Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Upper Spine FAQ

Question:

My father fell and broke his back. The doctor called it a "minor compression fracture." We notice when he is lying down in bed, he looks straight. When he sits or stands, he's slumped forward. Should he be wearing a brace?

Answer:

Doctors don't agree on the use of braces after vertebral compression fractures. There aren't enough studies to clear up this debate. Some studies show activity is just as helpful as bracing after this type of fracture.

Some doctors use the patient's symptoms as a guideline. If the patient can sit comfortably and without pain and has reasonable control over his or her upper body, then bracing may not be needed.

A recent study suggests taking an X-ray sitting or standing. This will show any worsening of the fracture with weight-bearing. Most X-rays are taken lying down. If there is further collapse of the bone in the upright position, surgery may be needed.

J. S. Mehta, MCh (Orth), et al. Weight-Bearing Radiographs in Thoracolumbar Fractures: Do They Influence Management? In Spine. March 1, 2004. Vol. 29. No. 5. Pp. 564-567.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.

Our Specialties

Where Does It Hurt?

Our Locations

  Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on YouTube
Follow us on Twitter