There are several treatment options for vertebral compression fractures that your rheumatologist will prescribe following the necessary investigations.
Pain medication (it reduces pain, but does not heal the fracture!)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Non-opioid analgesics
- Opioid analgesics
- Muscle relaxants
- Antidepressants (they reduce the emotional stress associated with pain)
Physical activity limitations
There is a need to limit any activities that could put pressure on the vertebral fracture, such as weight-lifting activities or exercise. Elderly people are advised to rest in bed because healing bones with osteoporosis takes longer than normal.
Orthoses are common accessories in the treatment for some types of vertebral fractures. Spinal orthoses support the spine in extension (keeping it straighter) and limit the flexion movement (bending). The role of the orthoses is to reduce the pressure on the fractured vertebra and speed up healing.
In general, surgery is rarely necessary. It is taken into consideration only if there is a rapid and serious instability of the spine (the fracture causes a reduction in ½ of the height of the vertebral body) that could damage the spinal nerves or if the bone fragments would compress the spinal cord. Some of the best procedures to help with this is from an experienced interventional radiologist practice.
When there is no spinal cord compression, but the spine is unstable, it is recommended to correctly align the vertebrae and fix them with a plate and screws.