Spine Fracture (Compression Fracture) in Singapore
Is your back pain keeping you from performing certain sports or simple activities like your daily chores? Chances are that you have a spinal compression fracture, which is a type of spine fracture.
Spine compression fractures are one of the most common injuries sustained by athletes and older adults. It may be caused by the sudden twisting or bending of the spine, leading to a fracture in one or more vertebrae. It can also be due to osteoporosis.
To understand this fracture, you need to know what it is, the signs and symptoms of spinal compression fracture, the risk factors and the recommended spine fracture treatment in Singapore.
What is a Compression Fracture?
A spine compression fracture is a type of spinal fracture that occurs when there is immense pressure on the spinal vertebrae, causing small breaks or cracks in the vertebral body. Over time, this can cause the spine to weaken and collapse, affecting a person’s posture.
Compression fractures usually occur in the thoracic (middle) part of the spine, especially in the lower thoracic area. That said, they often result from osteoporosis but can also happen due to trauma to the back or repetitive stress, causing pain in the back and neck.
What Causes Compression Fractures?
Compression fractures are unlike other types of bone fractures that occur suddenly. They tend to develop over time due to age and, in some cases, due to trauma such as a car accident or cancerous tumours.
Our bones will naturally weaken with age, causing the vertebrae in our spine to become flatter and narrower. If you have a family history of osteoporosis, you might get a compression fracture from a fall or another type of accident.
Those with severe osteoporosis can fracture a bone while performing their daily activities. These include sneezing, coughing, or a sudden twist of the body. Getting out of the car can also cause compression fractures.
Symptoms & Signs of Compression Fractures
The symptoms and signs of compression fractures vary based on severity. Some people may not have the symptoms unless they undergo a medical screening that includes an X-ray for another condition.
However, many with compression fractures generally have difficulty standing or walking without feeling the pain. The symptoms can include:
- Back pain – It can occur suddenly and last a long time. The pain may develop anywhere between your shoulders and lower back. It usually gets better when you lie down and worsens when you stand or walk.
- Limited mobility or flexibility – When your spine’s mobility and flexibility decrease, you may be unable to twist or bend over.
- Hunched appearance – When your back pain becomes chronic, you may slouch or even hunch to ease the pain, but this will cause you to have a curved upper back.
- Loss of height – When the vertebrae compress, it causes the spine to curve.
- Tingling and numbness – A compression fracture can pinch the nerves, which may cause nerve damage, resulting in tingling sensations and numbness.
- Problems controlling the bladder – This generally occurs with a severe, untreated spinal compression fracture.
Risk Factors for Compression Fractures
Several risk factors can lead to compression fractures. Some of the factors include:
- Age – You are over 50 years old, and compression fractures can occur due to osteoporosis.
- Past injury – If you had a compression fracture in the past, you are more likely to have another one.
- Medical condition – If you have or have had cancer, you will likely have a compression fracture.
Recommended Treatment for Compression Fractures
A spine fracture treatment in Singapore will vary based on the severity of the injury and type of fracture. Sometimes, you only need to get enough rest to alleviate back pain. Oral treatments may include using over-the-counter or prescribed medications like NSAIDs and anti-depressants. You may also need a back brace to keep your spine stable.
However, if you have severe back pain that lasts several days, you should seek immediate medical attention for spinal compression fractures. There are two types of procedures:
- Vertebroplasty – Your surgeon injects bone cement into the spine to keep it stable while reducing the pain levels. It can also prevent further fractures of the vertebrae and a curved spine.
- Kyphoplasty – Your surgeon inserts a balloon device into the fractured vertebra to help restore its height and shape. Once removed, the device leaves a small cavity so the surgeon can fill it with special bone cement.
Both procedures are outpatient procedures, so you will go home the same day. As for recovery, it will take a few months with adequate rest, limited movement and medications. Be sure to fulfil your follow-up visits to the doctor to ensure that your bone is healing.
Get Treated for Your Compression Fractures
At Spire Orthopaedic Centre, everyone should be cared for and healed holistically in comfort without travelling to different locations to seek medical and surgical help and rehabilitation support.
With a combined facility for collaboration between physicians, physiotherapists, and surgeons, you will experience a seamless service from diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation tailored just for you at our clinic.