While our physicians at Remedy Pain Solutions are trained to treat a wide array of spine-related disorders, one particular injury commonly seen in our patient population is a spinal compression fracture.
What is a spinal compression fracture?
A spinal compression fracture occurs when the vertebral body, located on the front side of your spine, gets compressed and loses a portion of its original height.
How do spinal compression fractures occur?
Underlying medical conditions are often responsible for spinal compression fractures. Osteoporosis and spinal tumors may weaken the bone, making the vertebra prone to spontaneous collapse under the weight of the torso as you go about your daily activities, such as:
- Opening a window
- Lifting heavy objects
- Bending forward
Trauma to the spine may also cause compression fractures. Some examples of traumatic events likely to cause a compression fracture include:
- Taking a fall
- Sports injury
- Car accident
What do spinal compression fractures feel like?
A spinal compression fracture typically causes symptoms such as:
- A dull, deep ache in the region of the fracture
- Increased pain when the area near the fracture is touched or pressed
- Sudden pain with deep breathing, coughing, sneezing
- Pain with movement of the spine, such as bending or twisting
- Redness of the skin directly above the fracture site, especially if the fracture is the result of trauma
If the compression fracture begins pressing on a nerve root in the spine, it may cause:
- A severe, sharp, stabbing pain in the spine
- Shooting pain down the arms or legs
- Numbness in the arms or legs
- Difficulty walking
How are spinal compression fractures diagnosed?
Spinal compression fractures are diagnosed based on a combination of physical examination and imaging findings. If your doctor suspects that you may have suffered a compression fracture, they will likely order one of the following:
- X-ray of the spine
- CT scan of the spine
- MRI of the spine
How are spinal compression fractures treated?
The treatment for spinal compression fractures will likely consist of one or several of the following treatment options:
- Back brace
- Heat/cold therapy
- Pain-relieving medication
- Kyphoplasty (a minimally-invasive procedure to correct the compression)
If you are experiencing new-onset back or neck pain, especially after taking a fall or if you have a history of osteoporosis, you may have a spinal compression fracture. Schedule an appointment with one of our physicians at Remedy Pain Solutions for a thorough evaluation and discussion of treatment options available to you.