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Spinal Compression Fractures

“A uncommon source of pain that can be very debilitating, yet in mild cases, can be treated without surgery”

There are about 15,000 major thoracolumbar fractures per year resulting in 5,000  which result in significant neurological complications. Most occur between the T11  and L1 vertebral body levels. A burst fracture is most common. Falls are the most common cause of spinal compression fractures in the elderly population, but they  can also be caused by seat belt injuries following a motor vehicle accident, falls and  other high-energy trauma.

Why your spinal compression fracture hurts.

As with any broken bone, a fracture of the vertebral body can result in excruciating pain. There are some individuals who feel little pain and find out about a fracture long after it has healed.


• Severe back pain
• Severe pain with deep breaths
• Severe pain with moving
• Severe weakness
• Numbness and tingling
• Bowel or bladder problems

If you are experiencing severe pain or weakness due to a spinal compression fracture you should go to the nearest emergency room. If the segment is unstable you may need surgery. Often there is no instability and the pain is not severe. If this is the case, it is important to accurately assess your pain.
Our expert doctors at Spine & Sports Medicine of New York use their expertise in innovative assessments to accurately diagnose the pain associated with spinal compression fractures.

Other diseases that can mimic a spinal compression fracture include:

• Infections
• Neoplasm

Our Board-Certified Physicians Can Accurately Diagnose the Source of Your Pain

We conduct a thorough clinical evaluation to determine if the pain is generated from a spinal compression fracture as well as other conditions that share similar symptoms. We begin our evaluation of your problem with a complete medical history using detailed information gathering tools followedby a focused physical examination. We then confirm our diagnosis with specialized tests which may include x-ray, CT, electrodiagnostic (EMG) studies, ultrasonography, or MRI.

“Often no surgery is needed to relieve pain related to your spinal compression fracture”


Treatment will depend on the source of pain which may range from physical therapy and bracing to targeted injections or other interventions. For less severe pain a course of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) and physical therapy may be helpful. For more severe pain, a brace and oral pain medications may be helpful.

Here’s what you can expect if one of our pain specialists treats your pain:

• Relief of pain to get you back to living.
• Several treatment options available to target the root of the problem
• May be accompanied by physical therapy to strengthen your core musculature
• Bracing to eliminate the source of the pain
• Targeted interventional procedures may be helpful
• Many patients gain considerable to complete relief with the first or second procedure
• No general anesthesia, surgery or prolonged recovery periods to slow you down from your busy schedule
• Thousands of patients have been helped by our innovative approach to degenerative disc disease.


Wood K, Mehbod A, Garvey T, Jhanjee R, Sechriest V , Butterman G. Operative compared with nonoperative treatment of a thoracolumbar burst fracture without neurological deficit.
A prospective, randomized study. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2003  May;85-A(5):773-81.

This lateral x-ray of the lumbar  spine demonstrates unstable L2-L4 vertebral body fractures.

This lateral x-ray of the lumbar
spine demonstrates unstable L2-L4 vertebral body fractures.


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Most compassionate doctor we have met in 111 days at this hospital. Always generous with her time, expertise and smile. Will always be a GREAT doctor.

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