Compression Fractures
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Compression fractures are commonly seen in the elderly population. Women are more likely to suffer these fractures. The fractures do not necessarily only happen after falls and may occur during activities of daily living [such as coughing, getting out of bed, etc].

Although the fractures are very painful initially, most patients with compression fractures have relatively quick recovery. The initial treatment may include bed rest, bracing, pain medication, Cacitonin and other medications depending on the location and severity of the fracture.

Rarely, the fracture may cause problems with weakness or numbness in the legs; bowel and bladder function may also get affected. In these cases, rapid intervention with surgery is absolutely necessary. Fortunately, this type of situation is exceedingly rare.

If the fracture continues to cause significant pain at about 2 to 3 weeks after the injury, however, surgical intervention via kyphoplasty may be appropriate. This procedure is "minimally invasive"; the average patient has quick pain relief with rapid recovery and is usually able to return to their normal daily activities within a few days of the procedure.

The left panel shows a fractured vertebra; the vertebra is compressed in the front and has lost its usually square/rectangular shape. With kyphoplasty, a balloon is introduced into the vertebra which can "jack up" the vertebra via inflation of the balloon. Cement is then injected to keep the proper shape of the vertebra with significant pain relief.

To learn more about kyphoplasty, click here.

The information contained above is intended for general reference purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice or a medical exam. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before starting any new treatment. No health information on Spine Specialty Institute, including information about herbal therapies and other dietary supplements, is regulated or evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and therefore the information should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a medical doctor.