Seizure-induced muscle force can caused lumbar spine fracture

A T Mehlhorn, P C Strohm, O Hausschildt, H Schmal, N P Südkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Patients suffering form epilepsy have an increased risk for fractures. Beside fractures caused by fall or accident muscles forces alone generated during tonic-clonic seizure can result in severe musculoskeletal injury. Contractions of strong paraspinal muscles can lead to compression fracture of the mid-thoracic spine. We report a patient who had suffered from a tonic-clonic seizure during early morning hours. After a cracking sound the patient woke up in a state of post-ictal disorientation, loss of urine and tongue bite. He was admitted to our facilities with the suspected vertebral fracture albeit he just reported of mild lower back pain. Native X-rays and computer-tomography scans showed instable burst fractures of L2 and L4. The fractures were stabilised with a dorsally instrumented internal fixator from L1 to L5 followed by hemi-laminectomy and ventral spondylodesis. Muscle force alone can result in severe skeletal trauma including vertebral fractures. This example emphasizes the importance of critical examination of patients after grand mal seizures. Seizures-induced injuries can appear clinically asymptomatic and can easily be overseen due to absence of trauma and post-ictal impairment of consciousness.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Chirurgiae Orthopaedicae et Traumatologiae Cechoslovaca
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)202-5
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


  • Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinal Fractures
  • Case Reports
  • Journal Article


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