If you’ve been diagnosed with a compression fracture, you know first-hand how small damages can add up to a lot of back pain. Those with compression fractures are usually 55+ and have been experiencing microscopic cracks in the vertebrae for many years. Hairline fractures may not cause pain on their own, but en masse they can cause the vertebrae to collapse—otherwise known as a spinal compression fracture. Integrated Pain Consultants works with compression fracture patients to safely manage back pain.
The foundation of compression fractures are soft and weakened bones. Osteoporosis is a natural bone-thinning process that occurs when you’re over the age of 50. Osteoporosis can be battled by a healthy diet and weight-bearing exercises, but there’s only so much a healthy lifestyle can do to stop the loss of bone density.
Brittle bones equate to the spine not being strong enough to support activities of daily living. Compression fractures generally happen over time, but in a weakened spine an activity like picking up a heavy box, falling, or even sneezing can lead to a bigger compression fracture (particularly for those with osteoporosis).
Just a few compression fractures can lead to side effects. For example, the strength or even shape of the spine can shift. A person starts to get shorter as the vertebrae compress. The majority of fractures occur in the front of the vertebrae, which can eventually cause the front of the bone to collapse. The back of the vertebrae is comprised of tougher bone, which helps it better stay intact. The combination of these can cause a stooped posture or dowager’s hump, otherwise known as kyphosis.
Those most at risk are people with osteoporosis or bone cancer. However, anyone can suffer from compression fractures, especially as they age. You may also be at a higher risk if you’re a white or Asian woman, over the age of 50, a thin female, or experienced menopause before the age of 50. Smokers are also at an increased risk.
One of the most effective treatments for compression fractures is kyphoplasty, an outpatient surgical procedure for those who haven’t responded well to more conservative treatments. Kyphoplasty is when “bone cement” is injected into the damaged area to relieve pain and strengthen the area. Find out more about kyphoplasty and more compression fracture treatments by calling Integrated Pain Consultants at 480-626-2552. We also invite you to learn more about Dr. Nikesh Seth and other providers including Dr. Anne-Marie Cosijns, Dr. Lisa Sparks, Dr. Michael Givens, and our team of Nurse Practitioners.