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A Patients Guide to Compression Fractures

At Kleefeld Chiropractic middle-aged and elderly patients frequently present with back pain associated with underlying compression fractures with patients oftentimes unaware that a fracture occurred.

Although compression fractures can occur with any trauma or at any age, they are often associated with osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis weakens the bone making it susceptible to fracture.  The front of the vertebra crumbles causing the vertebral body to become wedge-shaped.  This angles the spine forward causing the injured to become hunch-backed or "kyphotic."

senior woman getting a chiropractic adjustment

Symptoms

Our experience at Kleefeld Chiropractic is that while traumatic compression fractures can produce intense pain, spinal cord compression and instability, most fractures from osteoporotic bones cause little or no pain at first.  When pain does occur, it usually goes away after a few weeks.

Diagnosis

Dr. Kleefeld recommends that diagnosis begins with a complete history and spinal examination.  If history taking and examination supports a concern that compression fracture may have occurred, x-rays and/or CT scan will be obtained.

Treatment

Treatment recommendations by Dr. Kleefeld will be dependent upon severity of the compression fracture and is diagnosis specific.

Most mild compression fractures not associated with significant trauma heal within 8 weeks requiring only simple homecare remedies and rest.

Many moderate compression fractures require orthopedic referral, medication management for moderate to severe pain, and a slow return to normal activities of daily living.

Although infrequent, severe compression fractures evidenced on imaging studies require orthopedic and or neurosurgical referral.  Minimally invasive vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty may be performed to minimize the risk of further collapse and "80%" of patients experience immediate improvement in pain.

Should you require any additional information Dr. Kleefeld can be contacted at 530-722-9010! 

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