Spinal Compression Fracture

OPA treats a wide variety of back conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions.

What is Spinal Compression Fracture?

Thirty-three vertebrae perfectly align to form the spine—a bony structure that supports the body and protects the spinal cord. Spinal compression fractures have two common causes:

  • A traumatic spinal compression fracture occurs when one or more of the vertebrae are broken during an accident or injury.
  • Spinal compression fractures are tiny fractures that are caused by the bone disease osteoporosis.

Spine compression fractures should be examined by one of our Orthopedic Physicians Alaska Spine Team Specialists, Dr. Mark Flanum, Dr. James Eule, Dr. Curtis Mina, Dr. Gene Falkowski Jr., or Dr. Derrick Foge as soon as possible.

Common Causes:

Spinal compression fractures can be hard to diagnose by yourself and are easily misdiagnosed as sprain or strain. OPA’s Spine Team Specialist will take special precautions to ensure compression fractures are properly diagnosed.

Symptoms may include:

    • Sudden spine pain associated with an accident or injury
    • Difficulty moving the spine or extremities
    • Stiffness, weakness, numbnes

When diagnosing a spinal compression fracture, The OPA Spine Team:

    • Obtain a complete medical history
    • Perform a physical examination
    • Order and analyze X-rays, MRI, CT scan and/or nuclear bone scan
    • Identify compression fracture risk factors

Once an official diagnosis is made, a customized treatment plan is prescribed. Treatment plans decrease your symptoms to help you live an active lifestyle.

Common Treatments:

Nonsurgical treatment options treat nondisplaced spine fractures and compression fractures:

Our skilled team of Spine Specialists will utilize conservative methods which include:


A removable back brace.

Oral medications decrease nerve inflammation and pain.
Physical Therapy
One of OPA’s onsite physical therapist prescribes and monitors strengthening and stretching exercises.

Displaced spinal compression fractures may require minimally invasive surgical intervention:

    • Vertebroplasty. High viscosity cement is injected into the fracture. The fracture stabilizes when cement settles.
    • Kyphoplasty. A tiny balloon is inserted into the fracture and inflated. The fracture stabilizes and vertebral height is restored.

Our Spine Team

The OPA team includes Alaska’s leading spine specialists and offers some of the latest, most advanced spinal compression fracture treatment procedures available today.

OPA treats a wide variety of back, neck, and spine conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions.

All treatments work to restore pain-free spine function that allows patients to lead active, fulfilling lives, be it walking pain-free or getting back into athletic action.

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