Why Older Women and Men May Require Compression Fracture Treatment When They Least Expect It

compression fracture treatment - spine

And How South Florida Neurosurgeon Dr. John F. Morrison, MD Delivers Relief from this Unassuming Injury

“We were out on the boat— and a big wave hit us. And I’ve had back pain ever since.” 

It’s happened many times in the waters of our ocean and Intracoastal…

You’re out for a ride, and the chop is really picking up. SPLASH! A large wave tosses the boat, causing you to lose your balance and bouncing you around the hull. I’m OK, you think. 

But ever since that boat day, you have experienced acute back pain. You just haven’t felt up to joining your family or friends for more recreation. In fact, you can hardly go about your daily routine without some back pain. 

If this sounds familiar, you could be one of the many people in South Florida who suffer from compression fractures – often unassumingly. But what exactly does that mean? And how do you go about receiving the compression fracture treatment you need? 

South Florida Neurosurgeon Dr. John F. Morrison, MD of The Morrison Clinic is experienced delivering relief from this condition to patients – and shares key details below.

When is Compression Fracture Treatment Necessary?

For roughly 1 million people each year, compression fractures, or broken vertebrae, are an unfortunate reality. While they can strike at any point in life, the majority of people who suffer from compression fractures are older women and men, with postmenopausal women making up the largest part of the group. 

When you have a compression fracture, you might experience symptoms such as: 

  • Back pain that becomes more severe when walking or standing
  • Limited mobility
  • Kyphosis, or humpback
  • Loss of height

If you’re one of the 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, compression fractures can occur as you’re going about your daily life. Lifting something light, missing a step, or even something as innocuous as sneezing can cause debilitating pain. A slip on a wet floor at the grocery store can lead to agonizing pain! 

Compression fractures can also result from trauma, such as a serious fall or injury, as well as metastatic tumors. While this is less common, these fractures are no less painful for the people experiencing them. 

Muscle Relaxants, Pain Medications, and Back Braces

“I thought I just lost my balance stepping off a curb. But my back hasn’t been the same since that little fall.” 

Are you concerned that you might have a compression fracture? Before any form of treatment can begin, you’ll need to undergo some testing. X-rays and MRIs determine if there are any abnormalities in the vertebrae or spinal column. If fractures are detected, it’s time to determine the compression fracture treatment. 

If you fear that you might be more susceptible to compression fractures thanks to osteoporosis, there’s a simple method of discovering the state of your bones! A bone density test will measure the calcium in the bones, determining if osteoporosis is eroding the vertebrae, making them more brittle and easier to break. 

For a small compression fracture, it’s possible that non-surgical treatment can resolve the issue. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are sold over the counter at your local drugstore; they can effectively treat compression fracture pain. If you find that the NSAIDs just aren’t managing the pain, doctors can prescribe muscle relaxants or stronger pain medications. 

For some of our patients, a back brace provides the necessary stability to prevent further injury and relieve pain. Utilizing a rigid back brace for four to six weeks will limit spinal motion, easing discomfort related to the compression fracture. 

Gradually, adding some gentle weight-bearing exercises will help people suffering from compression fractures become ready to resume their daily activities. These exercises can also help you avoid compression fractures down the road, increasing your bone density and improving your strength and balance. 

Surgical Options for Compression Fracture Treatment 

“I was running a ball down on the tennis court. I slipped awkwardly, feeling like I tweaked my low back. I just haven’t felt the same since.”

Unfortunately, not all compression fractures can be treated without surgery. If your fracture is severe or if the non-surgical route isn’t relieving your pain, it might be time to consult a neurosurgeon like Dr. Morrison to get relief and regain your quality of life.

Fortunately, surgical intervention for compression fractures is minimally invasive – and performed on an outpatient basis at The Morrison Clinic. Vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty are very common compression fracture treatments. These procedures involve the insertion of a hollow needle into the vertebra, where it’s guided into position using a special x-ray. 

When the trocar is in position, a device like a balloon (for kyphoplasty) or a special type of medical-grade cement (for vertebroplasty) is inserted into the appropriate vertebrae, providing much-needed stability for the spine.

These surgeries are outpatient procedures and sometimes result in immediate relief for the patient. Normal activity can be resumed immediately, but if you’ve undergone vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty, it’s recommended that you should avoid heavy lifting for a minimum of six weeks. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, 75% of patients who undergo these procedures are able to regain previous levels of activity without rigorous rehabilitation or physical therapy required. 

For many patients, surgical intervention can help them resume a life that was put on hold when pain made it impossible to go about their daily routine. 

Finding Compression Fracture Treatment in South Florida

Dr. John F. Morrison, MD, named a ‘Top Doc’ in consecutive years by Palm Beach Illustrated, Delray Beach Magazine and Boca Mag, offers renowned neurosurgical care to patients in six different South Florida locations. Dr. Morrison provides a specialized approach to non-surgical care for spinal injuries such as compression fractures.

Are you ready to regain your active lifestyle? It’s time to get back on the boat, take to the tennis court, or even start grocery shopping for yourself again. If you’re searching for South Florida’s leader in compression fracture expertise and non-surgical treatment, schedule an e-visit with Dr. Morrison now.