About Spinal Compression Fractures

What is it and what are your treatment options?
Anchorage: (907)562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267
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What is a Spinal Compression Fracture?

Thirty-three vertebrae perfectly align to form the spine—a bony structure that supports the body and protects the spinal cord. Spinal compression fractures have two common causes:

  • A traumatic spinal compression fracture occurs when one or more of the vertebrae are broken during an accident or injury.
  • Spinal compression fractures are tiny fractures that are caused by the bone disease osteoporosis.

Spine compression fractures should be examined by one of our Orthopedic Physicians Alaska Spine Team Specialists, Dr. Mark Flanum, Dr. James Eule and Dr. Curtis Mina as soon as possible.

Common Symptoms:

Symptoms you should look for are:

  • Sudden spine pain associated with an accident or injury
  • Difficulty moving the spine or extremities
  • Stiffness, weakness, numbness

When diagnosing a spinal compression fracture, OPA Spine Team Specialists do the following:

  • Obtain a complete medical history
  • Perform a physical examination
  • Order and analyze X-rays, MRI, CT scan and/or nuclear bone scan
  • Identify compression fracture risk factors

Spinal compression fractures can be hard to diagnose by yourself and are easily misdiagnosed as a sprain or strain. OPA’s Spine Team Specialist will take special precautions to ensure compression fractures are properly diagnosed.

Common Treatments:

Nonsurgical treatment options treat nondisplaced spine fractures and compression fractures:

Anti-inflammatory and pain medications

Prescription strength aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, Celebrex, acetaminophen.

Physical Therapy

An OPA approved physical therapist prescribes and monitors strengthening and stretching exercises.

Bracing

A removable back brace.

Bed Rest

Rest gives fractured bones time to heal
Displaced spinal compression fractures may require minimally invasive surgical intervention:

Vertebroplasty. High viscosity cement is injected into the fracture. The fracture stabilizes when cement settles.
Kyphoplasty. A tiny balloon is inserted into the fracture and inflated. The fracture stabilizes and vertebral height is restored.

At OPA, our Board-Certified and Fellowship-Trained Spine Specialists, Dr. Mark Flanum, Dr. James Eule and Dr. Curtis Mina are experts in treating spinal compression fractures.

To receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan, please make an appointment to see one of our Spine Team Specialists at our offices conveniently located in Anchorage and Wasilla.

Schedule An Appointment

To receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan, please make an appointment with one of our Orthopedic Team Specialists at our offices conveniently located in Anchorage and Wasilla, AK.

Anchorage: (907)562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267

OPA Spine Team

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Dr. James Eule

Orthopedic Spine Specialist

Dr. Mark Flanum

Orthopedic Spine Specialist

Dr. Curtis Mina

Orthopedic Spine Specialist

Sean Taylor, MD

Pain Management

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To provide the finest orthopedic surgery and musculoskeletal care in North America, offering general and specialized adult care to all Alaskans and visitors.

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