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Muscle Pain Clinic

Myofascial pain is pain coming from the body's soft tissues and muscles. The symptoms are those of localised pain, and stiffness, with specific tender areas known as Trigger... Read more.


Vertebroplasty Treatment for Osteoporotic Spinal Fractures

What is an osteoporotic vertebral fracture?

Osteoporosis is the medical term for thinning bones and commonly occurs with ageing. The condition is more common in women than men. It is a silent condition that can be present for years and only declares itself when a bone is broken, when pain becomes severe. Fractures can occur in the bones of the spine (vertebrae), as well as in the hip and elsewhere. When a fracture occurs in a vertebra this is known as a 'crush' or compression fracture as the vertebra wedges forward. Apart from being very painful you may notice that your body has suddenly changed shape with loss of height and increased prominence of the abdomen. The pain from vertebral fractures is often severe. It can settle of its own accord over several weeks, but can also persist for many months or longer.

How it is usually treated?

Usually patients are given medication for pain relief and to improve bone density, and told to rest.

The New Treatment.

A new treatment for persistent pain after osteoporotic crush fractures has been developed. This involves injecting a small volume (1-3ml, about a teaspoon) of bone cement into the fractured vertebra via a needle introduced through the skin under X-ray control. This can be done under sedation or general anaesthetic if you chose. The technique has been around for about 10 years for treatment of bone cancer but has more recently been used for vertebral compression fractures due to osteoporosis.

What do I have to do?

There are no restrictions on your activity after this treatment. All patients will be asked to continue on their existing osteoporosis medications throughout.

What are the possible benefits of vertebroplasty?

This new technique offers the possibility of better pain relief from vertebral fractures due to osteoporosis, compared to existing therapies. It may also enable you to reduce or stop pain relief medications.

What are the possible risks of vertebroplasty?

Vertebroplasty involves injection of small amounts of bone cement into the fracture. The bone cement is initially liquid but rapidly hardens after injection. The primary risk is if bone cement leaves the bone in its liquid form and enters the spinal canal that carries the nerves to the legs. This could cause leg pain and possibly weakness, and even paralysis. This complication appears to be very rare. We make every effort to make sure this does not occur by careful injection under X-ray guidance. In the very unlikely event this complication did occur, you may require a scan of your back and possibly removal of the cement by surgery, which would be expected to resolve the complication. There is a small risk of cement leakge into the adjacent intervertebral disc or veins.This complication appears to be without consequnce as long as small volumes of cement are used. Otherwise, vertebroplasty appears to be relatively simple and safe technique. 

Epidural Injection

Epidural and Nerve Root blocks are used in your treatment to alleviate pain which is spinal in origin. The injections are used to deliver steroids and local anaesthetic into the epidural space... Read more.


Osteoporosis is the medical term for thinning bones and commonly occurs with ageing. The condition is more common in women than men. It is a silent condition that... Read more.