Spine compression fractures can happen to anyone

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Spinal compression fractures can occur to anyone at any age. These fractures can be reported to be very painful and even debilitating. Compression fractures of the spine can occur as a result of any number of causes and don’t necessarily develop after a major event such as a motor vehicle accident or fall. A compression fracture can develop without the individual ever even knowing why or when it happened. Because of the pain and debility that can result from these fractures the team at Idaho Pain Clinic in Sandpoint recently began offering a corrective minimally invasive procedure.

In the United States alone there is an average of 700,000 documented compression fractures of the spine each year. Spinal compression fractures are more common than wrist or hip fractures. So why do wrist and hip fractures almost always receive medical care and often surgical interventions compared to compression fractures? Despite the vast number of spinal fractures each year, only 30% get medical attention. That is in part because the signs are overlooked by the patient or can often be misdiagnosed as muscle strains or sprains. Patients are often prescribed bracing, physical therapy or bedrest when in reality there is something far more serious than a strain or sprain causing their symptoms.

It is important for people to know the signs of spinal compression fracture which include sudden onset of back pain without an obvious acute explanation. The report or experience of loss in height, kyphotic posture (hunchback position), chronic protruding abdomen, altered gait presentation including decreased walking speed and poor balance, gastric distress, frailty, decreased physical function, decreased quality of life and chronic low back pain.

Patients need to know that if they do have a spinal compression fracture then chances of experiencing improved pain, function, quality of life and even the risk of mortality are greatly improved if they undergo Balloon Kyphoplasty or Vertebroplasty versus conservative treatment. In fact, conservative management has limited effectiveness as compared to vertebral augmentation which consist of injecting a bone cement into the fractured vertebra to stabilize it. The balloon technique known as Kyphoplasty is used to restore the height of the bone while injecting the bone cement.

Recent studies have found this minimally invasive procedure decreases the mortality rate by up to 43 percent compared to conservative management. Of 68,752 hospital admitted medicare patients with compression fractures, those that received the procedure compared to conservative treatment were in the hospital an average of 3.64 less days following admission, were more likely to discharge to home and were 27 percent less likely to return to the hospital in the thirty days following initial admission.

Vertebral compression fractures can often occur in those patients with history of cancer including breast, prostate, lung, bladder and is even reported to occur in a quarter of patients with multiple myeloma. The great news is that this procedure offered through Idaho Pain Clinic is safe with this population.

The team at Idaho Pain Clinic would like the community to know that their clinic is ready and more than capable to offer the minimally invasive Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty procedure to the patients they serve. A combination of signs during a physical examination in addition to the presence of edema (swelling) in the vertebral bodies as seen on X-ray indicates that a patient may very well be an excellent candidate for this procedure.

If you or someone you know is suffering from pain you are encouraged to contact the Idaho Pain Clinic to discuss your treatment options.

Information: Idaho Pain Clinic, idahopainclinic.com or 208-263-9757

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