Signs You May Have a Compression Fracture in Your Spine

Signs You May Have a Compression Fracture in Your Spine

An estimated 1.5 million spinal compression fractures occur every year in the United States. These painful fractures can cause a variety of long-term mobility issues and ultimately affect the stability of your spine.

At The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care, spine specialist Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, FAAOS, offers comprehensive treatment strategies to repair spinal compression fractures

Dr. Bo also focuses on preventing chronic pain by stabilizing your spine and providing resources that reduce your risk for future fractures.

An overview of compression fractures

Your spine has 24 vertebrae that are stacked on each other to create stability in your body. Each vertebra connects to the spinal canal, the space where your spinal cord rests.

As you get older, your bone density changes. Your bones get thinner and lose their strength. This can happen more rapidly and earlier than usual if you have osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a chronic disease that causes weak, brittle bones. These weakened bones are more likely to fracture, even with minor movements like a sneeze or a cough. You can have osteoporosis with no symptoms for years until one of your vertebrae breaks.

Other factors that can contribute to compression fractures in your spine include:

You may also be more likely to have a compression fracture if you’ve had one in the past.

Signs you might have a compression fracture

The primary symptom of a compression fracture is back pain. You may first develop pain in the area of your spine near the break, typically in the mid or lower back.

You may notice that your back pain gets worse with movements but feels better when you lie down. Sudden movements like a cough or sneeze can cause sudden pain, which can also radiate down into your legs or arms.

Because of your pain, your spine may not have its usual range of motion, making walking and other physical activity difficult.

We offer comprehensive X-rays and other diagnostic imaging tests, as well as physical exams to identify compression fractures. Dr. Bo may also order a bone density test to determine if your fracture relates to osteoporosis.

Treatment options for spinal compression fractures

In some cases, a compression fracture will heal on its own within three months without medical intervention. You will need to limit your activities and get plenty of rest while you heal. Dr. Bo may also recommend that you wear a brace to stabilize your spine during the healing process.

If you have a severe fracture that requires treatment, you may need surgery. Dr. Bo offers two types of minimally invasive spine surgeries – kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty – to heal the fracture and stabilize your spine.

Kyphoplasty

During kyphoplasty, Dr. Bo inserts a needle into the fractured vertebra. He uses fluoroscopy, a real-time X-ray technology, to guide the needles into place.

He also inserts a small balloon through the needle and gently inflates it to move the bone back into proper position. To strengthen the vertebra, Dr. Bo adds a special cement which hardens and stabilizes your spine.

Vertebroplasty

Vertebroplasty is a surgical technique similar to kyphoplasty. Instead of the balloon procedure, Dr. Bo injects cement directly into the vertebrae to treat the fracture.

In addition to surgery, you may also need to take supplements or make dietary changes to treat underlying osteoporosis, so your risk for additional fractures is lessened.

If you have chronic back pain that’s not getting better, call The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care office nearest to you today to schedule an appointment or book a consultation online. 

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