If you’re experiencing back pain often, it could be an indication of stress fractures, also known as vertebral compression fractures. This kind of fracture s the result of squeezing or compressing the spine to a smaller height.
This happens when too much pressure is applied to the bone, so it collapses, causing pain, height loss, limited mobility, and spinal deformity. Vertebral fractures that are severe enough, push the back of the vertebral body into the spinal canal, putting pressure on the spinal cord. As the spinal cord controls erve function, numbness and lower body dysfunction can occur if enough pressure is placed on the spinal cord.
Vertebral fractures can be the result of traumas such as falling, forceful jumps, car accidents, or even tumors that spread from the spine to the rest of the body. They can also be caused by osteoporosis, because thinning bones can break a little during everyday activities. If the osteoporosis is too severe, simple movements such as bending forward can cause vertebral compression fractures.
Vertebral Compression Fracture Symptoms
Vertebral compression fractures can cause severe pain, which affects your ability to stand, walk, and even rest. Weakness, numbness, limited spinal mobility and paralysis are other symptoms associated with vertebral compression fractures. Weight loss is also quite common, as well as hip pain, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal problems, and a hunched back.
Vertebral Compression Fracture Diagnosis
Your physician will examine you based on what you feel and your medical history. You should also expect diagnostic tests, like X-rays (which can determine fractures), MRI scans (which can help the doctor determine if the fracture is old or new) and bone scans, or DEXA scans, (which is the most common way to diagnose osteoporosis).
Vertebral Compression Fracture Treatments
When it comes to treating vertebral fractures, the main focus is on reducing pain and stabilizing and repairing the fracture. Non-surgical methods include the use of medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the use of back braces, rest, and physical therapy.
If patients continue to experience pain even after trying non-surgical methods, then surgery will likely be suggested. When it comes to treating vertebral fractures, there are two minimally invasive surgeries that are most common: kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty.
Kyphoplasty describes a procedure where a large needle is introduced into the spine with a bone tamp, which is a balloon-like object, that is then inflated until the desired height is reached. This creates a space that will be filled with orthopedic cement to restore height and reduce deformity.
As the spine plays critical roles within our bodies, any deformity or excessive pressure can greatly deteriorate our overall health and wellness. Creating the highest degree of spine support and posture is extremely important and is why Vertebral Compression Fracture treatments are needed.
Vertebral Fracture Prevention
The best way to prevent this kind of vertebral compression fracture is to prevent osteoporosis. This means that it’s important that you take care of your body with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and it’s essential that you receive a healthy dose of vitamin D and calcium every day. It will also bode well to drop bad habits such as smoking, poor sleep, over drinking, stagnation and poor posture.