Pain Management Q&A by Dr. Helm

What treatment options are there for fracture of the spine due to osteoporosis besides morphine patches?

Answer:

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.

Thank you for your question.


Last Editorial Review: 1/2/2007