Compression Fracture: What Is It, and What Can You Expect?

Compression Fracture: What Is It, and What Can You Expect?

Your back hurts. It even hurts when you cough or sneeze. One of many causes of back pain is a compression fracture. This type of bone break is usually a small, hairline fracture in one or more vertebrae — the bones in your spine. You’re not alone; doctors treat about 1.5 million spinal compression fractures every year in the U.S.

Our expert staff at Apollo Pain Management in Sun City Center, Florida, are the right people to see when you have undiagnosed musculoskeletal pain. If you have a compression fracture, we review your medical history and medical condition and recommend a treatment option that’s best suited to you. 

Why do I have a compression fracture?

Your spine carries quite a load during your lifetime. Your backbone is the heart of your body’s musculoskeletal system. It helps support your body when you stand, sit, move, bend, or twist. 

As you age, your bones become thinner and more fragile. You don’t absorb vitamins and minerals as well as when you were younger. This loss of calcium and minerals contributes to thinner bones. 

If you have osteoporosis or spinal arthritis, you’re more at risk for a compression fracture. In fact, you’re at twice the risk of a spinal compression fracture than a hip or wrist fracture if you have osteoporosis

Bone is a living tissue, constantly breaking down and rebuilding. As you age, and especially if you have osteoporosis, your bones lose more mass when the connective tissue breaks down than when it rebuilds new bone. Your bones lose their original mass and strength; they become thin and porous and break much more easily than when you were young with solid bone mass. 

If you’re a Caucasian or Asian woman who is in menopause or post menopausal , you’re at the greatest risk among ethnic groups. Compression fractures can also occur from the trauma of an accident or a tumor. 

Signs of compression fracture 

Following are common signs of compression fractures

You may find that you have more than one compression fracture. These fractures affect the front of the vertebrae. If you have several fractures, the front of the bone can cave in so that your posture and height are affected. You may start leaning forward and hunching over, creating a hump on your back if your posture is left uncorrected. You’ll see a reduction in your height because as the vertebrae cave in, they lose up to one-fifth of their size

Treatments for compression fracture: what to expect  

Conservative treatment requires a period of rest and temporary use of pain medication. If you’re in severe pain from your compression fractures and conservative treatments haven’t helped, our staff likely recommends one of the following procedures

Kyphoplasty 

A kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure in which your double board-certified pain management physician inserts a small device into the fractured vertebra that creates extra space where the vertebra has collapsed. Once the space is opened up, the doctor inserts a special bone cement that keeps the vertebra its new larger size. It’s strong now, so it won’t collapse.  

Radiofrequency ablation 

If you have a tumor that has caused a compression fracture, your physician may recommend a Spine Tumor Ablation with Radiofrequency (STAR). The heat produced by the energy destroys the integrity of the tumor’s cells. 

With today’s modern medicine, there’s no need to suffer back pain needlessly. Call Apollo Pain Management today to request an appointment; we’ll coordinate with your referring physician. 

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