Back pain that may seem like a normal part of aging may actually be a sign that you have tiny cracks in the bones called vertebrae that form your spine. If you fall, trip or lift a heavy box, those cracks can become a fracture. When these small hairline fractures add up, they can eventually cause a vertebra to collapse, which is called spinal compression fracture.
Symptoms include back pain, a loss in height and a bent-forward posture.
Pain from a spinal compression fracture allowed to heal naturally can last as long as three months. But the pain usually improves significantly in a matter of days or weeks. Your doctor may have you take analgesic pain medicines and get bed rest, wear a back brace and do some physical activity.
If chronic pain continues, surgery is the next step.
Surgical procedures used to treat spinal fractures are:
- Spinal fusion surgery
- Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty
These are minimally invasive procedure so healing time is short. They also use acrylic bone cement that hardens quickly, therefore stabilizing the spine immediately. You will most likely go home the same day or after one night's hospital stay.
Spinal fusion surgery is sometimes used to eliminate movement between two vertebrae and relieve pain. The procedure connects two or more vertebrae together, holds them in the correct position, and keeps them from moving until they have a chance to grow together, or fuse.