Though most everyone experiences back pain of some form or another during their lifetime, and most cases resolve quickly with minimal intervention, there are situations in which it is unwise to dismiss back complaints as just another part of growing old.
The fact is that for some individuals, the true cause of ongoing back pain is actually a spinal injury called a spinal compression fracture which can lead to discomfort, loss of flexibility and noticeable reduction in overall quality of life.
The cascade of side effects from fractures of the vertebrae can be extremely serious if the condition goes untreated, and it is therefore incumbent upon individuals suffering from back pain to seek professional guidance, particularly those aged 50 and over.
Effective treatments including minimally invasive surgery are available which can ameliorate the impact of compression fractures, restore spinal stability and increase mobility in affected patients.
Symptoms of Vertebrae Fracture
While it is true that many individuals with vertebral fractures are unaware of their existence, sometimes for an extended period of time, there are several key symptoms which may ultimately emerge. Among the most notable hallmarks of vertebral fractures are:
- Pain that has a sudden onset
- Pain that worsens with walking or standing
- Reduction in spinal mobility
- Pain that is lessened by lying on the back
- Loss of height
- Visible deformity
Causes and Risk Factors
Though spinal compression fractures can happen for any number of reasons, there are certain groups of patients who are most at risk. Those with metastatic cancer, as well as individuals diagnosed with osteoporosis, are particularly likely to suffer fractures of this type.
Furthermore, women of Asian and Caucasian descent who are 50 years of age and older face elevated risk, as do females who are not carrying excess weight. Smokers tend to experience accelerated loss of bone density and are therefore prone to vertebral fractures to a greater degree than nonsmokers.
Individuals whose fractures are attributable to osteoporosis often report sudden onset of pain following mundane events such as bending down, lifting everyday items or sustaining a fall. Patients with advanced cases of osteoporosis may suffer fractures simply by coughing, sneezing, or exiting a vehicle.
If these events lead to periods of prolonged inactivity or changes in body mechanics meant to compensate for discomfort, debilitating back pain may persist indefinitely.
Though conservative treatment protocols are almost always initially attempted, certain patients remain unable to achieve sufficient relief from the pain and potential complications of vertebral fractures. For these individuals, surgical intervention may be necessary.
Three important, minimally invasive options for compression fractures are kyphoplasty, vertebroplasty and vertebral augmentation implant. Each procedure makes use of bone cement to reduce pain, restore movement and flexibility, fuse the fracture site and facilitate patient mobility.
Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty work to aid in the reconstruction of compressed vertebrae and bring proper alignment back to the spine. Both procedures are X-ray-guided operations in which bone cement is either placed into a vertebral space created by the internal inflation of a small balloon or directly into the fractured bone itself. Once the cement is allowed to harden, significant gains in spinal stability and alignment will be realized.
Minimally invasive fusion surgery for vertebral fracture serves to connect the relevant bones such that potentially damaging movement between them can no longer occur. A procedure of this type is used to repair fractures and remedy resulting deformities and is also designed to eliminate nerve compression and damage.
Large numbers of patients are choosing minimally invasive options because of their shortened recovery times, comparatively small incision site scars, reduced risk of infection, and lower complication rates.
Reliable Treatment for Vertebrae Fracture Patients
Fractures of the vertebrae are not only painful and inconvenient in and of themselves, they have the ability to worsen over time and produce profound disability. Those suffering from one or more fracture sites owe it to themselves to seek lasting relief. If you would like to know more about effective, minimally invasive treatment techniques, contact us today.