Crush fractures normally happen as a result of osteoporosis. This condition triggers the bones deteriorate and when the fragile bones cannot bear the normal body weight anymore, the bones give in, resulting in crush fracture. The outer covering of the bone is composed of solid calcium, but its interior is not as compact. The occurrence of crush fracture can happen as we grow old but this is most common on people who did not took care of their bodies while they were young. Crush fracture can also happen when the person carries weight on his back that is excessive of his body weight. Secondary fracture on other parts of the body can also happen because of the sudden force.
Crush Fracture Types
• Vertebral Crush Fractures (VCF). This kind of fracture is seen when the vertebrae or spinal column experiences inner deterioration due to the lack of sufficient calcium inside the bones. Because the bones are spongy inside, there are also spaces inside it that makes the bone susceptible to crush fracture. When such incident occurs, the inside of the bones crumble and the bone may misalign.
• Non-vertebral Crush Fractures. Crush fracture vertebra can also happen in any part of the skeletal system. Accidents such as getting run over by a truck can cause non-vertebral fractures. The occurrence of this kind of accident, however, is not common.
The X-ray is an important tool when diagnosing crush fractures. In VCF, there is the need to see the entire spinal column to check which part has been crushed and how extensive the damage has been. A significant amount of crushed bone must also be seen before treatment is recommended so a CT scan or an MRI would be used to check on the real condition of the spine. Rehabilitation or rehab is important.
Crush fracture can be caused naturally by old age because as one grows old, so does the bones. If the body is not given enough supply of calcium to strengthen the bones, the incidence of having crush bone fracture is higher. Improper posture that had probably developed earlier can also lead to crush fracture due to the uneven and misaligned flow of force on the back of the person. Tumors, trauma and hemangioma can also lead to crush fractures.
Crush Fracture Symptoms
When you have a crush fracture, you may feel one or more of the following:
• Pain at the spinal column or near the area where there is a fracture
• Misaligned bones that can lead to difficulty in walking or moving the affected area
• Bouts of discomfort
• Tender spots where the misalignment is present
Crush Fracture Treatment:
The treatment of crush fracture depends on the nature, the cause, and the severity of the fracture. Common treatments are analgesia and calcitonin. These can be used for mild to average cases where the bone fracture does not extend. There are cases wherein the crushed bone needs to be filled with bone cement to prevent further deterioration. If the inside of the bone is already severed, the outer shell may follow; hence strengthening the inside part can be the best option in preventing the entire bone from collapsing. A treatment method called balloon kyphoplasty is also available. With this method, a catheter is inserted in the collapsed region and it will be expanded to restore the collapsed area. The catheter serves as the support while bone cement is being added to reduce the case of ambulation. Studies have also shown that using the catheter during a bone cement filling session can lessen the pain.
Newly developed treatment cement called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) that responds with radiofrequency when applied to the area also treats vertebral crush fractures. With the radiofrequency application, the viscosity of bone cement that will be applied to the area can be controlled to make the application feel more natural. Because of the normalized viscosity, the injection of bone cement can only take a single step, which makes pain bearable.
Crush Fracture Recovery Time, Healing Time: The healing process may take longer than 6 weeks.
Prevention of Crush Bone Injury
Natural deterioration of the bones happens when these are not given enough nutrients to remain strong. This is why the main preventive measure recommended for crush fractures is drinking two glasses of milk everyday. It is best to start this habit early on so that the body will have stronger bones even if he grows old. Old bones need more calcium to maintain the growing weight. Specialized milk formula enriched with more calcium is available for people with old age. Early cases of osteoporosis can also be prevented with sufficient intake of calcium. A body with good sitting and standing posture maintained by exercise can also lessen the occurrences of the condition.
When to Call A Doctor
You can call a doctor as soon as you feel discomfort in the affected area. When vertebral crush fracture happens, you will experience pain when standing erect. It is best to consult a physician as soon as these signs show up so that the crushed bone can be corrected immediately. Failure to do so may lead to the worsening of the condition. Consequently, with the spinal column crushed, you might have a few inches subtracted to your normal height.