Compression fractures cause damage to the bones of the spine and leave you susceptible to bone collapse. At NJ Spine and Pain Center PC, double board-certified physician Uday Bhatt, MD, provides effective conservative treatment for the underlying causes for patients in Hamilton Square, Monroe, and Flemington, New Jersey. If you’re experiencing back pain or aches, tiny fractures to your vertebrae could be the culprit. To find out if a compression fracture is to blame for your spinal condition, call one of the offices in or book online today.
A compression fracture is a crack or break that occurs in some part of the vertebrae. Wedge fractures are the most common type of compression fractures. With wedge fractures, only the front of the vertebrae collapses, creating a wedge shape. Compression fractures typically occur in the middle or lower back.
Not all compression fractures cause symptoms. In many cases, symptoms occur gradually and can go unnoticed during the early stages of the condition. In cases of sudden compression fractures, symptoms are abrupt and severe. Symptoms include:
Compression fractures rarely affect patients with healthy vertebrae. Patients with weakened bones or vertebrae are the most at risk for compression fractures. Although injuries, tumors, and infections can lead to weakened vertebrae, the most common cause is osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes loss of bone mass. Bone tissue is constantly being broken down and regenerated. When the bone begins to break down faster than it’s replaced, the result is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis can affect any bone in the body but is most common in the hips, wrist, and spine.
When the bones of the spine are weakened, it loses the strength needed to support everyday activities like bending and lifting. In severe cases of osteoporosis, the vertebrae can become fractured from coughing or sneezing. After a number of compression fractures, the shape and function of the spine begins to change causing painful symptoms and limited mobility. Osteoporosis can affect anyone but is most common in people over 50 and women in the early stages of menopause.
In most cases, compression fractures can be treated through noninvasive methods. Dr. Bhatt begins by performing a physical exam and imaging tests to check for pain and abnormalities of the spine. Based on your evaluation, Dr. Bhatt provides comprehensive treatment addressing the damaged vertebrae as well as the underlying cause.
If your condition is caused by osteoporosis, bone-strengthening medications are used to slow down and prevent further bone loss. Although treating osteoporosis won’t heal your fractures, it can prevent them in the future. Treatment for your compression fracture may include:
Compression fractures typically take about eight weeks to heal. During this time, pain medication and a back brace are used to reduce pain and mobility as the bone heals. Dr. Bhatt takes consecutive X-Rays of your spine to ensure proper healing. Physical therapy is used to improve your recovery and strengthen the muscles around your spine.
If your condition shows no improvement with nonsurgical methods, Dr. Bhatt also provides effective surgical treatment to restore the broken bone and repair the vertebrae.
To receive an accurate diagnosis of your back pain, book an appointment at NJ Spine and Pain Center PC by phone or online today.