A vertebra can break
or fracture, just like any other bone in the body. Vertebral compression fractures in the spine occur when a vertebral body has been weakened due to severe trauma, but is also the result of cancer or osteoporosis. Compression fractures are most common in the vertebrae of the lower back. Vertebral compression fractures may cause severe back pain, limited mobility, and/or a “hunched-over” appearance due to the change in shape of the vertebral body. Patients who experience a vertebral compression fracture are at significant risk for another fracture within the next five years. Multiple compression fractures can lead to reduced lung function, weight loss, depression and significant spinal deformity.
The most common treatments
for a compression fracture are decreasing activity, the use of spinal support braces, and pain medications. Compression fractures usually take about three months to fully heal. When compression fractures require more aggressive treatment, minimally invasive procedures called vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty are effective in the quick treatment of the pain associated with vertebral compression fractures. Our Spine specialists are available to evaluate patients with compression fractures and discuss available treatment options.