Compression fractures of the vertebra in the spine are often the result of osteoporosis where the usual high density and integrity of the bone is lost and the vertebra becomes soft and brittle and subject to fracture. Cancer processes can also metastasize to the vertebra causing the bone to lose its supporting integrity. In these situations, vertebral fractures can happen with falls and injuries, however, they often seem to occur without any identifiable impact or movement and they are usually extremely painful.
Balloon kyphoplasty is a procedure performed with local anesthesia and sedation where needles are inserted into the fractured vertebra and a rapid setting bone cement is injected. This often results in dramatic relief of pain and the ability to return to more normal functioning. While this procedure often relieves the pain caused by the fracture it is important to have the underlying factors contributing to bone weakening addressed also.