What is a vertebral fracture?
Spinal fractures occur when the normal vertebral body is “squashed”, or compressed in height. When the load on a vertebra exceeds its stability or inherent strength, the bone can collapse. Pain, limited mobility, height loss and spinal deformity are often the result. In severe cases, part of the vertebral body may protrude into the spinal canal and put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Organ function, including that of the bowel or bladder, also may be compromised.
Vertebral compression fractures can happen for a number of reasons: trauma from a fall or a car accident; bone thinning due to osteoporosis or even the spread of a tumor into the spine. There is no one single cause; however, the vast majority of vertebral compression fractures are the result of osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to progressively become more thin and fragile. When bones are brittle, even everyday activities and minor traumas, such as lifting a laundry basket, missing a step, or even coughing or sneezing, can cause these tiny fractures.
What Are The Symptoms of Vertebral Compression Fracture?
The primary physical symptoms of vertebral fracture include one or more of the following:
- Sudden onset of back pain
- Increase in pain when standing or walking
- Variable pain relief when lying down
- Limited spinal mobility
- Weakness or numbness in the affected areas
- Height loss
- Deformity and disability
- Shortness of breath
How Are Vertebral Compression Fractures Treated?
Treatment of compression fractures includes measures to alleviate the pain, stabilize and repair the fracture, and diagnose the underlying cause of the breakage.
- A reduction in activity or bed rest.
- A spinal brace to limit motion.
- Medication to stabilize or improve bone density.
- Physical therapy
- Epidural spinal injection
- Kyphoplasty Procedure
- Minimally Invasive Spine Stabilization