Compression Fractures

Condition

Definition

Compression fractures occur when a vertebrae in the spine is shifted or cracked.  This condition is commonly seen in the upper back.

Symptoms

The most common symptom is back pain.  However, over a period of time, you may experience chronic pain, back deformity, loss of height, crowding of internal organs, and muscle loss or loss of conditioning (as the inability to move without pain can restrict physical activities).

Causes

There are several possible causes of compression fractures.  Osteoporosis is a common cause of vertebral compression fractures.  Often seen in women over the age of 50, people with osteoporosis often encounter weak and brittle bones. Spinal fractures can occur due to the lack of strength available, even during normal tasks.

Trauma is another potential cause.  Falling, automobile accidents, and other events could create a fracture.

Cancer or a tumor could also weaken your spine, creating a fracture.  If you have hypercalcemia, unexplained anemia, weight loss, or proteinuria in conjunction with a compression fracture, please consult with a doctor.

From: Spine-health

Treatments

Kyphoplasty is a type of vertebral augmentation for compression fractures. This surgery stabilizes the vertebrae bones.  A small tube is placed in the back and a balloon is inserted near the fractured vertebrae.  Once in place, the balloon is inflated and moves the pieces as close as possible to its normal position.  After, the balloon is removed and polymethylmethacrylate or PMMA is injected to stabilize the bone.  Facet blocks can also diagnose the cause and location of pain while at the same time, providing relief.  Injections of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication are usually injected to sooth and alleviate the joint pain.

From: Spine-health

Staff

Jonathann Kuo, MD
Pain Medicine / Executive Director
Alexander Rances, DO
Pain Medicine / Medical Director
Robert Zhang, MD
Pain Medicine / Anesthesiology

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