Managing Multiple Vertebral Compression Fractures: What You Need to Know

Managing Multiple Vertebral Compression Fractures: What You Need to Know

Your back pain may be from various causes, including vertebral compression fractures. Fractures in your vertebrae cause pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. If you have osteoporosis, your risk of this condition is significantly higher.

If you have more than one vertebral compression fracture, you can find expert treatment at Southern Pain Specialists in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. Kenneth Varley has a vast amount of experience in caring for chronic pain conditions and using cutting-edge treatments to address back pain due to fractures.

What is a compression fracture?

Your vertebrae are the bones that make up your spinal column and protect your spinal cord. They extend from the bottom of your skull to below your buttocks.

A compression fracture occurs when part of a vertebra collapses, causing pain and even spinal deformity. These fractures typically happen in the thoracic spine, in the middle of your back.

Vertebral fractures are often due to osteoporosis, a condition that leads to weak and porous bones, making them more prone to injury and fractures. Traumatic injuries such as falls or car accidents are another cause of vertebral compression fractures. 

Just one of your vertebrae may fracture, or multiple bones can be affected. Multiple compression fractures are debilitating and often require expert treatment to get you back on your feet.

How are vertebral fractures treated?

Dr. Varley determines the treatment method that's best for you based on the severity of your fractures and their location. He takes the time to evaluate your symptoms to customize a treatment plan specifically for you.

Mild to moderate cases of vertebral fractures may only require conservative care. Nonsurgical treatments that Dr. Varley recommends include bracing and pain medications. He may prescribe certain medications or recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs for relief.

However, if your compression fracture is severe or you've fractured several vertebrae, Dr. Varley may recommend a surgical procedure called kyphoplasty. This minimally invasive surgical treatment restores strength and height in your spine. 

During the procedure, Dr. Varley makes two small incisions on either side of the fractured bone and uses a drill to make room for surgical balloons. Once the deflated balloons are in place on either side of the vertebra, he fills them with surgical-grade cement to restore the height of the vertebra and rebuild strength in the fracture area, protecting nerves and soft tissues.

If you have more than one vertebral compression fracture, Dr. Varley repeats the kyphoplasty steps with each bone.

What to expect after treatment

After treatment, your goal is to get better and prevent further fractures. If you have osteoporosis, you should focus on your bone health, and Dr. Varley offers medications to help restore your bone strength. Physical therapy is also a significant component of your recovery after a vertebral compression fracture.

You must take steps to avoid further compression fractures. Multiple vertebral compression fractures cause significant problems, including:

  1. Loss of height
  2. Neck pain
  3. Hunched back
  4. Hip pain
  5. Bulging abdomen

You could also suffer from gastrointestinal issues with multiple vertebral compression fractures.