Back aches and pains may be a symptom of fractures occurring in your vertebrae.
Vertebrae are the bones that form your spine, soft weakened bones are a concern for this issue. Compression fractures are generally caused by bone thinning osteoporosis, especially if you are a postmenopausal woman over 50.
When bones are brittle, everyday activities can trigger minor spinal compression fractures. When you bend to lift objects, miss a step or fall, you put your spinal bones at risk of a fracture. Even a cough or sneeze can cause a compression fracture in more severe cases.
After many small compression fractures, your body begins to show the effects. The small fractures can eventually cause a vertebra to collapse. This is called Spinal Compression Fracture.
These tiny fractures can permanently alter the strength and shape of your spine. You may even loose height because your spine is shorter. Most compression fractures occur in the front of the vertebra, which causes the front part of the bone to collapse creating a wedge shaped vertebra. The back bone is unchanged because its made of harder bone. This creates the slumped posture called kyphosis, or dowager’s hump.
Compression fracture symptoms may include:
- Sudden onset of back pain
- Standing or walking will typically make pain worse
- Height loss
- Limited spine mobility
Treatment for the vertebral fracture will typically include non-surgical methods, such as rest, pain medication, heat/ice compression or slow return to mobility. In certain situations, surgery may be required.
The two most common types of surgery for this type of fracture are vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. Both of these procedures may help the fracture heal.
Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive treatment that is designed to help reduce or eliminate pain caused by a fractured vertebra and stabilize the bone. A low viscosity cement is injected directly into the collapsed vertebral body under high pressure, with the goal of stabilizing the fracture.
Kyphoplasty is a procedure that helps correct bone deformity and relieves the pain associated with spinal compression fractures. During the procedure a tube is inserted through a half inch cut into the damaged vertebrae, and a thin catheter tube is guided into the vertebra, which will inject liquid bone cement. The cement mixture hardens in about 10 minutes.
Ordinarily, most compression fractures due to injury will heal in 8 to 10 weeks with rest, brace wearing and pain medication. However, if surgery was preformed, recovery can take much longer.
Please contact your physician if you are having back pain or your symptoms are getting worse. Dr. Kushwaha is a board certified Orthopedic Surgeon. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment please call (713) 587-6263