Vertebral Compression Fracture Information

Compression fracture of the vertebral body is common, especially in older adults. A vertebral compression fracture occurs when the bones of the spine become broken due to trauma. Vertebral compression fractures affect approximately 25 percent of all postmenopausal women in the United States. Vertebral compression fractures usually are caused by osteoporosis, and range from mild to severe. Osteoporosis most commonly occurs in women who have gone through menopause, but it can also occur in elderly men and in people who have had long-term use of a steroid medication such as prednisone. The prevalence of this condition steadily increases with advancing age, reaching 40 percent in women 80 years of age. Vertebral compression fractures are recognized as the hallmark of osteoporosis.

Risk factors are categorized as those not modifiable and those that are potentially modifiable. Nonmodifiable risk factors include advanced age, female gender, Caucasian race, presence of dementia, Sensibilities to falling, history of fractures in adulthood, and history of fractures in a first-degree relative. Vertebral Compression Fracture Symptoms include pain-some people may also have hip, abdominal, or thigh pain. Numbness, tingling, and weakness. Losing control of urine or stool or inability to urinate: If these symptoms are present, the fracture may be pushing on the spinal cord itself. Traditional treatment is nonoperative and conservative. Treatment for the vertebral fracture will typically include non-surgical care, such as rest, pain medication and slow return to mobility.

Calcitonin-salmon (Miacalcin) nasal spray can be used for treatment of pain. Muscle relaxants, outside back-braces, and physical therapy modalities also may help. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to significantly increase gastrointestinal bleeding in the elderly and must be used with caution. Hormone replacement therapy for women also helpful. A well-balanced diet, regular exercise program, calcium and vitamin D supplements, smoking cessation, and medications to treat osteoporosis (such as bisphosphonates) may help prevent additional compression fractures. Apply ice to the injured area for the first week, then heat or ice, whichever feels better. Ice should be applied in the following fashion. Heat applied in the first week after an injury draws more fluid to the area.

Vertebral Compression Fracture Treatment and Prevention Tips

1. Apply ice to the injured area for the first week.

2. Heat applied in the first week after an injury draws more fluid to the area.

3. A well-balanced diet, regular exercise program, calcium and vitamin D supplements.

4. Smoking cessation, and medications may help prevent additional compression fractures.

5. Muscle relaxants, external back-braces, and physical therapy modalities also may help.

6. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to significantly increase gastrointestinal bleeding.