Cervical Compression Fractures
Cervical compression fractures can be caused by a multitude of things. In the elderly, it is commonly caused by a fall. However, compression fractures are also seen in people of different ages if they have been involved in an accident, on the job injury or involved in sports injuries. In these cases, there may be other underlying injuries that may cause swelling, bruising and pain in the neck area or throughout the back. Any injury in which there is a question as to whether a compression fracture exist, medical treatment should be sought immediately so that further damage (possibly permanent) is not done to the spine or spinal cord.
In addition to pain, symptoms of cervical compression fractures may include:
- In the elderly, loss of height may occur
- Kyphosis (or humpback)
- Neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or weakness
- Possible loss of balance
Our expert team at SCCNS will evaluate the severity of your case based on numerous things which will include a history, physical evaluation as well as diagnostic tests such as x-rays to identify the location of the fracture. Treatment options will be discussed after a cervical compression fracture is confirmed.
Most compression fractures can be treated without surgery with the help of pain medication, modified activity and use of brace. Although we know wearing a brace may not be comfortable or aesthetically pleasing to look at, they do help immobilize the area of the spine affected which will ease the pain.
Surgical assistance may be indicated for some compression fractures. At SCCNS we discuss each surgical option with our patients and educate them as to what surgery entails and discuss whether or not surgery is the best option for treatment. Surgery options may include:
- Balloon Kyphoplasty: A large needle is inserted into the compressed vertebra. A balloon is inserted into the bone through the needle and inflated, restoring the height of the vertebra. Cement is injected into this space to make sure it does not collapse again.
- Vertebroplasty: This is a similar procedure in which cement is injected into the bone of the vertebra.