Taking precautions to preserve your spine’s health is vital particularly if factors like osteoporosis or a history of spinal compression fractures put you at greater risk for developing related ailments.
The spine is the body’s main support structure. The average human is born with 33 separate bones known as vertebrae, which encircle and safeguard the spinal cord while providing essential support. These vertebrae hold the majority of the weight exerted on the spine.
When one or more of those vertebrae experience excessive stress, they might collapse and result in a spine compression fracture. A compression fracture is defined as small cracks in the vertebrae.
Spinal compression fractures are a serious condition that can result in painful symptoms that disrupt one’s quality of life. However, the good news is that treatment options are available to fix the damage and alleviate these symptoms.
What are the causes of spine compression fractures?
There are many causes that can result in a spine compression fracture, some of them include:
Osteoporosis – It is a disorder where the bones become fragile and weak. This makes them highly vulnerable to breaking even from slight impact.
Injury to the spine – In some instances, such as after high-impact accidents or falls or any other traumatic incident, the vertebrae may undergo intense pressure, resulting in a compression fracture of the spine.
Tumours – Whether cancerous or non-cancerous, the development of tumours around the spine can make the vertebrae weak. This weakness leaves them vulnerable to compression fractures.
Certain medical disorders – Multiple myeloma, metastatic cancer, and osteogenesis imperfecta are the medical disorders that make your bones weak, which eventually contribute to compression fractures.
Ageing – With increasing age, it’s common for our vertebrae to become weak. Rendering them more susceptible to fracture.
Prolonged use of corticosteroids – Long-term use of corticosteroids is capable of affecting bone density, which may elevate the likelihood of compression fractures.
One should bear in mind that there are various elements that may contribute to spine compression fractures, such as personal circumstances, medical history and everyday choices. For a full evaluation and a proper treatment plan, it is advised to seek professional medical advice from expert doctors.
How to treat compression fractures?
The treatment of compression fractures primarily aims to alleviate pain, stabilize the spinal bones, and prevent the occurrence of further fractures. Treatment varies from one to the other based on the severity of the fracture, which includes:
Medication – In certain instances, your doctor may advise taking over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) products. Conversely, they also prescribe muscle relaxants or different prescription medication as an alternative solution. You will need to meticulously follow the guidelines provided by the doctor regarding the safe use of these remedies.
Back braces – A specialized back brace can provide support to the vertebrae, helping to alleviate pain by limiting excessive movement of the spine.
Medications to improve bone density – Bisphosphonate medications, such as ibandronic acid (Boniva) and alendronic acid (Fosamax), are effective in slowing down bone loss, stabilizing the bones, and reducing the risk of fractures.
Surgery – vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty and spinal fusion surgery are the major minimally invasive surgical procedures used to treat compression fractures. Their main purpose is to relieve pain, provide stability to the bones and improve mobility.
Vertebroplasty – During this procedure, the surgeon inserts a needle into the damaged vertebrae. Once the needle is in place, the doctor injects a mixture of bone cement into the damaged vertebrae. The acrylic bone cement mixture used in the process hardens quickly (in about 10 minutes), stabilizes the bone fragments, and eventually stabilizes the spine.
Typically, patients are discharged on the same day or might need one-night hospital stay based on the health condition.
Kyphoplasty – This procedure is similar to vertebroplasty. In this procedure, a half-inch incision is made in the back to insert a thin catheter tube into the damaged vertebrae. X-rays help ensure the accuracy of the procedure.
The tube is equipped with a balloon at the end. Once the is in place, the balloon is inflated so that a cavity is created in which liquid bone cement needs to be injected.
The balloon is then deflated and removed, and bone cement is injected into the cavity. After the balloon is deflated and taken out, the cavity is filled with a bone cement mixture which hardens in just 10 minutes.
Spinal Fusion Surgery – In certain cases of spinal compression fractures, spinal fusion surgery may be used to prevent motion between two vertebrae, providing pain relief. Two or more vertebrae are surgically joined together in the process to keep them in the appropriate position and prevent movement until the vertebrae finally fuse together.
Spinal fusion surgery is typically considered as a final option. It may be recommended if the compression of the bone exceeds 50% in height, the patient experiences significant pain, or if complications arise from previous spinal surgeries.
A spinal compression fracture is a serious medical condition that can be treated. If you are having any back problems or looking for the best spine surgeon in Hyderabad, consult Dr. Surya Prakash, Spine Surgeon. He has more than two decades of experience as a spine specialist in Hyderabad. He is well-versed in treating almost all kinds of spine problems. For an appointment call +91 9848024699 and book your slot.