The treatment of compression fractures of the thoracic spine

Compression fracture of the spine thoracic, symptoms and treatment

The mechanism of fracture is excessive axial load on the spine when bending forward.

Thus there is a wedge deformity of a vertebral body with possible damage to the shoots.

The displacement of the latter may be compression of the nerve roots and blood vessels associated with the spinal cord, or the spinal cord itself.

These injuries occur most often as a result of falling or jumping from a certain height and road traffic accidents.

Causes of fractures of the spine

The vertebrae possess great strength and able to withstand considerable mechanical loads.

Violation of the integrity occurs for the following reasons:

  1. Big load from young adults who do not have other diseases;
  2. The presence of tuberculosis or metastatic tumour, leading to destruction of the vertebral body;
  3. Osteoporosis — decrease in bone density, associated with lack of calcium in their structure.

Most often this happens:

  • in the elderly, especially women;
  • in diseases of the parathyroid glands;
  • when the intake of certain medications.

Fractures due to osteoporosis, tuberculosis and bone tumors are often asymptomatic.

Symptoms of compression fractures

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Fractures due to injury the main symptom is pain in the area of the damaged vertebra. The fracture can occur in any vertebra, but, judging by statistics, most often at 7 and 11 thoracic vertebrae. The manifestation of pain may be different. In case of damage or compression of the nerve roots there is a feeling of numbness of the skin.

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When pathologic fractures (osteoporosis, metastatic tumors) pain can often be absent altogether, or increase gradually. Symptom is the formation of a kyphotic deformation with the formation of the «hump» that is observed in the elderly. But sometimes there is an overload of appropriate segments and the development of compensatory muscle spasm, contributing to the emergence and growing pains.

Sometimes the destruction of the vertebrae is accompanied by the introduction of fragments into the spinal canal and compression of the spinal cord segments. Damage to the nerve structures is evident from such symptoms, like numbness in the hands and loss of muscle strength. But sometimes it appears gradually, which is associated with compression of blood vessels and gradual malnutrition of nerve fibers and spinal cord segments.

More accurate diagnosis is performed using radiography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance tomography to determine the presence of injury, level and extent of the damage.

First aid

The main task of others — to prevent displacement and movement of the victim and call an ambulance.

Proper transportation to the hospital is to create the conditions conducive to the prevention of displacement of the fragments.

Sick shift on hard shield so that all parts of the spine are in the same plane.


The hospital carried out the treatment in accordance with the degree of damage.

Conservative treatment includes pain medicine, the fixation of the damaged Department with a special corset and a hard bed, physiotherapy and exercise therapy.

The volume of surgical treatment also depends on the degree of damage:

  • vertebroplasty — introduction of a special cement composition into the vertebral body;
  • kyphoplasty are restoration of the physiological height of the vertebra and the introduction into its cavity of the cement;
  • rapid decompression — removal of fragments that compress the spinal cord and fixation of the vertebrae with metal.
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Gymnastics and physical therapy during fracture, rehabilitation

The compression fracture in the thoracic spine is an important method of treatment and patient’s recovery is physical therapy, which are divided into 4 periods:

  1. The first 7 — 10 days it is aimed at improving the work of all organs and systems as well as in preventing the decline in muscle strength. For this purpose, use exercises for small and medium-sized joints and muscle groups;
  2. In the second period (30 days) include exercises to improve circulation in the affected area, strengthening of muscles of trunk, pelvic and shoulder girdle. They allow you to create the muscular «corset»;
  3. 45 — 60 day included exercises with the weights, increase the load and duration of exercise;
  4. The feature of the fourth period is the gradually adding of exercises with full axial load on the spine.

Compression fracture of the thoracic spine can occur for a variety of reasons and cause different symptoms. In all cases of back pain should seek help from professionals.

The set of exercises along with a professional massage is an effective method of treatment from the first days of the disease to reduce the severity of injuries.

But in any case do not try to exercise after suffering a compression fracture of the spine without the advice of a doctor.