Compression Fracture

Compression Fracture – A Guide to the Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

In some cases, back pain is not just a part of aging. If you’re approaching 60, it’s important to be more aware of any changes you notice in your body; a simple backache could be an indication that there are tiny cracks forming on the vertebrae along your spine. Multiple hairline fractures can cause a vertebra to collapse, resulting in a spinal compression fracture. Once this occurs, your body will begin to show the effects of this condition, such as having a weakened and deformed spine, or losing height. Seeking treatment for diseases that cause this condition like osteoporosis, may not guarantee that you won’t succumb to another compression fracture, but it can significantly improve your overall spinal health.

The Causes of Compression Fractures

Spinal compression fractures are quite common, especially if they are the result of osteoporosis. However, some other causes of this condition may include:

  • Osteoporosis is a form of bone loss that causes your bones to become brittle and break easily
  • Spinal cord injuries caused by sports or a traumatic accident
  • Metastatic tumors in the spine can weaken the vertebrae until it collapses

    The Symptoms of Compression Fractures

    Initially, as compression fractures begin to form, you may not experience any symptoms. As the condition progresses, noticeable symptoms may include the following:

    • Sudden and sharp back pain
    • Pain that worsens when standing or walking
    • Pain that lessens when lying on your back
    • Reduced spinal range-of-motion
    • Gradual height loss
    • Spinal deformities and eventual disability

    Treatment Options for Compression Fractures

    Since most cases of compression fractures can be related to underlying conditions such as osteoporosis, your doctor will likely treat that specific disorder. For instance, you may be advised to take bone-strengthening vitamins and supplements in conjunction with physical therapy and exercise to keep your bones strong and prevent fractures. Some other treatment options for compression fractures may include:

    • Over-the-counter pain medications, muscle relaxants or medicines for bone and nerve pain as prescribed by your doctor
    • Bed rest, followed by a period of very limited activity
    • Wear a back brace for external support and to limit movement
    • Physical therapy exercises to strengthen the muscles around your spine
    • Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are two surgical methods for injecting cement into the fractured vertebra which provides supports, strengthens the area, and provides pain relief. The operations can be performed under moderate sedation rather than general anesthesia.

    If a compression fracture is putting pressure on your spinal cord, you need to seek immediate medical attention. Dr. Lewis at Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic can provide a prompt diagnosis, in addition to innovative treatment solutions to help prevent permanent injury. With extensive training in multiple spinal treatment techniques, he has taught technical surgical courses across the country and developed specialized equipment for various procedures.

    Contact us today to learn more about compression fractures or to schedule a consultation. We’ll find a solution that works for you. Call us at (601) 366-1011.