What Are Some Care Guidelines After a Compression Fracture of the Vertebrae?


Quick Answer

Care guidelines following a compression fracture of the vertebrae include pain medication, bed rest, bracing, physical therapy and surgery, if necessary, according to MedlinePlus. Most compression injuries of the vertebrae heal in eight to 10 weeks with proper care.

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Full Answer

Most compression fractures occur in people who have osteoporosis and do not cause injury to the spinal cord, explains MedlinePlus. In this case, doctors usually treat the condition with medication and calcium supplements, which may help prevent further fractures. A doctor may also suggest bed rest or a back brace in some situations, but a brace may weaken the bones in some patients, and it can raise the risk of additional fractures.

Other care for compression fractures include physical therapy, which may help improve strength and movement around the spine, states MedlinePlus. A doctor may also prescribe calcitonin, which is a medication to help relieve bone pain. If these treatments do not work and the pain continues for more than two months, a doctor may suggest surgery, including a balloon kyphoplasty, spinal fusion or vertebroplasty. If the fracture is due to a tumor, a doctor may perform surgery to remove the bone. Following surgery, a patient may have to wear a brace for up to 10 weeks, and additional surgery is necessary if there is pressure on the nerve.

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