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August 17, 2010 > Back Pain - Don't Ignore It

Back Pain - Don't Ignore It

Class Covers Minimally Invasive Treatments for Spinal Compression Fractures

Typically, when thinking of a bone breaking, we imagine a sharp, sudden trauma-a fall or violent impact. But when it comes to spinal compression fractures, the process leading up to the break is often gradual, though not less serious.

On Thursday, Aug. 26, Dr. Bruce Lin, M.D., a Washington Hospital Medical Staff interventional radiologist specializing in a range of minimally invasive treatment options, will present a free Lunch and Learn seminar at the Washington Women's Center, which will cover the latest procedures to treat spinal compression fractures, resulting in immediate pain reduction and less recovery time.

Ladies, protect your bone health

A spinal compression fracture occurs when the bones of the spine, called vertebrae, collapse, which causes pain and reduced mobility. And while compression fractures can be caused by physical trauma, most are a result of a silent deterioration that affects twice as many women as men: osteoporosis.

"Osteoporosis is one of the major causes of compression fractures," according to Washington Women's Center Coordinator Kathy Hesser, R.N. "In the talk we're doing, it's mostly focused on fractures due to osteoporosis since women experience osteoporosis at a 2:1 ratio to men. And a majority of these non-traumatic lumbar fractures are osteoporosis related.

"The problem with the spinal compression fracture is it's really painful and debilitating. On a pain scale, most people will say they're at an eight out of 10 and they'll just want to lie down to avoid the pain."

But this only makes things worse, Hesser says.

"Staying in bed because of a compression fracture starts a vicious cycle of immobility and pain."

Minimally invasive solutions

The good news, Hesser points out, is that the minimally invasive treatment options Dr. Lin will discuss can make a radical difference in quality of life.

"In terms of pain, these new minimally invasive procedures are shown to reduce pain from an eight or nine to a two to three," she says. "It is a great release of pain and a great way to stay away from bed rest.

"During the talk, Dr. Lin will explain the procedure, what it entails, as well as the risks and benefits."

Hesser says Dr. Lin will also help patients answer questions like:
* How do I discuss this with my doctor?
* What is the risk and benefit of treatment for me?
* What does my bone scan mean?
* What is my risk for a fracture?'

All women past childbearing age can benefit from learning about the latest in treatment for spinal compression fractures, because technology and medical wisdom change rapidly.

"There have been significant advancements in the treatment of compression fractures," she says. "These new procedures give an immediate relief of pain and can decrease the immobility associated with the healing process from traditional surgery, in addition to reducing the problems that go along with immobility."

Learn more

To learn about minimally invasive procedures for spinal compression fractures associated with osteoporosis, stop by the Washington Women's Center Conference Room from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26, for the free Lunch and Learn seminar.

To register for a class, call (800) 963-7070.

For more information about Washington Women's Center programs and services, visit or call (510) 608-1301.

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