Spine fractures can occur due to accidents or age-related conditions such as osteoporosis. If you have osteoporosis, even minor strains such as bending may result in a spine fracture. A spine fracture can be minor, requiring minimal management, or severe such that it poses the risk of paralysis or even death. Most West Islip spine fractures don’t require surgery, but major fractures can cause serious long-term problems without prompt treatment. Below are several nonsurgical and surgical treatment options for spine fractures.
A well-prescribed combination of pain medication can help alleviate nerves, muscle, and bone pain caused by a spine fracture. Usually, over-the-counter drugs are enough to relieve the pain. Doctors recommend two types of non-prescription medications, including acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If these drugs don’t reduce the pain, your specialists may prescribe stronger medicines such as muscle relaxants and narcotics. However, you are to use these drugs for only a short period because they are highly addictive. If you have nerve-related pain, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants.
- Back braces
A back brace limits the motion of the broken vertebrae by providing external support to the spine. It is similar to applying a cast to a broken limb. Back braces are so rigid and may be uncomfortable to wear, but newer corsets and elastic braces are more comfortable. However, these are usually not as effective as conventional braces. The rigid nature of braces provides support and limits spine-related motion, reducing pain. You should use braces cautiously and only if your doctor recommends them. Doctors also caution against the prolonged use of braces since they may weaken muscles.
If your spine fracture is due to osteoporosis, your doctor may prescribe bone-strengthening drugs to stabilize and prevent further bone loss. Bone strengthening drugs are a crucial part of treatment to prevent future compression fractures.
Surgery is the next option when chronic pain from a spinal fracture does not improve with conservative treatments like medications, rest, and activity modification. The different procedures used to treat spinal fractures include spinal fusion, kyphoplasty, and vertebroplasty.
Unlike traditional surgeries, these procedures use small incisions, meaning that they are less painful, have lesser complications, and require little downtime.
The procedure effectively corrects bone deformity and alleviates pain caused by spinal compression fractures. For this procedure, the surgeon inserts a tube through a small incision in your back to the fractured vertebrae and guides a catheter with a balloon into the vertebrae. The surgeon inflates the balloon to create room for the liquid bone cement. After injecting the cement, the surgeon removes the deflated balloon.
Surgeons use this procedure to stabilize the spine and relieve pain from spinal compression fractures. For the procedure, the doctor inserts a needle into the damaged vertebrae and uses x-ray imaging for precision purposes. The doctor then injects bone cement into the broken region, which takes about 10 minutes to harden. Patients may stay in the hospital for a night or go home the same day of the procedure.
If you have further questions about spine fracture treatment, consult your doctor at George Kakoulides, MD.