Treatment for a vertebral burst fracture due to trauma ranges from a back brace or body cast for stable fractures to open surgery for unstable fractures, according to SpineUniverse. Options for a vertebral compression fracture range from over-the-counter pain medications and activity modifications to open surgery, as described by WebMD.
A stable burst fracture does not involve neurological injury, and the spinal canal is compromised less than 50 percent. A molded turtle shell brace worn for eight to 12 weeks promotes sufficient healing, notes SpineUniverse. An unstable burst fracture involves injury to the spine, dislocation of the spine or greater than 50 percent compromise of the spinal canal. This usually requires surgery to install stabilizing hardware, to straighten the spine or to fuse vertebrae together.
Compression fractures, most often due to osteoporosis, are treated differently, depending upon severity, states Drugs.com. Mild compression may require bed rest or a back brace along with pain medications. Physical or occupational therapy may be prescribed to improve motion and strength and to help relieve pain through exercises. If other treatments are ineffective in relieving pain, weakness or numbness, surgery may be required. Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are procedures for inserting bone cement into damaged vertebrae. More invasive open surgery for severe compression fractures uses techniques similar to those for burst fractures.