Spinal compression fractures usually repair on their own, but treatments such as over-the-counter or prescription painkillers, wearing a back brace, and resting can help manage pain during healing, states WebMD. In some cases, doctors may perform surgery to prevent nerve damage. Common types of surgery include vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty and spinal fusion.
In both vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, the surgeon injects cement through a small incision to seal the cracks in the bone, according to WebMD. When performing vertebroplasty, the surgeon injects the cement directly with a needle. With kyphoplasty, the surgeon first inflates a small balloon to create space within the fracture before introducing the cement. With spinal fusion, the goal is to encourage bones to fuse together to strengthen and support each other. The surgeon accomplishes this by grafting the bones together with hardware, such as rods, plates and screws.
After surgery, patients may experience pain and swelling, which they can manage with medication and cold compresses, explains WebMD. Doctors may prescribe physical therapy and light exercise to help recovery after surgery. Patients should ease into normal physical activities and avoid strenuous exercise and lifting objects heavier than 5 pounds. Patients who experience inflammation or an oozing wound at the site of the surgery should notify their physicians.