Doctors and therapists treating the thoracic spine (middle of the back) have some special challenges. The anatomy of the thoracic spine is different from the cervical spine (neck) and the lumbar spine (low back). The bones of the thoracic spine are the transition units from cervical to lumbar spine.
Sports-related aches and pains are more and more common. With 30 million children involved in sports activities, the risk for overuse injuries increases. In this case report, physical therapists describe the case of a 16-year old soccer player with mid-back and rib pain.
My father has a compression fracture in the middle of his back. His doctor has suggested doing a kyphoplasty but Dad is putting it off. If he waits too long, will it be too late?Posted September 21st, 2006 by Matt
There is some concern that the compressed and fractured bone will result in more load being transferred to the adjacent bones. In patients who are osteoporotic, this could create enough force to cause further fractures.
Patients often assume an increased flexed or stooped position after vertebral compression fractures. This posture seems to help reduce their pain. However, a kyphotic (stooped) posture puts additional strain on already weakened bone.
My mother fell this week and started having severe back pain about three days later. X-rays showed two rib fractures and a vertebral compression fracture. She can hardly get out of bed because of the pain. She's 86-years old. Can anything be done to help her?Posted September 21st, 2006 by Matt
Pain relief is the first goal of treatment. She may be helped by medications for this. If her general health is good, she may alsobe a candidate for a procedure called balloon kyphoplasty.
In this study results of kyphoplasty for patients with vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) are reported from 19 treatment centers. It is the first multicenter study to report short and long-term effects of this procedure for osteoporotic fractures in older adults.
My 82-year old grandmother has osteoporosis in all her bones. Her spine is especially prone to fracture. She's in so much pain, all she wants to do is lie down and not move. Will rest help?Posted August 31st, 2006 by Matt
Bed rest is often the only thing that helps relieve chronic back pain. However, it's not a very good idea because of all the other effects of inactivity. Activity is needed to keep the blood circulating and to prevent more bone loss caused by inactivity.
There's also an increased risk of fracture, pressure sores, blood clots, and many other problems with inactivity.
My father is going to have a vertebroplasty for a compression fracture in his spine. We've been told the main complication is leakage of the cement. What kind of problems does cement leakage cause?Posted August 31st, 2006 by Matt
Even small amounts of cement leakage can pose significant problems. Some patients have a toxic or allergic reaction that can be very serious. If the cement gets into the veins and blood supply, blood clots to the lungs can occur. The cardiovascular system can become compromised.
My husband is of Japanese origin but has lived in the United States his whole life. He was recently diagnosed with a condition called ossification of the ligamentum flavum or OLF. The doctor says this is more common among Asian people, including the Japanese. He has three levels that are involved. Can we assume that the more areas affected, the worse his symptoms will become?Posted August 31st, 2006 by Matt
OLF is indeed a condition more common amoung people of East Asian origins. It is fairly rare but seems to be on the rise. OLF is a thickening and hardening of the ligament that goes between the lamina of the vertebral bones. The lamina form a bony ring around the spinal cord to protect it.
My elderly mother-in-law is Asian and just diagnosed with OLF. The doctor tells me this is fairly common among older adults from Japan or East Asia. What can you tell me about it?Posted August 31st, 2006 by Matt
OLF stands for ossification of the ligamentum flavum or OLF. The ligamentum flavum is a continuous band of ligamentous tissue along the backside of the spinal canal. It connects the lamina of the vertebra in a vertical fashion. The lamina is the bone that forms the ring around the spinal cord.
In this review, doctors from the University of South Florida School of Medicine look over the results of 10 years worth of studies. The topic is the results of surgery for patients with thoracic ossification of the ligamentum flavum (OLF). They hoped to find a way to predict results of the surgery.