The pain of a compression fracture is not always relieved by medication and bedrest. When broken vertebrae are the source of discomfort, unconventional solutions might be the best option for unconventional problems. When the pain of a compression fracture exceeds more than two months following the initial injury, surgical procedures may provide the relief that conventional treatment cannot.
Compression fractures most commonly occur in the mid to lower part of the spine, and the stabbing pain can take weeks or months to go away. They can be caused by osteoporosis, back trauma, or tumors. It is possible for surgical solutions can provide immediate relief to the disabling pain of compression fractures, and two such options are vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. Both procedures treat fractures of the spine, but they do it in slightly different ways.
Kyphoplasty involved a balloon being inserted into the vertebral body and being slowly inflated to the prior size and shape of the area before the fracture occurred. The balloon is then removed and bone cement is injected to fill in the empty space.
Vertebroplasty also utilizes bone cement to stabilize the spine. Bone cement is injected into the broken areas of the spine without any attempt to restore the former height of the bone.
This procedure is minimally invasive and commonly used to treat the severe pain of a compression fracture. Many patients experience relief soon after initial treatment, though others see a more gradual improvement.
As always, speak with a licensed physician before seeking a new treatment plan to find one that suits your needs. For more information about pain treatment and pain doctors in the Seattle, Bellevue, and Edmonds area, contact the Washington Center for Pain Management.