Assessing Your Risks for Compression Fractures

Compression fractures are a type of fracture that affects one of the vertebrae in your spine. Compression fractures, which can develop as a result of osteoporosis, can cause back pain and kyphosis. Untreated compression fractures can severely impact your quality of life as well as your mobility.

At International Spine, Pain & Performance Center, our compassionate team of orthopedic specialists can pinpoint the cause of your back pain, and if needed, perform kyphoplasty to stabilize your back.

In the meantime, we created this guide to help you assess your risk for compression fractures and explore your options for supporting a healthy spine.

Compression fractures 101

Your spine consists of 33 vertebrae, which are bones stacked on top of each other. Your spine supports your body weight, enables you to move and twist and bend, and — most importantly — protects your spinal cord.

Like any spinal fracture, compression fractures cause pain and reduced mobility. Compression fractures often develop as a result of osteoporosis, but tumors and spinal diseases can also cause fractures. 

You might suspect you have a compression fracture if:

Typically, compression fractures start slowly, and you might not notice any of these symptoms at first. You might only learn about a compression fracture if you had an X-ray for another reason. However, if your fracture does occur suddenly, pain develops quickly and intensely rather than slowly.

Are you at risk for compression fractures?

You might be more at risk for compression fractures if you are a post-menopausal woman or if you are at risk for developing osteoporosis. Although both men and women can develop osteoporosis, post-menopausal women are most at risk for developing the condition. The name osteoporosis translates as “porous bones”. 

The following individuals are at risk for osteoporosis (and therefore compression fractures):

You can reduce your risk of osteoporosis and compression fractures by adopting bone-healthy habits. This includes eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D and regularly participating in weight-bearing exercises (including walking, jogging, dancing, stair climbing, and aerobics, etc.). Weight-bearing exercises include any exercise in which your body works against gravity. 

What if your back pain is caused by a compression fracture?

Compression fractures can be treated with both conservative and surgical treatments. Conservative options include medication, rest (while your bones heal), physical therapy, and wearing a back brace. If conservative options aren’t enough to reduce your pain, you might benefit from kyphoplasty. During kyphoplasty, which is a minimally invasive procedure, a balloon lifts your vertebrae into the correct position. Then, a special cement is used to stabilize and secure your vertebrae. 

If you have back pain and suspect you have a compression fracture, call us or visit our website and book your appointment today.

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