That nagging back pain that never seems to let up. You’ve changed your sleeping positions, visited countless chiropractors and keep your back on a steady rotation of heating, icing, and over-the-counter pain medications, but have seen no changes in your back pain. What if your back pain was more than just an occasional ache, but a sign of a larger problem?
One such problem that can affect many people is known as a compression fracture. A compression fracture manifests when a part of your vertebrae – in your spine – collapses, often due to osteoporosis. How does this happen? As people age, they lose bone density and this puts them at risk for brittle bones that are vulnerable to fracture. Compression fractures can be acute, from some sort of sudden trauma, or they can occur from a lifetime of carrying heavy objects.
If you at any point have experienced a fall, car accident, or another type of trauma, a compression fracture could be the culprit of your nagging back pain. First, you’ll need to see an orthopedic doctor to confirm whether you are indeed suffering from a compression fracture in your spine. After extensive imaging, they can decide how best to plan out your course of treatment.
By this point, over-the-counter NSAIDs are probably not doing much for your pain, so your doctor will likely recommend you try physical therapy to help strengthen the affected area that may be weak. Your orthopedic doctor will probably also suggest more powerful pain medications. This can be in the form of narcotics or in the form of pain management treatment, depending on your condition.
Many fractures do, however, heal with rest and reducing your activity. While too much movement can bother you and cause more pain, wearing a brace and changing your day-to-day life can help heal your compression fracture without the need for surgery.
A last resort would be to recommend surgery for your compression fracture and will likely only be done so if your spine has become unstable and the pain and loss of function is disabling. Your orthopedic surgeon, in this case, would try to stabilize the vertebrae by injecting a cement mixture into it. This can also prevent the issue from escalating any further and ideally alleviate your pain.
Compression fractures can be incredibly painful, but you don’t need to deal with the pain alone. To learn more about compression fractures, treatment options, and to determine if you might need surgery, talk to our bone and joint experts today. Call Advanced Bone & Joint at (636) 229-4222 or you can request an appointment online.