How Do You Treat a Spine Fracture from Osteoporosis?

  • Medical Author:
    Standiford Helm II, MD

    Dr. Helm has been practicing interventional pain management since 1982. Dr. Helm is a diplomate of the American Board of Anesthesiology with subspecialty certification in Pain Medicine and of the American Board of Pain Medicine. Dr. Helm is a Fellow of Interventional Pain Practice (FIPP), the only certifying agency which tests the ability to perform interventional pain procedures. Dr. Helm is also an examiner for FIPP.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Ask the experts

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

Doctor's response

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.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


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Reviewed on 9/15/2017