Friday, August 14, 2009

Compression Fractures

Compression fractures are a common occurrence. By definition, a compression fracture is the collapse of a vertebra due to trauma or a weakened bone structure. This bone weakness often occurs in patients with osteoporosis. The result of the compression fracture may be increased pain in the region surrounding the fracture.

Surgeons often perform a procedure called vertebroplasty to fill the collapsed bone with an artificial cement material. The goal of this procedure is return the anatomy in the area to as near-normal as possible and, as a result, decrease the pain caused by the fracture. This procedure, however, has recently been shown to be only as effective as a placebo treatment. Two studies, one at the Mayo Clinic and the other in Australia, showed that both patients that have the procedure performed as well as those who have a placebo (in which no surgery is performed) procedure showed equal progress after one month post-procedure.

These studies show that procedures such as vertebroplasties may not be as effective as once believed. Vertebroplasties are also thought to increase the risk for future fractures in the surrounding vertebrae. We are not stating that this procedure should not be performed, but patients need to ask questions to their surgeons regarding the risks and benefits of every procedure. Also, try non-invasive alternatives such as chiropractic and physical therapy before consenting to surgery!

You can read more about this study by clicking the following link:

If you have any questions regarding this article or chiropractic care in general, please contact Healing Hands Wellness & Chiropractic Center at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on the web at!