fracture treatments

Compression fracture treatments: Options and recovery

Compression fractures are a type of injury to the spine where one or more vertebral bones collapse or fracture due to a sudden trauma or degenerative changes. These fractures can cause severe back pain, reduced mobility, and other complications. Treatment for compression fractures typically involves a combination of pain management, physical therapy, and surgery in severe cases. In this guide, we will explore the various options for compression fracture treatments, including conservative approaches and surgical interventions. We will also discuss the recovery process and what patients can expect during their rehabilitation.

Conservative Treatments for Compression Fractures

Most cases of compression fractures can be treated through conservative methods that aim to relieve pain and improve mobility. These treatments include:

Pain Management: Pain is the primary symptom of compression fractures, and treating it is crucial to improve a patient’s quality of life. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can be helpful in reducing pain and inflammation. In some cases, stronger pain medication may be required to manage the pain.

Rest: Rest is an essential part of the recovery process for compression fractures. Patients should avoid activities that cause pain and discomfort, such as lifting heavy objects or bending forward. Bed rest may be recommended for the first few days or weeks after the injury, depending on the severity of the fracture.

Bracing: Wearing a back brace can provide support and stability to the spine, reducing pain and preventing further injury. A brace can also help to correct the posture and relieve pressure on the affected vertebrae.

Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can help patients regain strength and mobility in the affected area. A physical therapist will design a customized exercise program that includes stretching, range-of-motion exercises, and strength training. The goal is to improve posture, flexibility, and muscle strength, which can help prevent future fractures.

Kyphoplasty: Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that can be used to treat compression fractures. It involves the insertion of a balloon-like device into the affected vertebra, which is then inflated to restore the height of the bone. Once the height is restored, the space is filled with a bone cement to stabilize the vertebra. Kyphoplasty is typically reserved for patients with severe pain that does not respond to conservative treatment methods.

Surgical Treatments for Compression Fractures

Surgery may be necessary for patients who do not respond to conservative treatments or those who have severe compression fractures. Surgical interventions include:

Vertebroplasty: Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the injection of bone cement into the affected vertebra. The cement hardens and stabilizes the bone, relieving pain and preventing further collapse. Vertebroplasty is most effective when done within a few weeks of the initial injury.

Spinal Fusion: Spinal fusion is a more invasive surgical procedure that involves fusing two or more vertebrae together using bone grafts, metal rods, or screws. The procedure stabilizes the spine and prevents further movement, reducing pain and increasing mobility. Spinal fusion is typically reserved for patients with severe compression fractures or those who have multiple fractures in the same area.

Recovery from Compression Fractures

Recovery from a compression fracture can take several weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the injury and the treatment method used. During the recovery process, patients may experience pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. However, with proper treatment and rehabilitation, most patients can expect to make a full recovery.

Ieva Kubiliute

Ieva Kubiliute is a psychologist and a sex and relationships advisor and a freelance writer. She's also a consultant to several health and wellness brands. While Ieva specialises in covering wellness topics ranging from fitness and nutrition, to mental wellbeing, sex and relationships and health conditions, she has written across a diverse range of lifestyle topics, including beauty and travel. Career highlights so far include: luxury spa-hopping in Spain and joining an £18k-a-year London gym. Someone’s got to do it! When she’s not typing away at her desk—or interviewing experts and case studies, Ieva winds down with yoga, a good movie and great skincare (affordable of course, there’s little she doesn’t know about budget beauty). Things that bring her endless joy: digital detoxes, oat milk lattes and long country walks (and sometimes jogs).

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