Compression fractures of the spine or compression of the vertebrae are quite common. This condition corresponds to the destruction of the entire vertebral body or its part with a loss of height. It can lead to the destruction of other vertebrae and lead to the loss of the functions of the spine. So, compression fracture of the lumbar spine: treatment.
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Spine fracture is caused by the destruction of one or more vertebrae. Most often this occurs in older patients with osteoporosis. Due to age-related changes, bone instability increases due to bone loss, so the vertebrae can collapse without large force effects. This type of fracture is known as compression. As a rule, it is a rupture of the end plates or the anterior wall of the vertebral body.
Often, the lower thoracic region or the upper lumbar spine is subject to a compression fracture. The formation of a rounded back and the formation of the so-called widow's hump are among the consequences of a fracture of the thoracic spine. Patients often suffer from chronic back pain in this case.
A great value for the assessment of spinal fracture is its stability. A fracture is called unstable if the violation refers to the posterior wall of the vertebral body and there is a risk of injury to the spinal cord with displaced bone fragments. This condition can lead to complete paralysis and immobilization of the patient. In most cases, compression fractures of the spine are stable.
Typical causes of fracture
In principle, the causes of a vertebral fracture can be divided into two main groups - traumatic and spontaneous. Consider them.
Such a vertebral fracture can occur in the context of an accident. This can be either a direct impact of force, for example, if you fall from a ladder, or indirectly when diving headfirst on shoals and a hard collision with the ground or as a result of a fall from a great height on the stretched legs with compression (compression) of the spine.
In some diseases, the bone structures are so weakened that the vertebral bodies can collapse due to muscle tension. The most common cause is age-related osteoporosis, as well as bone metastases for cancer. In addition, radiation therapy, hyperthyroidism, and long-term use of corticosteroids can result in loss of bone mass and increased risk of fractures.
The main signs of spinal compression fracture
A sudden attack of acute pain or chronic dull pain in the back may indicate a spinal fracture. If the back pain lasts for several days, you should visit a doctor to determine the cause.
Vertebral fractures can lead to sagging of the bones in the thoracic or lumbar region, which will cause a decrease in growth. Therefore, it is important to carry out systematic measurements of growth with the help of a health worker. Multiple spinal fractures can lead to postural changes or a hump on the back. If your height has decreased or a hump appears on your back, do not delay consultation with your doctor.
Compression fractures usually do not lead to spinal cord injury. But the recovery period, accompanied by pain syndrome, can be quite long. When changing the shape of the vertebral body, there is a risk that the load in this area will be greater than in other parts of the spine, and this can lead to additional compression fractures.
Early diagnosis allows several treatment options. Physical examination and X-rays will help determine the presence of a spinal fracture. The main stages of diagnosis:
- Medical history of the patient: osteoporosis, tumors, spinal injuries.
- Physical examination: pain with pressure and percussion over the affected vertebrae, sensitivity and mobility in the legs and arms.
- Survey radiographs in two planes.
- Computed tomography for more accurate assessment of fracture stability.
Treatment of compression fractures of the thoracic and lumbar spine involves two areas:
- conservative treatment;
Many spinal disorders can be treated conservatively, provided that instability and the risk of distortions are eliminated. For this purpose, stabilizing brackets are used, usually for six weeks to two months with bed rest until the pain stops. As symptomatic treatment can be prescribed. painkillers.
In addition, special physiotherapy is performed. In compression fractures of the thoracic spine, physical therapy plays a major role in rehabilitation. Physical therapy, above all, is designed to help restore the muscle endurance of the back and spinal mobility. Exercise therapy will help to prevent the formation of bedsores in bedridden patients, as well as normalize digestion and reduce the risk of blood clots.
More severe injuries with an unstable fracture or destruction of individual vertebrae provide for surgical treatment. In the thoracic and lumbar spine, vertebrae brackets and anchor screws are inserted, which are inserted from behind. Screws and fasteners are inserted through the smallest incisions and are connected together with skin and muscles.
Late therapy and multiple fractures of the spine can lead to its deformation with a bend forward. This phenomenon is called kyphosis. When the kyphosis shrinks the chest cavity, which significantly reduces the quality of life of the patient. Take care and be healthy!