How to get out of bed with a compression fracture?

How to get out of bed with a compression fracture?

How to Sit With a Fractured Vertebrae

The best way to sit with a compression fracture

An important part of your recovery is to learn how to perform safe movement techniques, done in a way that doesn’t put additional strain on the spine. This includes sitting down and getting up from a chair, especially if you need to work behind a desk. Here are the important steps on how to sit with a fractured vertebrae:

1. Start by Understanding Neutral Spine Position

The first and most important step to perform day-to-day activities after a vertebral fracture is to understand a neutral spine. First, understand that there are 24 bones altogether. Each bone has different shapes and sizes.

A neutral spine is when each of these 24 bones are perfectly aligned and are stacked on top of the other, forming three gentle natural curves that create a strong support post for the head. This perfect alignment is the strongest and safest position for the spine, giving you the foundation to sit in better comfort.

PRO TIP: Even when your spine is neutral and a movement is done correctly, some movements may be painful, especially during the early stages of recovery. Although it may be painful in the beginning to get into the neutral spine position because of your stiff back muscles, it is the best position to protect your spine.

2. Use the Right Kind of Chair

Most chairs do not always accommodate your specific needs for spinal support. In an effort to keep the spine neutral, while allowing the back muscles to relax, use the best ergonomic office chair. These chairs are expertly designed to support your spine and is the best investment you can make to work in ultimate comfort.

It doesn’t matter how well you sit. At the end of the day, you can’t find proper spine alignment if you don’t have the right furniture. A poorly designed chair can force you to sit in an awkward position and slouch, causing unnecessary strain on your back and hindering your recovery from a fractured vertebrae.

3. Sit by Imagining Balancing a Book on Your Head

To sit down in your chair, keep your head high and imagine that you are balancing a book on your head as you lower yourself to the edge of the seat. Once you perch yourself on the edge of the seat, stay upright and slide to the back of the chair slowly.

Once you are seated, it’s very important to keep the spine neutral at all times. One excellent way to do this is to use an ergonomic back support to keep the spine tall, while keeping it relaxed at the same time. You can also use a folded towel and place it on the lumbar (lower back) area of the chair.

Similarly, standing up from a sitting position can be a challenge as it puts a huge strain on the spine. Most people have the tendency to round the spine when standing from a chair. Therefore, it’s paramount to train your muscles to stand up from a sitting position with your head held high to minimize spinal strain.

4. Wear a Back Brace and Apply Ice

Additionally, wearing an ergonomic back brace during the first few weeks following a fractured vertebrae can help keep your spine upright, reducing the work your muscles have to do. Not only does it help reduce the discomfort, but it ensures that your movement around the fracture is careful and fully controlled.

Another excellent home care tip is to apply an ice pack over the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes every 3 to 6 hours. It’s a good idea to do this for the first 24 to 48 hours. You can start with ice to reduce inflammation, then switch to heat after 2 days to treat muscle spasms.

5. Be Diligent With Physical Therapy

Once the fracture has healed, your trained healthcare professional will recommend exercises to strengthen the muscles that support your spine. If you want to achieve better results when recovering from a fractured vertebrae, then it’s important to follow the program given by your physical therapist diligently.

Don't sit for long periods of time. This puts more stress on the lower back than standing or walking. A great way to start is by taking a break once every 30 minutes of sitting. Set a timer to remind yourself to vary your posture, stand up, and reduce stress on your back. You can then slowly increase the time you spend walking.

PRO TIP: Some people find relief from pain by using reclining chairs with a high back and lumbar support. If you are unable to sleep at night, you can occasionally try sleeping in a reclining armchair.

Bottom Line

Learning how to sit correctly with a fractured vertebrae will help you heal and prevent re-injury in the future. While your body may have been able to tolerate bad posture habits before the injury, you need to apply new good habits so you can perform day-to-day activities like you used to, after the spine fracture.

Start by investing in the right chair, practicing the proper methods for sitting, and maintaining correct posture throughout your day. Additionally, you can also use ergonomic cushions or wear a back brace for additional support. If the pain continues, talk to your healthcare provider about other ways to manage your pain.

The best way to sleep with a compression fracture

Manage pain during sleep:

. 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.

How to Get Out of Bed with a Compression Fracture

Tips for Getting Out of Bed with a Compression Fracture

One of the most important aspects of healing from a compression fracture is preventing re-injury. If you have surgery, you should always follow any instructions given by your surgeon and avoid any lifting or exercise for at least several weeks.

With surgery for a compression fracture, you will not be able to twist or bend your back for as much as 6 weeks following the surgery. That means that you will have to change the way that you do a lot of your normal activities of daily life, such as getting out of bed. Your surgeon may prescribe physical therapy to help you learn the correct and safe way to move throughout your day, so be sure to keep all of your physical therapy appointments and perform the recommended activities and exercises they ask you to do as well.

Anytime you move, remember that the goal is to keep the spine as straight and lengthened as possible, to avoid placing unnecessary strain on the back. It’s important that you always sit up as tall as you can so you don’t put additional pressure on the spine and that you do NOT bend over to get out of bed.

Instead, you should always follow your provider’s recommendations and use the following tips for getting out of bed with a compression fracture:

. Keep your body as straight as possible anytime you’re moving in bed.

. Prepare to get out of bed by positioning your body as close to the side of the bed as you can.

. Push your body up off of the bed with your arms while keeping your back straight, so you come up to a sitting position on the side of your bed.

. At the same time, lower your legs over the side of the bed while keeping your back straight.

. Continue to lower your legs until your feet hit the floor, while remaining upright.

. If you use a walker, keep your chest and head up as you use the walker to stand.

. If you don’t use a walker, place a chair next to your bed to help you steady yourself as you stand up.

To get into bed, you’ll again want to try to keep your back as straight as possible, so you will lower yourself onto your side, using your arms for support. When turning, always move your head first, then your shoulders and hips at the same time (think of them as one unit working together) to avoid twisting your back.

10 common questions about Spinal Compression Fractures treatment

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 long does it take for a compression fracture to heal?
8 to 10 weeks 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. Fractures due to osteoporosis often become less painful with rest and pain medicines
3Is walking good for a 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
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 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.
6Is 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.
7How do I get pain relief from a compression fracture?
The majority of fractures heal with pain medication, reduction in activity, medications to stabilize bone density, and a good back brace to minimize motion during the healing process. Most people return to their everyday activities. Some may need further treatment, such as surgery.
8How 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
9Is a compression fracture a broken back?
Two examples are compression fractures and axial burst fractures. A compression fracture occurs when the front of a vertebra breaks and loses a little of its height, but the back of that vertebra remains intact. Symptoms include pain in the back and sometimes in the arms or legs
10Can 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.


  1. Kyte. H says:

    My injury is a week ago. Too late for ice?

    • Iranian Surgery Adviser says:

      Hello. As you did not mention how your injury happened and how severe it is these are some general information that might help you. First, yes, it’s too late for ice. Second, the most common cause of a compression fracture is excruciating falls from a height. A serious injury in a car accident or other accident can also lead to a broken back and spine. If you have a compression fracture in your spine, there are several main goals you should persue in your treatment: your pain should go away, the fracture should heal, and the osteoporosis that weakens your bones and, as a result, breaks them down, should be treated. In compression fracture chances are that you will not need surgery. Most patients can be treated without one. Compression fracture usually heal on their own in about three months. Whether you have surgery or not, you will usually need a brace or medical belt for 8 to 12 weeks. After this period, you should do physiotherapy treatment for six weeks. You can often reduce your pain by taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

  2. Da’Lesae says:

    I’m suffering from a L3 and L4 compression fracture, torn left rotator cuff, and bruised ribs on my right side from a MVC. The injury has caused numbness and weakness of my left upper arm, making it a bit more difficult to get comfortable. I was given a cortisone injection by my dr to get me through week two as I wait for an appointment with a neurologist.

    • Iranian Surgery Adviser says:

      Hello. Your situation is complex and can not be analyzed within a comment. We need scans and full history, please contact our consultants via WhatsApp to help you in a better way.

  3. Sindi says:

    Hie I was involved in a car accident in 2015 I was diagnosed with a L1 fructure I was advised to wear a brace for 2 weeks and bed rest and that the pain would go away .. The pain has gotten worse and on my last X ray in 2020 I was told I have osteriolosis.. The pain is so severe that I’m not sure what to do… I cannot seat for too long, walk for too long, sleep for too long or do any house chores without having pain… Please advise what could be making it worse

    • Iranian Surgery Adviser says:

      Dear Sindi

      This matter can not be seen into online, you should be visited by a Specialist.

      Thank you For your E-mail
      Iranian Surgery Admission Department of International Patients (ISADIP)

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