Vertebral Compression Fractures Questions and Answers
Read our Q and A page for more information on vertebral compression fractures. Please call us for more information or book an appointment online. We serve patients from Houston TX, Sugar Land TX, Pearland TX, Jersey Village TX, Missouri City TX, Stafford TX and Richmond TX.
The vertebrae are a series of small bones that make up the backbone. When the vertebral body in the spine collapses, vertebral compression fractures occur. This often results in extreme pain, disfigurement and loss of height.
What is the treatment for compression fractures in the spine?
In most cases of compression fractures, nonoperative treatments are recommended. These treatments include modified physical activity and pain medications. The doctor may recommend wearing a brace that prevents bending forward and helps support the back, therefore removing pressure from the fractured vertebrae.
On average, vertebral fractures take about three months to completely heal. Your doctor may order monthly X-rays to monitor the healing process of the fracture.
Treatment of osteoporosis can help prevent additional fractures if the fracture is caused by osteoporosis. Treatment may include weight bearing exercises, bisphosphonates, calcium and vitamin D supplements.
If the spine appears to be unstable, surgery may be necessary. The surgeon may perform a kyphoplasty or a vertebroplasty. To stabilize the fracture, treat pain, and prevent a spinal deformity from progressing, during these surgical procedures, the surgeon may inject a cement mixture into the fractured bone.
Is a compression fracture serious?
Compression fractures fully heal in 8 to 12 weeks, and become more serious each time they occur. This is especially problematic since people who suffered from one compression fracture are more likely to suffer another. While a compression fracture often results in severe back pain, the nerves are typically unaffected as the spinal cord sits behind the vertebrae and the vertebra often collapses forward.
If you have suffered a compression fracture, you should see a doctor to evaluate back pain if:
- You are older than 65 years old
- You are younger than 12 years old
- Your pain levels are the same at rest as they are while active
- You have unintentional weight loss
- You have or have had cancer
In addition to back pain, if you have any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention at an emergency department:
- Loss of control of your bladder and bowels
- Severe pain, numbness, or weakness
- High fever
How painful is a spinal compression fracture?
A compression fracture can sometimes cause a sudden, sharp pain in the back or the pain can develop gradually. The pain may be mild or very severe. It may be constant and dull and may worsen when standing, bending forward, walking, or sitting for an extended period of time. The pain may radiate to the abdomen. As doctors do during the examination, gently tapping along the back causes discomfort.
The pain typically starts to diminish after about 4 weeks and disappears completely after about 12 weeks. When not the result of osteoporosis, compression fractures cause sudden pain, and the site of the fracture is sensitive to touch. These people usually also have muscle spasms.
How long does pain from compression fracture last?
Pain from a compression fracture can last as long as three months, although the pain will decrease after a few weeks. Pain management can include bedrest, physical activity and back bracing.
If you or someone you know has sustained a vertebral compression fracture, come to Modern Pain Management for treatment. Our kind and compassionate professionals are experienced in treating vertebral compression fractures and can help you find relief from the pain. For more information on our vertebral compression fracture treatment and how it can benefit you, call our office and get in touch with a member of our specialist team. To book an appointment with our vertebral compression fracture specialist, visit our website or speak with us over the phone today.