When you’re feeling pain or discomfort in your back, particularly along your spinal column, it can be an indication that you are suffering from compression fractures of your vertebrae. These fractures may stem from a number of causes, including trauma related to a fall or the impact of an accident. It also can be the result of spinal tumor.
Diagnosis of Vertebral Compression Fractures
f you’re experiencing weakness or numbness in your back or substantial back pain that’s exacerbated when you walk or stand, you need to seek treatment from a qualified medical professional. Your doctor conduct a comprehensive physical exam and learn your medical history. Based on those findings, your physician may order various tests:
- X-ray—An X-ray often provides visual evidence of a compression fracture.
- Bone scan—This test also can show the presence of a fracture and may tell your doctor how old the break is.
- MRI scan—A magnetic resonance imaging procedure will help your doctor determine if the fracture is recent and also can indicate whether there are any soft tissue abnormalities.
- DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absortiometry) scan—This test measures the mineral density in your bones.
Treatment Options for Vertebral Compression Fractures
If the fracture is not severe, you may be able to heal with bed rest, a back brace, and/or physical therapy. Your doctor also can prescribe medication for pain and inflammation. For more seriousfractures, though, you may require a surgical procedure:
- Vertebroplasty—In this procedure, your doctor injects a cement-like material into the fractured vertebra with a needle, which stabilizes the bone when it hardens
- Kyphoplasty—Similar to a vertebroplasty, this involves first inserting a balloon into the fractured vertebra and inflating it. The balloon is then filled with the cement-like substance.