Compression fractures : I have several... - Bone Health

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Compression fractures

Whitch profile image
28 Replies

I have several compression fractures - but do not think I have brittle bones - but just this loss of height - causing the fractures - I have had knocks and falls that have not caused a break !! But the pain associated with the fractures is horrendous - the latest one is by far the most painful and debilitating - I cannot get in and out if bed so have been sleeping for last five nights on my recliner in the lounge but have just woken 1 am in terrible pain had fallen asleep with lights on -about 10 PM no painkillers work when the pain is so bad but have just put Biofreeze in my lower back and it helps a bit - the loss of 4 ins in height has given me a compressed stomach - lungs and all internal organs making eating a big problem as loss of appetite and small capacity cause problems - I was wondering if having some of my stomach removed would help solve the problem !!!

28 Replies
Met00 profile image

I'm so sorry to hear you're in so much pain and discomfort. Compression fractures are usually caused by osteoporosis (which is bone thinning rather than brittle bones), although there are other, much rarer causes. It's the fractures that cause the loss of height, rather than vice versa. Have you been told what has caused your fractures and are you receiving treatment?

Whitch profile image
Whitch in reply to Met00

Thank you - I was just asked if i thought i had osteoporosis by a doctor and I had no real idea of what that was - just had heard the term brittle bones - I was told I probably had it and prescribed Alendronic acid but found that did not seem to agree with me - I also read that you are often on it for 5years and then a Dexa scan to see if it was helping - but they had no way of telling if it was helping because in my area they do not do Dexa scans on people over 75 yrs !!I stopped taking it and have been offered nothing else - all that was 18 months ago also the calcium I was told to take has all ended up in my blood vessels and now I am down to see cardiologist

The doctor I saw yesterday has referred me to an Endocrinologist- but that may take some time - just so defeated but I am a very active and usually positive person

Met00 profile image
Met00 in reply to Whitch

Oh I'm so sorry, that sounds appalling to leave you in limbo like that! Why ever would a doctor as you if you think you have osteoporosis? They should be finding that out for you, although osteoporosis is the usual cause. You might find it helpful to speak to a nurse on the freephone helpline at the Royal Osteoporosis Society (08000 800 0035 - There's an alternative to Alendronic Acid, still a bisphosphonate that you take in pill form, called Risedronate, which a lot of people find suits them better than AA, so it might be worth going back to your doctor and asking to try it. Did the doctor check your Vitamin D, calcium, thyroid and parathyroid levels to look for underlying causes of your osteoporosis? We often become less efficient at making Vitamin D from the sun as we get older, meaning we end up with low Vitamin D, which then means insufficient calcium is absorbed from the diet, which in turn results in calcium being leached from the bones to maintain normal blood calcium levels. But the only way you can know is by regular Vitamin D blood tests, combined with supplementing, to get your blood level up and then keep it there. As everyone is different, it's impossible to know how much Vit D supplement any one individual will need. I was told by an orthopaedic consultant to get my blood level over 100nmol/litre and am currently taking just over 4000iu Vit D daily (doctor's usually prescribe 800iu), though I hope I may be able to reduce this slightly. A friend got her level up to 125 on just 2000iu in winter, 1000iu in summer! Along with the Vitamin D, you need to get plenty of calcium in your diet (supplementing is now usually only recommended to make up a dietary shortfall, but many doctors don't seem to be aware of this), and take Vit K2 (K2-MK7 or K2-MK4) to direct the calcium to your bones, otherwise, as you've sadly found, you can end up clogging up your arteries. Unfortunately most GPs don't seem to have heard of Vit K2, but there's a fair bit of research that supports this. See, for example, I suggest you make a list of questions, speak an ROS nurse first (everyone says how helpful they are), then go back to your GP with your questions about underlying causes and other treatment options. Good luck!

Whitch profile image
Whitch in reply to Met00

Thank you will look into Vit K that you recommended- my doctor told me that he cannot give me an alternative to Alendronic Acid only a specialist can do that and that is one of the reasons he has referred me to an Endocrinologist!!

Met00 profile image
Met00 in reply to Whitch

Are you in the UK?

in reply to Whitch

My GP prescribed Risedronate to me after suffering over AA. I found it equally unpleasant so my Rheumatologist suggested Zoledronate which is an infusion and is given at the hospital clinic.

Whitch profile image
Whitch in reply to

Thank you for your reply - I am hoping that when i see the specialist I will get some sort of treatment - but i think it is too late for me now - they cannot reverse the damage already done

in reply to Whitch

No, but they must make sure you have no more damage. I have spinal fractures too but I still have treatment to make sure no more happens.

karmel profile image
karmel in reply to Whitch

I had an allergic reaction to AA and the gp prescribed Risedronate for me, without my being referred to a specialist. I had lost 2" in height which made me think I that I had op. I don't know whether I have had any silent fractures, compression fractures - and I understand you only know after a dexa scan. Gp didn't tell me after she looked at my Bone Density Report but said that people do loose height when they get older.

I was reading on another site that op is classified by hospitals as being a relatively new disease because people didn't get old enough to get op and so there is not a specific op department. I always thought, before I got op, that you had to be in your 80s or 90s to have op.

Whitch profile image
Whitch in reply to karmel

It is not true that you only know about compression fractures after a Dexa scan - in the last few months I have had three compression fractures and I can assure you - you definitely know by the amount of pain you get !!! A deep breath - a cough - a sneeze tells you by the unbearable pain -last year I had three in my rib area and they were bearable pain - but the ones I have had recently - showing on an X-ray which I have just had the third one - I have them at the cottage hospital who send them to the main hospital - but they will tell me what they think before getting it officially confirmed but I know anyway - X-rays are only done for my records - there is no treatment -only painkillers - which are not helping

karmel profile image
karmel in reply to Whitch

Thank you for letting me know that Whitch. I have obviously got silent and compression fractures mixed up. Even after being diagnosed with op four months ago I am still finding out about this condition.

Sunseaandsand profile image
Sunseaandsand in reply to Whitch

Hi, I now have 5 compression fractures in the spine and I knew about each and everyone of them!!!

The last one was the worst of them all and along with 2 others a month apart in 2017 has made me in the main immobile.

I am on Oxycodone now and have managed with the help of nurses to get down onto a much lower dose.

I agree with Posy white you do need to get your pain under control, you do not need to stay on it long term but it will help your body to rest while the fractures heal.

For my other fractures I had the Buprenorphine patches these were also really effective at controlling the Acute pain.

These can only be prescribed by a doctor so perhaps you should make an emergency appointment.

As for the issues with your stomach, I have thought strongly about wrighting a post regarding these issues.

Losing height which results in shortening of the spine compresses everything down.

My stomach is huge but I am of very slim build, clothes don't fit, I feel full all the time and bloated. On top of all this my biggest bug to bear is the pain of my bottom ribs digging into my gut.

I have and do shed many tears over this, I have had to give most of my wardrobe to charity as I can no longer fasten anything, high waisted jeans and trousers come right under my bust, t shirts gape at the neck, and as for my shoes well anything with heels have gone too.

When younger I was a model and carried myself well up in till the fractures began.

Having said this though I would not contemplate any kind of surgery.

All surgery carries risks and I would not take them and undergo surgery for something like this.

I am finding new ways each day to adapt to this new way of life.

It's far from easy I am having counselling for support and a very understanding family.

You need support from others and your GP is the starting point.

Good luck and hope you begin to feel better soon.

walk21 profile image
walk21 in reply to Whitch

It is important that you take vitamin K2. Vitamin K is quite different, to do with stopping bleeding.

Whitch profile image
Whitch in reply to walk21

Thank you I am looking seriously into the things I am taking - I have stopped the calcium as it bad for my blood vessels but feel I do eat a lot of the right things to get some naturally but inhavecread that K2 does help to make sure it goes to the right place x

ratoncita profile image
ratoncita in reply to Whitch

I have osteoporosis and a compression fracture in my lower spine. It does cause some discomfort. I'm taking supplements, weight bearing exercise like walking and yoga.

Kathleen22 profile image

Oh that is awful. I am sorry for you. I am at risk of the same thing as I have scoliosis, collapsed disk at the bottom, top near the neck is a bother as well. I do have pain if I try to do much. In the recliner it is bearable which is good. When I had a shower today it was a big effort. I have not lost as much height as you, only a fraction of that actually.

How tall are you?

Having part of your stomach removed seems drastic, is anyone suggesting that?

Take vitamin K2 to keep the calcium in your bones. Yoghurt is good too. Diet should be lots of veggies and fruit. Check your magnesium levels and vitamin D3 as well in your blood tests. I top up the magnesium anyway but not a lot.

Sending hugs your way....

Whitch profile image
Whitch in reply to Kathleen22

Thank you for your reply - no one has suggested that removing part of my stomach is possible - but they do it for overweight people so why not for me - I just feel it would making sense - I had thought from early on in this journey that I should have been offered some sort of back brace early on so that my back had some support - if I had been helped earlier on this may not have progressed so rapidly - my new doctor suggested I should have continued Alendronic Acid - but that would have been only nine months ago so would it really have been any help - if so why do they recommend being on it for 5 years and they say it is irreversible and it can only stop it getting worse - I have days when I give in to it - yesterday I was very busy sorting out my spare room (or junk room ) so that I can get to the single bed which is a riser bed- and never used -I will try that but I think I will still have a problem - the chair has arms I can push down on to get up !!!

I do find that this condition is making me a bit selfish !! And I think people get bored with me going on about it - but my great granddaughters laugh at my getting shorter and one says her son is now taller than me- that upsets me xx

AnnieW55 profile image
AnnieW55 in reply to Whitch

If this has come on quickly perhaps there is an underlying condition that could be checked for - parathyroid (different to thyroid) problems. At the very least you should have blood tests to check calcium and d3 levels. Have you had no tests at all? HeronNS has some good posts about this and lots of useful advice.

As for removing some of your stomach, it is a big operation and would affect your body’s ability to process nutrients, which may already be one of your problems. I don’t think it is a big enough organ to make a difference either, especially if you are not a big eater.

I know you have been referred to a specialist but I would do some research - ring the osteo nurses on here (I’ll amend my post if I find the number which is on this site somewhere) if you are in the UK it’s free for advice.

08088000035 This is the number I found in the supporting community, top right of the page.

Whitch profile image
Whitch in reply to AnnieW55

I have had blood tests and have a copy of the results - I have too much calcium in my blood and am being referred to a cardiologist -!! In 2012 I had angina and cardiologist saw me arranged for stents - I went 4 weeks after diagnosis and was told that it had got worse and he may not be possible to get stents in - surgeon was very pleased with his handiwork as he said he had put 3 stents in a main blood vessel - and saved a bigger operation - I have had no problems since - now because I have been taking Calceous for the Osteo - but it is going straight to my blood - doctors do not treat the whole person but just one part at a time - without looking at history !!!

Posy-White profile image

Hello Whitch

Very sorry to hear your news - lots of forum peers have offered lots of good ideas.

I have had such fractures, can I suggest that you get some really good pain management first..... then you can sleep, think and start to funtion..... been there it's hell, but you can get through this.

The only pain management which worked for me is Butec patches started on 5 micrograms/hour transdermal patches –weekly patches – The patch changed weekly - then moved to 10 micrograms/hour which really helped pain level 6-7 out of 10, I am now back on 5 micrograms. Before I got to the patches I had 8 weeks of being prescribed different things to try, at times didn't even feel well enough to speak to the GP on the phone I had the support of family to help me through. Do get the pain manageble, with a short and long term plan (ie you are not asking to stay on the heavy stuff for ever but may need it now!)

Good Luck

Posy White

Kaarina profile image

Hi Whitch

You say " I was wondering if having some of my stomach removed would help solve the problem !!!"

I do not think this would help, because one's body changes shape when one looses height because all the internal organs are having to fight for space.

I have lost 5" in height due to scoliosis which has got worse as I have got older. I am now about 5' 3 " I do not suffer with eating problems, thank goodness and am not really in a pain. Regarding my last Dexa scan in April 2018, my spinal score is no longer calculatable due to my spinal deformity having got worse. They took the result from my hips. I have an old L2 wedge fracture but no new fractures. I shall have another Dexa in April 2020. I take vitamins and supplements and exercise, mainly walking and hula hooping. I take no OP drug. I used to take strontium ranelate until it was taken off the market. When it was re introduced I was told no consultants in my county will prescribe this to patients now.

Whitch profile image
Whitch in reply to Kaarina

I cannot eat more than few mouthfuls -very small ones and I feel very full - I just do not have the capacity to eat enough which is not good for my mobility as I cannot function well without the fuel needed for that !!! So taking away some of my useless stomach - and allowing me to eat properly and getting the fuel I need seems sensible - people who cannot control their appetite are given this treatment - so why not me !!!

Kaarina profile image
Kaarina in reply to Whitch

Have you asked any medics the question you have? As you feel quite strongly about this you can give them your reasons for wanting this and they can only say yes or no or may be. If the reply is no then you will be able to discuss the reasons why not. I suppose it is best to know one way or the other rather than dwell on it.

Culloden profile image

Try Bruffen , Panadol and Oxycontin regards Peter

Whitch profile image

For my latest compression fracture a different doctor has said take Co-Codamol and as I was not going to drive last night I did they were very good - I think that different painkillers work for different people !!

walk21 profile image
walk21 in reply to Whitch

When I had compression fractures I took cocodamol, four times a day, and nurofen with my lunch since nothing worked for six hours. I also used a TENS machine which helped, and hot water bottle or cold on the pain can help too. It does go after weeks or months, and now I just take the occasional paracetamol. The pharmacist did not want me to take nurofen as I also have acid reflux - due to loss of height. I said it was my pain and my stomach, and only once a day was a risk I wanted to take. I still tremble when I think of that pain. You do need to find some treatment, and to have further investigations as to why you have high blood calcium. Now I have to eat small meals and not eat in the evening so stomach is empty at bed time.

Whitch profile image

I was told this week by a different doctor than the ones I have seen in the last year that Co- Codamol is the best for this sort of pain and it is good but if I cough - sneeze or even just taking a deep breath brings on a very sharp stabbing pain which gets past any painkiller I have tried !!but with the experience of the last one I had it does get easier after about 3 weeks and becomes much easier to bear - incidentally I tried my tens machine a couple of days ago and it made the pain worse !!! I have now tried the cream ice spray and cream and that does seem to help -

The blood calcium is indicative of a circulation problem - I did have heart stents put in 10 years ago - and it did show then that other arteries were furring up - but when I took the calcium I did not get told that K2 would help the calcium go to the bones

marvalusxoxo profile image

Wow! All you described sounds horrendous. I am honestly so sorry you are going thr this. Have you seen your doctor about all these? Just wondering

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