Pain Management Q&A by Dr. Helm
A fracture of the spine, whether from osteoporosis, trauma or cancer, is basically a broken bone. The usual treatment for a broken bone is to stabilize it. A broken vertebral body can be stabilized either by a percutaneous (through the skin) procedure, such as a vertebroplasty, Kyphoplasty, or by open surgical procedures. An older technique, now rarely used, is to remove or sever the nerves supplying the bone; these nerves are called the gray rami communicans.
Finally, various medications for pain can be used. These would include the full range of pain medications, including over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen, aspirin and the various nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and various prescription medications, including hydrocodone, morphine preparations, and the fentanyl patch.
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Last Editorial Review: 1/2/2007