Spinal Cord Injuries
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:
- MRI scan
- CT scan
- Bone scan
You may be tested to determine if you have osteoporosis. This can be done with a bone mineral density test .
Vertebroplasty involves liquid cement being injected into the vertebra. It can help relieve the pain associated with vertebral fractures. It is not suitable for everyone. The procedure may be best for recent fractures. Talk with your doctor to see if this option may be right for you. For example, it may not be as helpful in people whose fractures are due to osteoporosis.
In kyphoplasty , a balloon is used to create a cavity. The cement is injected into the cavity. This procedure is designed to relieve pain. It can also improve spinal deformities from the fractures.
Spinal fusion may be used to join together two or more bones in the spine. This procedure stops the bones from moving.
Your doctor may advise:
- A brief period of bed rest and a decrease in activity
- Medication to control the pain
- Strengthening exercises for your back muscles
- A back brace
Treatment for Osteoporosis
To prevent further bone loss, medications may include:
- Estrogen/progesterone hormone replacement therapy
- Bisphosphonates to prevent loss of bone mass
- Estrogen agonist/antagonist to treat weak or thin bones
- Calcitonin to regulate calcium levels in the body
- Parathyroid hormone to regulate calcium and phosphate levels in the body
The following may also be advised:
- Vitamin and mineral supplements, especially calcium combined with vitamin D
- Lifestyle changes —These may include weight-bearing and resistance exercises for both the upper and lower extremities.
Building strong bones will help prevent fractures. However, most bone strength is attained by women before they are 25 years old. That makes maintaining bone density and strength at older ages even more important.
Follow these prevention guidelines:
- Get plenty of weight-bearing exercise. This includes walking, jogging, or sports such as tennis.
- Do resistance exercises for arms and legs. This will help to improve your strength and balance.
- Get plenty of calcium, vitamin D, and protein in your diet. Talk to your doctor if you think you need supplements .
- If you have osteoporosis, you should talk to your doctor about treatment options. If you had an early menopause , talk to your doctor about this.
- If you smoke , talk to your doctor about ways to quit.
- Drink alcohol only in moderation. Moderate alcohol intake is 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women.
- Remove any obstacles in your home that could cause you to fall. These may include throw rugs or furniture.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Fracture, Vertebral Compression)
National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases http://www.niams.nih.gov
National Osteoporosis Foundation http://www.nof.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
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11/9/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Buchbinder R, Osborne RH, Ebeling PR, et al. A randomized trial of vertebroplasty for painful osteoporotic vertebral fractures. N Engl J Med. 2009;361(6):557-568.