Vertebral Compression Fracture – Causes and Treatment

March 23rd, 2010

Yves’ and Eliane’s internet researches to help me:

Hi … back from big big divings in the South East Asia … a marvelous time.

But also the time I catched a Vertebral Compression Fracture (do not worry, I am already recovering and best issue is already predicted). My children made quick internet researches, they are so good that you should profit from their effort:


The break may also occur because of a localized infection of the bone, called osteomyelitis (*), which may occur in people with diabetes or in those who abuse IV drugs.
(*) Osteomyelitis: Inflammation of the bone due to infection, for example by the bacteria salmonella or staphylococcus. Osteomyelitis is sometimes a complication of surgery or injury, although infection can also reach bone tissue through the bloodstream. Both the bone and the bone marrow may be infected. Symptoms include deep pain and muscle spasms in the area of inflammation, and fever. Treatment is by bed rest, antibiotics (usually injected locally), and sometimes surgery to remove dead bone tissue.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
Last Editorial Review: 3/26/1998 2:27:00 PM


Osteoporosis most commonly occurs in women who have gone through menopause,

CT scan (*) of spine: If a fracture (bone break) is discovered, then the doctor may want to do a CT scan to determine the extent of the fracture. CT scans are frequently used to evaluate the brain, neck, spine, chest, abdomen, pelvis, and sinuses. (…) It is also used to look for a fracture or break in the spine. (*) CT scan = special x-ray “pictures” of slices of the body.

Spine surgery consultation: If you have a severe fracture, then the emergency doctor may call a specialist to examine you. This may mean that you need surgery for the fracture. Surgery is normally reserved for those with severe pain, weakness, or inability to feel.


Vertebral Compression Fracture Treatment

Self-Care at Home

- Rest
- Pain relief
- Apply ice to the injured area for the first week, then heat or ice, whichever feels better. Ice should be applied in the following fashion:
Place the ice in a bag, wrap the bag in a towel, and then apply to the injured area for 15-20 minutes each hour. Heat applied in the first week after an injury draws more fluid to the area, thereby increasing swelling and pain.
- When allowed by your doctor, a home stretching and strengthening program

Medical Treatment

- Back brace
- Rest and ice to the area: Later use heat compresses on the area.
- Admission to the hospital: Depending on severe pain, weakness, retention, or incontinence, you may be admitted to the hospital.
- Exercise: On clearance from the doctor, a stretching and strengthening program is important to decrease further osteoporosis and to strengthen
muscles supporting the back.

Pain medication

- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or
naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
- Narcotics such as hydrocodone
- Muscle relaxants such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), carisoprodol (Soma), diazepam (Valium)


Surgery may be required to prevent the spine from pressing on the spinal cord or to stabilize the vertebra adjacent to the fracture site.

Other Therapy

Percutaneous vertebroplasty: This is a relatively new procedure in which a needle is inserted through the skin by a specialist and a cement or “biomaterial” compound is injected into the vertebra with the osteoporotic fracture. Studies using this technique have shown promise in relieving chronic pain associated with osteoporotic fractures.


- Avoid strenuous and painful activities until cleared by your doctor.
- See your doctor frequently to ensure that the bones are healing.



The most important method of preventing vertebral compression fractures is to prevent osteoporosis.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Regular exercise including weight-bearing and strength-training exercise has been shown to increase the strength of bone.
- Stop smoking. Tobacco smoke has been shown to weaken bone.
- All people at risk for osteoporosis should take calcium and vitamin D supplements.
- In women past menopause, estrogen replacement therapy is likely indicated to prevent osteoporosis. Two relatively new medications, alendronate
(Fosamax)and risedronate (Actonel), have been shown to reduce the development of osteoporosis. They have also shown promise in decreasing the rate of bone
loss in those who already have osteoporosis.
- If you are on daily steroid therapy for another medical condition, discuss with your doctor methods of reducing the dosage of your steroid medication
because decreasing the doses reduces the chance of developing osteoporosis.


The back fracture should heal in most cases without problems. However, severe fractures may need surgery to keep the spine in alignment. Also, a pathological back fracture may not heal because cancer may be present. A person who has a fracture caused by osteoporosis can decrease the chance of further fractures with adequate dietary supplementation (calcium), exercise, and hormone replacement, if indicated.
Fractures causing chronic, severe pain benefit from a multidisciplinary approach that may include the primary medical doctor, an orthopedic or neurosurgeon, physical therapy, and pain clinic referral.


Human tissue ‘could regenerate’
(UKPA) The Press Association – 17 hours ago (15 March 2010)

Humans and other mammals may have a dormant ability to regenerate parts of their body in the same way as hydra, flatworms and newts, new research suggests.

A gene called p21 may hold the key to spontaneous healing, say experts. In laboratory experiments, mice engineered to lack the gene were able to renew surgically removed tissue so that no trace of injury remained.

The research could pave the way to new scar-free healing treatments for humans, the scientists believe.

Removing p21 causes adult cells to behave like embryonic stem cells – the cells in embryos with a “pluripotent” power to transform into any kind of tissue. The research provides clear evidence linking tissue regeneration to the control of cell division.

To test the role of p21, “knockout” mice missing the gene had holes punched into their ears, a system commonly used to identify lab animals.

After a few weeks, all traces of the ear holes had disappeared.

Study leader Professor Ellen Heber-Katz, from the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, US, said: “Much like a newt that has lost a limb, these mice will replace missing or damaged tissue with healthy tissue that lacks any sign of scarring.

“While we are just beginning to understand the repercussions of these findings, perhaps one day we’ll be able to accelerate healing in humans by temporarily inactivating the p21 gene.”

The experiment was reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It repeated a phenomenon first identified by accident in another mouse strain used for an earlier auto-immunity study.

Copyright © 2010 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

Related articles – Scientists find genetic key to regrowing limbs – 2 hours ago – Gene switch discovery may help in regrowing body parts
Times of India – 6 hours ago – Human tissue ‘could regenerate’
The Press Association – 17 hours ago …


Yves and Eliane wrote also their mother directly in french / en français …

Eliane: … Je comprends ta souffrance et ton désir de ne pas prendre de médicaments anti douleur. J’ai vécu la même chose ayant eu en même temps une sciatique, une hernie discale et un lumbago. J’ai refusé, tout comme toi, de prendre des anti douleurs. Je sais juste que le corps s’auto guérit, il faut juste lui laisser du temps (beaucoup), du repos (beaucoup) et avoir beaucoup, beaucoup de patience. Et il faut aussi l’aider. Je n’avais rien de cassé, cela a été, pour moi, la fasciathérapie, puis le Qi Qong de la femme, puis le Qi Qong du cœur et des reins, le shiatzu….

Dans les propositions que je peux te faire :

- après analyses de sang, faire éventuellement une cure de magnésium, calcium, fer.
- acheter auprès de Nikken des semelles et une plaque à mettre dans le bas du dos. Je sais que c’est efficace et que cela pourra réellement te soutenir et t’aider à atténuer les douleurs.!performance/Magnetic-Insoles/!performance/Support-Wraps/Elastomag/
Ensuite, si cela te fait du bien, il peut y avoir le coussin du siège si tu es beaucoup assise … la couette, le matelas, la veste,!performance/Magnetic-Support/

Je sais qu’ils proposent également des produits (à manger) qui renforcent le corps, mais là je te laisse te faire ton avis et prendre contact avec eux pour en savoir plus.!lifestyle/Kenzen-Wellness-Organic-Based-Nutrition/

- cellules souches pour réparer. Je connais des personnes qui le font dans le sud des US près de la frontière mexicaine. Cout assez élévé …

Yves: … Oui, le corps se guerit (regardez la belle et sportive Eliane!), et en particulier les “vertebral fractures” guerissent: j’ai fait une recherche en anglais au travail et j’ai copie-colle des causes possibles en vrac (voir plus haut) , puis des traitements (bons et pas bons) puis la prevention, etc.

Il y a tellement de decouvertes: ca s’accelere (j’ajoute un seul exemple de resultat en genetique / cellules souches). J’ajoute que la poudre d’os (vendue en boutique dietetique ou pharmacie) peut aussi servir de source tres assimilable de bons mineraux) …

DEARS, big thanks from your mother !!!

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