Compression Fractures
of the Spine

Don’t let compression fractures steal your independence. Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that stabilizes the spine with little risk and downtime.

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What Are Compression Fractures?

All bone fractures are bad news, but fractures of the spine can be especially scary, even if they’re small ones. Compression fractures are common in older patients suffering from osteoporosis, which is a loss of bone mass. As bone becomes weaker, tiny cracks can form. When those cracks occur in the spine, serious spinal injury can occur simply by stepping off a curb.

Compression fractures of the spine usually start as back pain. For older patients, it can be easy to write off that pain as a side effect of normal aging. Perhaps it’s a pinched nerve from sleeping in a strange position, or maybe it’s a sore muscle from doing yardwork or shoveling snow. Unfortunately, back pain for older patients can be a sign of a more serious problem. If it is tied to compression fractures and osteoporosis, it may be time to seek out the professionals at Comprehensive Integrated Care for help.

Left untreated, compression fractures can lead to severe pain and deformity. But there is a solution that can relieve pain and restore stability to the spine. A minimally-invasive procedure called a kyphoplasty can help patients feel better and restore strength and shape to their backbone.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Compression Fractures

Back pain is the most common clue that someone may have a compression fracture of the spine. However, since back pain can be tied to a lot of issues for older patients, that may not be enough for a diagnosis. The following is a list of symptoms other than back pain that could indicate a compression fracture:

  • A change in the shape of the spine
  • A loss of height
  • A stooped posture (kyphosis/dowager’s hump)
  • Pain in the back, arms, or legs that worsens while standing and improves while sitting
  • Arm or leg numbness or weakness
  • Disability

If you have been previously diagnosed with osteoporosis or bone cancer and experience any of these symptoms, you may want to be checked for compression fractures. Furthermore, women in menopause and smokers are more likely to experience symptoms.

Those who visit CiC in search of a diagnosis will be met with a specialist who will look for some telltale signs and perform X-ray imaging. This imaging will show whether compression fractures exist in the spine. It also will give the doctor their first look at how best to treat the fractures with a revolutionary, minimally invasive procedure called kyphoplasty. 

Interventional Treatment Options for Compression Fractures

Kyphoplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure that can strengthen the spine and lessen symptoms without major surgery. For example, spinal fusion surgery can be expensive and opens up a long road to recovery. Kyphoplasty, meanwhile, is an outpatient procedure that can be done in a single day. It doesn’t even require a single night’s stay at a hospital or inpatient center.

So what is kyphoplasty, and how does it work? The process begins with an interventional radiologist making a small nick in the skin. Using imaging, they will guide a catheter through that nick to the area where the compression fractures are located. Once there, they can inflate a tiny balloon into the site of the fractured vertebra. When it is in place, the balloon is filled with medical-grade cement to return stability to that area of the spine. It also strengthens the remaining bone.

Patients may feel immediate relief. More importantly, they will lower their chances of long-term disability. Those who are interested in a kyphoplasty here at CiC should set up a consultation to discuss diagnosis and care for compression fractures. Kyphoplasty helps seniors maintain their independence and spend their golden years free of pain.

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