Physiotherapy For Stress Fractures Of The Spine

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Stress fractures occur when the body’s natural protective mechanism, called the shock absorber bone, breaks down and does not provide the necessary support to keep the vertebrae rigid and free from movement. An individual who suffers from stress fractures of the neck and/or spinal cord will experience pain, stiffness, and loss of strength in the affected vertebrae. As a result, patients may be unable to return to work or other physically strenuous activities.

The location of the vertebrae that develop a cervical fracture is not clear. Fractured vertebrae can impact any part of the body, but is more common in the neck, shoulders, and lower back. Sometimes, the location of the cervical fractures can determine the severity of the fractures. In most cases, severe fractures require surgery to rebuild the damaged vertebrae.

Chiropractic Care

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Chiropractic care is used by many people to treat their conditions, including those that develop into stress fractures. One common type of chiropractic care used to treat this condition involves the use of heat therapy, or wedge compression fracture treatments. Heat therapy can be administered through the application of a warm ice pack to the affected area. A heat energy device can also be used to reduce pain, stiffness, and loss of motion in the neck and spine.

Many people also seek chiropractic care for treatment of their lower back stress fracture symptoms. A herniated disc occurs when the nucleus pulposus or the bulge of scar tissue blocks the nerve channel. This results in weakness, tingling, and/or numbness in the affected area. The sciatic nerve can also become damaged due to stress fractures of the spine, which results in a pinched nerve. Lower back pain can also occur as a result of a spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spine. This narrowing can result in compression of the spinal nerves, which can cause severe to disabling lower back pain.

The Spinal Vertebrae

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Stress fractures occur when there is direct trauma to the spinal vertebrae. This can occur when lifting heavy objects, or by sitting down and then standing back upright after a period of inactivity. Most of these injuries result in a partial lumbar fracture. Sometimes, spinal fractures can happen when a spinal vertebra puts pressure on another vertebrae, which results in a total break through of the bone.

Treatments that involve applying heat, hydrotherapy, or ultrasound can help treat the symptoms of spinal compression fractures. Physical therapy that deals with decompression of the spine can help relieve tension and stress on the spinal bones and discs. This can be done by using exercises to increase strength and function in the muscles and surrounding tissues. These exercises can be done by a physical therapist, in a gym, or at home.

Spinal Decompression Therapy

Spinal decompression therapy is used most often in the case of lower back pain. Upper back pain can also be a symptom of a severe degenerative spinal fracture. Many people who have suffered a thoracic spine injury have found relief from spinal decompression. 

Spinal decompression can also be used for treating other upper back conditions including lumbar spinal stenosis and impingement syndrome. Thoracic stenosis refers to an abnormal curved line in the spine, while impingement syndrome refers to pressure on the nerves along the lumbar spinal column.


Physiotherapy for a compression fracture of the spine can be very helpful. If the fractured vertebra is not causing any pain or numbness in the affected area, physical therapy can be used to strengthen weak muscles, and rehabilitate the weak ones. The physiotherapist will teach the patient how to perform exercises to prevent further spinal compression and how to prevent further damage to the spinal cord. Sometimes the physiotherapist will also suggest splints to help maintain proper posture. Once the patient has been stabilized, a brace will be recommended by the physician to immobilize the injured vertebrae and to protect it from further damage.

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