Spinal Compression Fracture

Spinal Compression Fracture

A spinal compression fracture is a spinal condition with a collapsed vertebra. Aside from an injury, the most common cause of the spinal compression fracture is osteoporosis. As the spinal bone becomes brittle and the tiny cracks add up, the bone can sink like a beverage can. A spinal compression fracture commonly occurs in women in their 50s or onwards, especially after menopause, and men, in their 60s or older.

Symptoms of spinal compression fracture

Limited mobility due to severe pain in the upper and lower back
• Difficulty in turning while lying down
• Severe pain when walking or standing
• Lost height
• Deformed body due to weak lower back
• Pain spreads to the chest, lower abdomen, and hip.

Diagnosis of spinal compression fracture

• X-ray can check bone alignment and disc degeneration
• CT scan can check bone detail
• MRI scanning can find the exact location of collapsed vertebrae

Healthy spine

spinal compression fracture

Prevention of Spinal Compression Fracture

What happens if spinal compression fracture is neglected?

Neglecting to treat the spinal compression fracture can be fatal for the adults because the bones become weak and brittle from degeneration. As well, the bone cell formation slows down as they age. In the worst case, if a spinal compression fracture patient is not taken care of, the patient could even die of pressure ulcers, pneumonia, or malnutrition. Statistics show the spinal compression fracture in older people causes 25% of them to die within a year, and 50% of the survivors become wheelchair-bound or bedridden.

Normal bone density(left) and Osteoporosis(right)

Precautions for spinal compression fracture

• Practice cardio exercise, such as jogging, swimming, and cycling, to maintain the flexibility.
• Wear low-heeled, non-slip, well fitting shoes
• Be mindful of slippery street
• Hold on the rail when walking up or down the stairs
• Be careful not to fall from the dizziness caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure when standing up from a lying or sitting position.

Prevention of Osteoporosis

• Eat healthy food
• Make sure you have calcium and vitamin D in your diet. You can get these nutrients in milk, cheese, fatty fish, pacific saury, anchovies, tofu, and dark green vegetables like radish greens.
• Avoid heavy drinking because alcohol interrupts bone cell formation and calcium absorption
• Try not to drink too much coffee, coke, or other drinks with caffeine
• Practice weight-bearing exercises regularly to strengthen your muscles and bones. However, too much exercise can cause a fracture
• Quit smoking
• Maintain proper posture — Hold the head high, pull the chin down, and straighten up the lower back