Ask the specialist: Vertebral compression fractures

Did you know that up to 40 percent of women over age 80 suffer from a fracture in the bone of the spine?  These are called vertebral compression fractures.  Join Dr. Jeffrey Loh, pain management physician and medical director of Queen’s Pain Management Program at The Queen’s Medical Center, explains what that is.

“A vertebral compression fracture is a fracture in the bone of the spine. It occurs from trauma or weakening of bone, and up to 40% of women over age 80 suffer from it. It causes pain, often worsened with moving, and multiple fractures can result in a stooped and hunched posture.”

Vertebral fractures found  by doing a thorough history review and a physical exam, and X-rays. A CT scan can be used to assess the severity of fracture. An MRI is used to look for nerve damage.

Treatment options include physical therapy, bracing, stretching; medications such as opiates and anti-inflammatories for pain, and different medications to prevent further bone loss or regrow bone; epidural steroid injections; and cementing of the spinal fracture.

Dr. Loh will be giving a talk on chronic pain, along with Dr. Kyle Mitsunaga, this Wednesday, June 24.  Join them for The Queen’s Medical Center’s free Speaking of Health lecture called “How to Deal with Chronic Pain” from 6 – 7 pm at Queen’s – Punchbowl.  To register, call The Queen’s Referral Line at 691-7117 or go to www.queens.org.  For opportunities to learn more about important health issues, visit www.queensmedicalcenter.org/health-lectures.

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