Osteoporosis in the spine can cause a compression fracture that happens most commonly in the upper back. Soft and weakened bones caused by age-related osteoporosis cause these small tiny cracks that add up and cause a vertebrae to collapse, thus becoming a compression fracture. When bones become brittle and your vertebrae no longer can support you in daily living activities, such as bending to lift an item, or walking on a carpet or taking a step without tripping, your spinal bones are at risk of fracture. Persons with severe osteoarthritis can experience compression fractures with simple coughing or sneezing. As compression fractures increase, the spine’s actual shape can change your posture and you may lose several inches in height. Another group of people at risk are those with cancer which has spread to the bones.
The pain that comes from compression fractures can be worse when changing positions while in motion, but is often relieved with rest or being in a reclining position. Treatment options often include rest and limited pain medications. Your PCA physician will discuss a specific treatment plan for your pain.
Spinal Stenosis is generally a product of aging as deterioration occurs throughout the body. With spinal stenosis, your spinal canal, or area formed by your vertebrae, begins to narrow causing the space between the vertebrae to narrow. When this narrowing occurs, a tightness can pinch the nerves surrounding the spinal cord which then causes pain, numbness or a tingling in your torso, legs and arms. You also may experience balance problems.
Sometimes sitting in a chair will alleviate the pain associated with spinal stenosis. People with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis may be particularly affected by spinal stenosis. The narrowing process is slow, and if the narrowing is minimal, it’s probable that there will not be any symptoms.l A consultation with a PCA physician will determine the most appropriate treatment based on other health factors or the severity of the symptoms you are experiencing.