Vertebral Compression Fracture

Fracture in vertebral spine

A vertebral or spinal compression fracture can mean the end of pain-free motion and the beginning of severe, chronic pain with even simple activities such as standing. These fractures that often occur thanks to a weakening of bone density and strength happen when your vertebra begins to splinter, break, and even collapse into the surrounding spinal tissue.

While past treatment options were extremely limited when it came to vertebral fractures, relying on back braces, heavy pain medication, and extensive bed rest, current care has advanced significantly and can help you get back on your feet and back to your life.

To help you decide the treatment option that’s right for you, we’ve put together answers to the most common questions about vertebral compression fractures including what causes them, and the minimally invasive treatment option that can get you moving again.

What Is a Vertebral Compression Fracture and How Does It Happen?

The vertebrae of your spine are stacked one on top of the other, like building blocks. This organization supports your body, allowing for movement, while providing strength.

However, these vertebrae can also become weakened, leaving them at risk for vertebral fracture. Common causes of vertebral fracture include:

  • Osteoporosis or loss of bone density and strength
  • Injury
  • Spinal tumor

Vertebral fractures can also occur due to small movements that you would never expect to result in a severe injury.

Things like coughing, stepping off of a curb wrong, simply standing up from your bed in the morning, or taking a tumble can result in a fracture if the vertebrae is already weakened.

Depending on the severity of the fracture, you may not even realize it has happened.

Yet, even minor fractures can result in a loss of vertebral height as well as an eventual collapse into the surrounding spinal structures. Your problems can be made even worse when the bones press into your spinal nerves as well as the cord itself, leading to severe pain and blocking the blood flow that carries oxygen and nutrients to your spine.

What are the symptoms of a vertebral compression fracture?

If you have a vertebral compression fractures symptoms you may experience include:

  • Worsening back pain with standing that’s relieved when you lie on your back
  • Loss of height
  • Difficulty bending or twisting
  • A stooped posture or kyphosis
  • A Dowager’s hump in your upper spine
  • Numbness or tingling in your legs
  • Muscle weakness
  • Bowel or bladder incontinence
  • Difficulty walking

A sudden fracture can also result in extreme and even disabling pain.

Treatment for Vertebral Compression Fractures

At Cahaba Pain and Spine Care, our Board Certified Pain Physicians specialize in Kyphoplasty for the treatment of vertebral compression fractures.

This minimally invasive procedure uses quick-setting cement to restore strength to compromised vertebrae. Not only is this procedure safe and effective, unlike other options, it can be used to restore height to your compressed vertebrae.

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you or someone you know is suffering from vertebral compression fracture, call Cahaba Pain and Spine Care and schedule an appointment today.