Sometimes caused by a traumatic spine injury but most often related to osteoporosis, compression fractures occur when one or more vertebral bodies in your spine crack or break.
The vertebrae are the vertically stacked bones that form your spinal column. Osteoporosis is a progressive condition that causes these bones to lose density and strength over time.
That can cause fractures to form in the bone(s) and may eventually cause the affected vertebrae to crumble or collapse. Compression fractures occur more frequently in women than men, likely because women are more prone to developing osteoporosis.
Compression fractures typically occur in the upper to mid-back, but osteoporosis can cause other bones to fracture easily, especially those in your hips and wrists.
Depending on the severity of the fracture, you may not experience any symptoms initially. As the condition advances, however, you may notice:
Simply plopping into a chair or bumping your back against a countertop can cause a compression fracture when you have advanced osteoporosis. Pain-related to these sudden fractures can be excruciating.
To relieve pain and correct spinal instability related to a symptomatic compression fracture, your provider may recommend kyphoplasty.
During this outpatient procedure, your provider first makes a small incision near the targeted treatment area. Under X-ray guidance, they insert a small tube (catheter) into the damaged vertebra.
A medical balloon inserted into the vertebra and inflated via the catheter restores the bony structure to its normal height and position in the spinal column.
Once that’s accomplished, your provider injects quick-drying bone cement into the cavity created by the balloon. After the cement hardens completely, which takes about five minutes, it strengthens the natural vertebrae.
After removing the catheter, your specialist closes the incision with a bandage or a single suture.
Vertebroplasty, which may also be recommended to treat a compression fracture, is similar to kyphoplasty except that a balloon is not used to lift the vertebrae before bone cement is injected into the site.
For more information about the therapies we offer for compression fractures, make an appointment at Pain Specialists of Oregon. Call the office today or book your visit online.