What is a Compression Fracture?

By Drew Heideman, PT, ATC

Compression Fracture Overview

What is a Compression Fracture?

The quick answer, a Compression Fracture is an injury that occurs in the vertebrae, which are the bones in your back that make up your spine. Osteoporosis is a leading cause of compression fractures and trauma and, in some cases, tumors. Patients who have osteoporosis should be aware that they are at a greater risk of developing compression fractures.

What is a Compression Fracture? Spinal MRIs can diagnose a compression fracture

Spinal MRI films


Types of Compression Fractures

  • Wedge Fracture. A spinal fracture that is due to osteoporosis
  • Burst Fracture. This involves loss of height in both the back and front walls for the vertebral body
  • Crush Fracture. Occurs when the entire bone breaks

Compression Fracture Symptoms

Symptoms for a compression fracture typically start as an aching pain in the middle of the back. Symptoms can include a limited range of motion with bending down or twisting or an abnormal posture, mainly leaning too far forward. Compression fractures are more frequent in the thoracic spine in the middle and upper back. These fractures are have central unrelenting pain.

Treatment for Compression Fractures

If you are experiencing these symptoms, call 904-JOI-2000 to schedule an appointment with one of our Orthopaedic physicians. Depending on the fracture’s severity, the physician can choose either a surgical or non-surgical approach to treatment. The surgical procedure will either consist of vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty in which the compressed bone can be stabilized with surgical cement. Conservative treatment options include physical therapy to help speed the recovery process.

JOI Offers Physical Therapy Treatments for Compression Fractures

Physical therapy may be prescribed after the surgery or for those not candidates for surgery to aid with recovery. Medical Massage therapy can aid with the tight muscles around the spine. The massage will to help stabilize the spine around the injury site. If massage is required it may be beneficial to get Medical Massage like show in this VIDEO. Exercises can also play a key role in the recovery process. Finally, if you would like to schedule a physical therapy appointment with JOI Rehab, call 904-858-7045.

Also, JOI Rehab has a Fast Track Program to get you into physical therapy faster!

By: Drew Heideman, PT/ATC

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