All About Compression Fractures

All About Compression Fractures

As you get older, it’s not just your appearance that shows signs of aging. Your entire body begins to change as well, including the health of your bones. If you have osteoporosis, a type of fracture known as a compression fracture is common in your spine. 

Our team at Mehling Orthopedics is ready to help you take the steps you need to keep your bones healthy. Dr. Brian Mehling and Dr. Pavel Yufit, our two expertly trained orthopedic surgeons, offer fracture care when you’ve suffered a broken bone.

What is a compression fracture?

A compression fracture is a type of break in your bone that often occurs in the vertebrae, or bones, that make up your spine. These bones are responsible for protecting your spinal cord and giving your body shape.

The vertebrae take on tremendous force throughout your life, making them prone to compression fractures as you get older. These fractures most often occur in the front of the vertebrae, which can cause a hunched appearance and a decrease in your height.

Osteoporosis is the main culprit behind compression fractures. However, they can also come from injury or spinal tumors.

Signs and symptoms you may experience

Compression fractures aren’t always acute; instead, they may form over time. If this is the case, you might not notice any outward symptoms right away. Sometimes, the fracture isn’t discovered until you have an X-ray for something else.

However, as the fracture progressively worsens, you’ll likely start to notice some signs that there’s something wrong. A few of the later symptoms of a compression fracture include:

You’ll likely also have worsening pain as your compression fracture progresses. This pain is usually worse when you’re standing, and gets better when you lay down on your back.

How are they diagnosed?

If you’re noticing any of these symptoms, or have back pain that doesn’t seem to improve with conservative treatment, the team needs imaging to verify a correct diagnosis. 

Dr. Mehling and Dr. Yufit perform a detailed physical exam and ask you about your symptoms before they order imaging studies. If they suspect osteoporosis, they’re also likely to order a bone density test to verify the disease.

Compression fractures can be diagnosed through a number of imaging studies, including an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan. Once the compression fracture is diagnosed, the team moves forward with treating the problem so you can get relief from your pain.

Treatment for compression fractures

Once the compression fracture has been diagnosed, it’s important to get treatment to not only relieve your symptoms, but give your spine back its mobility and height. Dr. Mehling and Dr. Yufit offer many different forms of treatment, depending on the severity of the fracture itself.

There are both noninvasive and surgical treatments for compression fractures. Some of these treatments include:

Surgical treatment may involve a fusion to prevent movement in the injured vertebrae and provide stabilization. If your compression fracture is caused by a tumor, surgery to remove the tumor and damaged bone may help.

A kyphoplasty is another form of surgery that uses a surgical balloon and surgical cement to repair the fracture and restore height back to the damaged vertebrae. The team discusses all of your treatment options and gives you a personalized plan to help your vertebrae heal.

If you’re concerned about a compression fracture, don’t hesitate to call one of our offices in Hackensack, New Jersey, or West Islip, New York, to make an appointment with our team today.

You can also send the doctors a message here on our website.

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