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Spinal Compression Fracture: Facts, Symptoms and Treatment

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Because compression fractures are “impacted”by nature, they are normally stable so treatment is typically conservative without surgery, including bed rest, avoidance of prolonged activity, medications for pain management, muscle relaxants, back-braces and physical therapy. Surgery to reinforce the fractured vertebra may be indicated for patients who do not respond to conservative treatment.

“Most patients can make a full recovery or at least significant improvements from their compression fracture after six to 12 weeks, and can return to a normal exercise program after the fracture has fully healed. A well-balanced diet, regular exercise program, calcium and vitamin D supplements, smoking cessation, and medication to treat osteoporosis ... may help prevent additional compression fractures ... diagnosing and treating osteoporosis does indeed reduce the incidence of compression fractures.” (American Association of Family Physicians)

Sources:

Symptoms of a Spinal Compression Fracture. WebMD. Web. Nov 17, 2011. http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/guide/spinal-compression-fractures-symptoms

“Vertebral Compression Fractures in the Elderly” by Jerry L. Old, M.D., & Michelle Calvert, M.D., University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City & Wichita, Kansas. American Association of Family Physicians. Am Fam Physician. 2004 Jan 1;69(1):111-116. Web. Nov 17, 2011. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0101/p111.html

Spinal Compression Fractures. UCLA Spine Center. Web. Nov 17, 2011. http://spinecenter.ucla.edu/body.cfm?xyzpdqabc=0&id=32&ref=28&oTopID=35&action=detail

Reviewed November 17, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Malu Banuelos

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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