With a compression fracture, the vertebral body (round, cylindrical portion) cracks or collapses. A compression fracture can occur when the force exerted on the spine is too great or the strength of the bone has been compromised by disease or age.
Osteoporosis, cancer, and long-term use of steroids or other drugs can decrease bone mass, increasing the risk for fracture. When multiple compression fractures occur, loss of height or spinal deformities such as a dowager’s hump may result.
Sudden onset of back pain, out of proportion to the activity at hand, may indicate a compression fracture. Patients with osteoporosis are especially vulnerable; everyday activities like bending over or lifting a bag of groceries can cause the vertebra to fracture or collapse. Unfortunately, compression fractures tend to be under-reported and under-diagnosed primarily because they are not always painful. Many patients mistakenly attribute the pain of compression fractures to aging or “a bad back.” Compression fractures can be easily confused with other back problems, so it’s important to obtain a diagnosis and receive treatment.
Just one fracture can disrupt the alignment of the spinal column and put stress on adjacent vertebrae, thereby increasing the risk for another fracture. Left untreated, the broken vertebra will eventually heal in its fractured position. Dr. Stieber’s approach involves medical management of the underlying disorder (e.g., osteoporosis) in addition to repair of the broken bone.
Two minimally-invasive procedures that can alleviate the pain of compression fractures are vertebroplasty and balloon kyphoplasty. Both techniques involve the injection of bone cement into the vertebra to stabilze the fracture. Vertebroplasty “sets” the vertebra in its fractured position; balloon kyphoplasty uses orthopaedic balloons to return the vertebra to its original shape (when possible) before stabilizing the fracture with bone cement.
Our patients' health and safety is our number one priority. Our office continues to be open for all email, telephone, and online inquiries. You can call us at 646-916-3962 or contact us via email to schedule your virtual telemedicine or in-person visit. Our doctors will be holding regular office hours for virtual video consultations and follow-up visits that permit you to stay in the comfort of your own home, utilizing your computer, tablet, or mobile device.
Additionally, we will continue to see select patients in the office for consultation and follow-up visits, including preoperative and postoperative appointments. Our doctors continue to perform procedures in our private, free-standing surgery center that offers an array of outpatient surgical services to treat spinal issues such as acute back pain, disc herniations, sciatica, and pinched nerves in the back or neck. We are also able to offer clean and efficient on-site x-ray capabilities in our office.
Please know that we join our community in taking all advised precautions* to limit the spread of the Coronavirus and ensure the safety of patients and staff.
Call today to schedule a consultation and explore your options with the Spine Center at OrthoManhattan.
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