According to research from Georgetown University, nearly 65 million Americans have reported a recent episode of back pain. In fact, they also indicate that approximately 8% of Americans have chronic back pain problems. This causes…
Spinal compression fractures are a common condition among older adults, often caused by osteoporosis or trauma to the spine. This condition occurs when a vertebra in the spine collapses, resulting in pain, decreased mobility, and in severe cases, neurological complications. If left untreated, spinal compression fractures can lead to a reduced quality of life and significant disability.
However, several treatment options are available to manage this condition, ranging from conservative measures to surgical intervention. The best option will depend on the underlying cause of the fracture and the severity of the symptoms. This article will give you a better understanding of spinal compression fractures and explore possible treatment options that a specialist at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery can help you with.
What Are the Common Causes of Spinal Compression Fractures?
Several factors can cause spinal compression fractures, including:
- Osteoporosis: This is often the most common cause of spinal compression fractures, especially in older adults. The condition causes bones to become weak and brittle due to a loss of calcium, which can cause them to fracture or break easily, even with minor trauma or stress.
- Trauma: Trauma to the spinal region may cause spinal compression fractures, which may occur after a car accident or slip and fall. The impact force can cause the vertebrae to collapse or fracture.
- Cancer: When cancer has spread to the spine, it can weaken the bones and make them more prone to fractures.
Other medical conditions that may lead to spinal compression fractures include:
- Multiple Myeloma: A cancer of the bone marrow that can cause weakened bones
- Paget’s Disease: A condition in which bones become enlarged and weak
- Spinal Stenosis: When the spinal canal narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, leading to spinal compression fractures.
Regardless of the cause, your spine doctor will assess your symptoms and recommend the most suitable treatment for your spinal compression fracture.
Treatment Options for Spinal Compression Fractures
Depending on a range of factors, treatment for spinal compression fractures can take one of two approaches.
1. Conservative Management
This is the first treatment option for spinal compression fractures. This approach focuses on pain management and increasing mobility to prevent further complications. Some common conservative measures include:
- Pain Management: This can include over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Your doctor may also recommend prescription pain medication or a nerve block injection to help manage pain.
- Bed Rest: Resting can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Your doctor may recommend limiting activities, such as bending or twisting, and using a brace or support to help stabilize your spine
- Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can customize an exercise program to help improve mobility and reduce pain. Strengthening exercises can help support the spine, while flexibility exercises can help improve the range of motion
Surgical intervention may be necessary if conservative measures fail to provide relief or if the compression fracture is severe.
2. Surgical Procedure
Several surgical options are available, depending on the severity of the compression fracture and the individual patient’s needs. They include:
- Vertebroplasty: This is a minimally-invasive procedure that involves injecting bone cement into the affected vertebra. This technique stabilizes the vertebra, reducing pain and preventing further collapse.
- Kyphoplasty: Similar to vertebroplasty, this involves inserting a balloon into the collapsed vertebra to create a space for the bone cement. This procedure can help restore the vertebra’s height, reduce pain, and improve mobility.
- Spinal Fusion: Fusion involves combining two or more vertebrae to create a stable unit. This procedure can help ease pain and prevent further collapse of the spine
- Laminectomy: This surgical procedure involves removing a portion of the vertebrae to alleviate pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of spinal compression fractures, seeking treatment as soon as possible is important. Delaying treatment can lead to extreme complications and reduce your quality of life.
Are There Complications Related to Surgical Treatment?
Like any surgical procedure, there are potential complications associated with spinal compression fracture surgery. Some of these complications include the risk of infection, excessive bleeding, nerve damage, dural tears, blood clots, and in some cases, failure to relieve symptoms of spinal compression fractures.
Before undergoing spinal compression fracture surgery, you should discuss potential risks and complications with your OLSS team. Additionally, you must follow all post-surgical instructions to minimize the risk of complications.
Seek Relief With Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery
Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery is a leading provider of spinal care, with a team of highly trained and experienced orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons. Our team of experts works closely with each patient to develop a customized treatment plan to meet their unique needs and goals. We are committed to providing the highest quality care to our patients by using the latest technology and techniques to achieve optimal outcomes.
If you require spinal care, schedule an appointment by calling us at (855) 853-6542 or filling out our contact form. Our team of experts can help diagnose your condition and develop a treatment plan to help you return to living your life to the fullest. Don’t let spinal compression fractures limit your mobility or cause unnecessary pain.