Vertebral Fracture of Back or Neck

Back | Orthopaedics | Vertebral Fracture of Back or Neck (Disease)


Spinal compression fractures of the back and neck are broken vertebrae (bones of the spine). The fractures occur mainly in two categories of patients: those involved in traumatic accidents and more frequently in patients with osteoporosis. Among most common complications of osteoporosis are spontaneous fractures.

It is very important for patients to identify and recognize the time symptoms of vertebral fractures. Fractures may be accompanied by one or more of the following: occurrence of severe back pain intensity; worsening of pain when walking or standing; improved (but reduced) pain from sitting; pain when bending or twisting movements carried out; reduce height; the occurrence of pathological abnormalities of the spine.

The pain typically begins when the patient performs light intensity movements (or at most moderate), such as: carrying heavy things; bending to the floor for lifting an object; ironing crooked; lifting a suitcase; raising mattress (bedding change). Scientists believe they cannot provide a very accurate characterization of the pain felt when a fracture occurs, because each patient is characteristic and has its own threshold of pain.

Pain and accompanying symptoms are different for each patient. Equally variable is the time when the patient still will face painful symptoms: if some pain started to diminish in intensity and finally disappear as the fracture heals (in about 2-3 months), while for others the pain becomes chronic, even if bone damage has healed and no complications compression (which could possibly explain the persistent pain). Even early symptoms vary widely, because not all patients described an intense pain in rear to announce fracture.

Causes and Risk factors

Experts estimate that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 12 men with osteoporosis will suffer a pathological fracture, mostly located in the spine (especially the lumbar vertebrae), the hip and wrist. Vertebral fractures are among the most frequently diagnosed complications, between 30-55% of women over 50 years with at least one vertebral fracture

Diagnosis and Treatment.

Vertebral compression fracture treatment imply selfcare at home, rest, pain relief, applying ice to the injured area for the first week, then heat or ice, whichever feels better. Ice should be applied in the following fashion: Place the ice in a bag, wrap the bag in a towel, and then apply to the injured area for 15-20 minutes each hour. Heat applied in the first week after an injury draws more fluid to the area, thereby increasing swelling and pain.

When allowed by your doctor, a home stretching and strengthening program should be carried out. ...

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