Symptoms
The classic symptom of an L4 fracture is pain at the injury site. Some individuals may have pain in the neck, upper back, hips, abdomen, or thighs. Weakness, tingling, and numbness are possible indicators of the fracture causing compression on the surrounding nerves. Bladder or bowel loss of control or paralysis may be an indication of the fracture pushing against the spinal cord. If you have any severe back pain due to trauma, seek medical attention immediately. A doctor will perform a physical examination, order x-rays, CT scans, and an MRI of your spine if necessary, and may also consult with a neurologist.
Compensation for L4 Fracture Injuries
Vertebra fractures are serious injuries that can cause long-term or lifelong pain, discomfort, and disability. Multiple surgeries may be necessary, and vertebra fracture patients may be forced to spend weeks or months in recovery. If you or a family member suffered a lumbar vertebra fracture in an accident that was caused by somebody else’s negligent, reckless or careless actions, an attorney can help you recover compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering. Call (800) 925-0723 to speak with a California personal injury attorney at Estey & Bomberger about your legal rights. Our attorneys are available to discuss your case and answer your questions 24 hours a day. All consultations are free and if we handle your case, we will not charge any legal fees unless we recover money for you.