Compression Fractures of the Spine
Gulf Coast Spine Care specializes in creating personal treatment plans for our patients.
Osteoporosis and Compression Fractures
The most common cause of compression fractures of the spine is Osteoporosis. These spinal fractures occur in nearly 700,000 patients each year.
When the small bones of the spine (vertebrae) weaken from osteoporosis, they can narrow or shrink. The weakened vertebrae are at a high risk for fracture. A vertebral compression fracture occurs when too much pressure is placed on a weakened vertebra and the front of it cracks and loses height. Vertebral compression fractures are sometimes the result of a fall, although people with osteoporosis can suffer a fracture even when doing everyday things, such as reaching, twisting, coughing, and sneezing.
Most people who suffer a vertebral compression fracture get better within 6 to 8 weeks without specific treatment to repair the fracture. Simple measures, such as a short period of rest and limited use of pain medications, are often all that is prescribed. In some cases, patients are instructed to wear a brace to restrict movement and allow the vertebral compression fracture to heal.
If you have severe pain that does not respond to initial treatment measures, then surgery may be considered. The two types of vertebral augmentation methods available are kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty. The best candidates for these procedures are patients who suffer severe pain from recent vertebral compression fractures. If you are a candidate for vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty, your surgeon will discuss which one may be better for you based on the type of vertebral compression fracture you have.