Best way to sleep with compression fracture

spinal compression fracture treatment pain

Best way to sleep with compression fracture

Can a compression fracture get worse?

How do I get pain relief from a compression fracture?

What should I avoid with a compression fracture?
How long does it take to heal a compression fracture?
Spinal compression fracture treatment pain

A vertebral body compression fracture is a type of fracture in the spine in which a vertebral bone has decreased at least 15 to 20 percent in height due to fracture. They are followed by acute back pain and may lead to chronic pain, deformity, loss of height, and crowding of internal organs. Pain from a spinal compression fracture allowed to heal naturally can last as long as three months. But the pain usually improves significantly in a matter of days or weeks. Pain management may include analgesic pain medicines, bed rest, back bracing, and physical activity.

 

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How is a compression fracture treated?
  1. Pain medicine to relieve your back pain.
  2. Bed rest for a short time, followed by limited activity while your bones heal.
  3. Wearing a back brace.
  4. Physical therapy to help you move better and strengthen the muscles around your spine.

 

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Best way to sleep with compression fracture
  • Do not sleep on a waterbed. Waterbeds do not provide good back support.
  • Sleep on a firm mattress. You may also put a ½ to 1-inch piece of plywood between the mattress and box spring.
  • Sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees. This will decrease pressure on your back. You may also sleep on your side with 1 or both of your knees bent and a pillow between them. It may also be helpful to sleep on your stomach with a pillow under you at waist level.
Can a compression fracture get worse?

Compression fracture may start gradually and get worse over time or come on suddenly and sharply. But regardless of how it happens, it's important to let your doctor know about it, especially if you're a woman who is near or over age 50.

 

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How do I get pain relief from a compression fracture?

Pain from a spinal compression fracture allowed to heal naturally can last as long as three months. But the pain usually improves significantly in a matter of days or weeks.

Pain management may include analgesic pain medicines, bed rest, back bracing, and physical activity.

Pain medications. A carefully prescribed "cocktail" of pain medications can relieve bone-on-bone, muscle, and nerve pain, explains F. Todd Wetzel, MD, professor of orthopaedics and neurosurgery at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. "If it's prescribed correctly, you can reduce doses of the individual drugs in the cocktail."

Over-the-counter pain medications are often sufficient in relieving pain. Two types of non-prescription medications acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are recommended. Narcotic pain medications and muscle relaxants are often prescribed for short periods of time, since there is risk of addiction. Antidepressants can also help relieve nerve-related pain.

Activity modification. Bed rest may help with acute pain, but it can also lead to further bone loss and worsening osteoporosis, which raises your risk for future compression fractures. Doctors may recommend a short period of bed rest for no more than a few days. However, prolonged inactivity should be avoided.

Back bracing. A back brace provides external support to limit the motion of fractured vertebrae much like applying a cast on a broken wrist. The rigid style of a back brace limits spine-related motion significantly, which may help reduce pain.

Osteoporosis treatment. Bone-strengthening drugs such as bisphosphonates (such as Actonel, Boniva, and Fosamax) help stabilize or restore bone loss. This is a critical part of treatment to help prevent further compression fractures.

 

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What should I avoid with a compression fracture?

You should avoid all high impact activities, including sports and exercise. You should also avoid any bending, twisting, or lifting motions. However, this does not mean you should stay sedentary until the fracture heals. Low impact activities, such as walking or tai chi, are good for your heart, and a healthy circulatory system can increase blood flow to the fracture and help your bones heal faster. It's also essential to avoid bed rest to minimize your chances of developing blood clots or deep vein thrombosis in your legs.

 

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Spinal Fracture Recovery

Most compression fractures due to injury heal in 8 to 10 weeks with rest, wearing of a brace, and pain medicines. However, recovery can take much longer if surgery was done. After you’re diagnosed with a spinal fracture, it’s time to start the recovery process. Try these tips during your recovery.

1. Medication Should Be Used Only as Needed

Spinal fractures can be painful, and many people find they need something to relieve the discomfort, especially during the period immediately after the fracture has occurred. Work with your doctor to determine the appropriate type of pain relief for you. This depends on the level of pain you are experiencing and any other types of medication you are currently taking. As the pain subsides, you may be able to decrease the dosage, switch to an over-the-counter pain reliever, or eliminate medication altogether.

If your spinal fracture is related to a medical condition such as osteoporosis, your doctor might also prescribe medication to help improve bone density.

 

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2. Rest is Important During the Recovery Process

The body needs plenty of energy to heal itself, so getting ample rest is critical. Limiting activity is especially important immediately after the injury because this is when the body’s inflammatory response initiates the most pain and swelling. Limiting movement allows your body to heal itself while also lowering the risk of another injury. For several weeks, you should also avoid bending, twisting, and lifting.

While you rest, it is also important to maintain a healthy diet that provides your body with the nutrients it needs for the healing process. Make sure to stay hydrated and eat balanced meals that include fruits and vegetables. Foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D, such as milk, fortified cereals, and some lean proteins, may help your body heal and prevent the loss of bone density.

3. Physical Therapy Builds Strength

As you continue to recover, physical therapy can help you build strength and regain range of motion in your back. Muscles in the hips, back, and abdominals weaken during the rest phase, when mobility is limited. Safely rebuilding these muscles is necessary to return to regular activity and prevent reinjury. Your physical therapy treatment plan might include:

  • Flexibility exercises to improve range of motion
  • Weight-bearing exercises to improve muscle and bone strength
  • Techniques for maintaining proper posture
  • Exercises to help you avoid falls
  • Nutrition consultation to improve bone strength
4. Bracing Provides Support

Your doctor or physical therapist might also recommend using a back brace to provide support during the recovery process. The brace temporarily immobilizes the back, helping to reduce the risk of reinjury and providing additional support to the bones and muscles. Follow your doctor’s instructions about the use of this brace. Recovery eventually requires engaging the back muscles, so prolonged use of the brace might actually undermine recovery.

5. Cold Therapy Can Help

Using a cold therapy system during spinal fracture recovery may help relieve pain and swelling in the area surrounding the injury. Ice reduces inflammation, making it an especially useful tool immediately following an injury.

Traditional ice packs may deliver inconsistent cold and warm up quickly. Some cold therapy systems offer therapeutic cold in combination with wrap-conforming compression. This compression helps the wrap to conform to the body, and allows cold to penetrate deeper into the damaged tissues.  Cold therapy systems are also easy to use and do not require you to hold an ice pack in the same position throughout the treatment process. You can rent a device for home use during recovery or use a system at your physical therapy appointment.

 

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10 common questions about spinal compression fracture treatment pain

1What is the treatment for compression fractures in the spine?
For the most part, nonoperative treatments are recommended for compression fracture. These treatments include pain medications and modified physical activity. The doctor may recommend wearing a brace that helps support the back and prevents bending forward, and therefore removes pressure from the fractured vertebrae
2How painful is a compression fracture?
A vertebral body compression fracture is a type of fracture in the spine in which a vertebral bone has decreased at least 15 to 20 percent in height due to fracture. They are followed by acute back pain and may lead to chronic pain, deformity, loss of height, and crowding of internal organs
3How long does it take a compression fracture of the spine to heal?
about 3 months Compression fractures usually heal on their own in about 3 months. While that happens, your doctor may suggest you try some things at home that can make you feel better, such as pain medicines, rest, physical therapy, or a back brace
4How serious is a spinal compression fracture?
The thinning bones can collapse during normal activity, leading to a spinal compression fracture. Spinal compression fractures are the most common type of osteoporotic fractures. These vertebral fractures can permanently alter the shape and strength of the spine.
5Is walking good for compression fracture?
Low impact activities, such as walking or tai chi, are good for your heart, and a healthy circulatory system can increase blood flow to the fracture and help your bones heal faster. ... For many people, it's best to avoid physical therapy soon after a spine compression fracture to decrease stress on the fractured bone.
6How do you sleep with a compression fracture?
Sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees. This will decrease pressure on your back. You may also sleep on your side with 1 or both of your knees bent and a pillow between them. It may also be helpful to sleep on your stomach with a pillow under you at waist level.
7Is a compression fracture serious?
Soft, weakened bones are at the heart of the problem. Compression fractures are usually caused by the bone-thinning condition osteoporosis, especially if you are a woman over age 50 who has been through menopause. ... Even coughing or sneezing can cause compression fractures if you have severe osteoporosis
8Is heat good for compression fractures?
Treatment for the vertebral fracture will typically include non-surgical care, such as rest, pain medication, use of heat or ice for local pain, and slow return to mobility. ... Both types of surgery can help the fracture heal. Vertebroplasty.
9Can a compression fracture get worse?
If a compression fracture develops quickly, you may feel sudden, severe back pain. A fracture doesn't always cause immediate symptoms, though. ... Slowly worsening back pain — lying on your back may relieve the pain and standing may make it worse. Decreased height
10Can you walk with a spinal fracture?
Spinal fractures are different than a broken arm or leg. A fracture or dislocation of a vertebra can cause bone fragments to pinch and damage the spinal nerves or spinal cord. ... Depending on how severe your injury is, you may experience pain, difficulty walking, or be unable to move your arms or legs (paralysis).

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