Compression fractures of the spine are most commonly seen in patients with a history of osteoporosis, and these fractures are also known as “benign” compression fractures. The decreased bone density caused by osteoporosis results in bones that are more fragile, which predisposes them to be more easily compressed, and thus, fractured. Much more rarely, compression fractures can be caused by other conditions, such as chronic exposure to certain medications, cancer that has spread to the spine, or from an infection in the spine.
How Is It Diagnosed?
X-rays of the spine can typically diagnose a compression fracture in the spine. More advanced imaging such as an MRI or CT scan of the spine may be warranted in cases where there is suspicion of the fracture affecting the nerves in the spine.
How Do You Treat It?
The physicians of Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine are often asked to guide the treatment of patients presenting with osteoporotic compression fractures. The assessment and treatment of patients presenting with this condition includes imaging to determine fracture acuity, custom bracing, introduction of medications to help improve bone density and reduce pain, determining bone density through appropriate diagnostic testing, educating patients on osteoporosis origins and management, possible interventional approaches, and ultimately guiding patients toward a spine safe aerobic and resistance training regimen. Should the compression fracture arise from a different underlying cause, that particular condition should be properly addressed and treated.