A compression fracture is a name given to a type of fracture/break that affects one or more bones in your vertebrae. These are the small bones that are stacked on top of one another and that make up the spine. Between each vertebra is a small disc called an intervertebral disc that acts as a shock absorber, while also giving the spine flexibility to bend and twist.
Compression fractures are typically caused by osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by the weakening of the bones, making the patient more susceptible to damage. There are several different types of compression fracture. These are known as follows:
Wedge fracture. Where the fracture occurs at the front of the vertebra, collapsing the bone in the front of the spine while the back remains the same as before.
Crush fracture. This is where the entire vertebra breaks and collapses.
Burst fracture. This type of fracture affects the height across the whole vertebra, rather than just the front. Burst fractures can be very unstable and result in progressive deformity or neurological compromise.
The most obvious symptom of a compression fracture is acute back pain, but this can develop into chronic discomfort if the root cause of the issue isn’t identified and treated. Other signs of a compression fracture include:
Back pain that gets worse when you are standing or moving around
A stooped-over posture, known as kyphosis, is caused by the front side of the vertebra losing height, causing you to naturally bend forward
Limited movement in your spine (struggling to bend/twist)
A decrease in your height
Neurological symptoms caused by damage to the nerves in the area, including numbness/tingling, weak muscles, problems walking, and in severe cases, issues with bladder/bowel control caused by nerve damage
Your healthcare provider will perform an x-ray, along with potentially other imaging tests, in order to confirm a diagnosis of a compression fracture.
Chiropractic treatment for compression fractures should take place in stages. These are as follows:
Stabilization. The most important thing to do first is to stabilize the patient and alleviate the acute pain that they are experiencing. This may involve gentle manipulation of the body to bring the spine into the best possible alignment. Chiropractic adjustments also increase blood flow, enabling nutrient and oxygen-rich blood to reach the areas and tackle inflammation and discomfort and promote healing, while also triggering the release of natural pain-relieving endorphins.
Decompression. This process uses mechanically driven traction to gently stretch the spine and reduce pressure on the fracture, making the vertebra more efficient in healing itself.
Correction and prevention. Once decompression therapy has taken place, your chiropractor will work with you to again correct any vertebral misalignment that could be increasing your risk of a compression fracture. This may involve spinal adjustments and advice relating to your day-to-day posture which may help to prevent further issues in the future.
If you would like more information about how chiropractic care can treat compression fractures, or schedule an appointment, visit Healistic Chiropractic & Acupuncture in Lafayette, IN. Call (765) 227-2454 today.