Need help with pain control for compression fracture. -

Need help with pain control for compression fracture.


Forgive me if this has been addressed before. My 88-year-old mom recently experienced a compression fracture in her thoracic spine, which was brought on by osteoporosis. She was seen in the hospital ER Annex and was given Tramedol and Lidocaine 4% patch. Regardless, she is in incredible pain. She has an appointment with a neurosurgeon in 2 days, but I honestly don't know if she can make it. I called & left a message for her primary care physician to update & asked for any ideas about pain control. In the meantime, any suggestions out there for what else I can do? She had to be taken by stretcher yesterday to even get to the ED.

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This is going to sound simplistic, but I also have a thoracic compression fracture and had some severe back pain until my caregiving days were past. The pain resolved itself and only occurs occasionally now, if I'm completely ignorant of proper posture. When it does return, I use a heating pad, music, and a good book.

I admit though that I'm partial to homeopathic remedies and only once have taken stronger medicine, when a feisty, resistant tree broke my jaw.
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Reply to GardenArtist

Ahmijoy et al: I realize that diagnosis is not appropriate here; however the ideas shared by those who have been through this or know someone who has, are greatly appreciated. I ended up taking her back to the ED & she was admitted from there. She was quite "squirrelly" & still in pain. After 3 days, to inpatient rehab. which helped her a great deal. Has been referred to Pain Mgmt. Hoping her pain can be controlled. Keeping my fingers crossed! I appreciate your thoughts & ideas!
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Reply to nature73

My mother had a compression fracture. She was not a candidate for the glue or even a brace which we were told would help. If she lay perfectly still it did not hurt. Not her choice.
The lidocaine patches and Tylenol were what helped the most after therapy. She had to take the stronger pain pills in order to manage the pt. Ice and heat helped. Her therapist told her Ice didn’t help everyone but it did her.
Muscle relaxers are also helpful for some.
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Reply to 97yroldmom

My mom has had multiple compression fractures which have resulted in stays in rehab

The pain was quite bad - she chose not to do the cement injection

Heating pads help now and she gets by on just Tylenol but needed narcotics when in rehab
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Reply to MsMadge

I have a myriad of lower back problems. Spinal stenosis, adult scoliosis (I was treated after I was born with spinal irregularities, as a toddler), a compression fracture from a fall, compressed nerves...the wait to even see a doctor for back problems is outrageous! There is NO pain management, to give someone Ultram for the excruciating pain is cruel.

I agree with caretaker13 first, when the back ‘collapses’ and all those nerves are compressed NOTHING alleviates the pain completely but a narcotic is needed, along with a muscle relaxants take the edge off. A warm heating pad helps. But it’s Hell, my sincere sympathy to your mom.

It’s best to see a neurosurgeon, their expertise is needed. I’ve had my back in this bad shape for 5 years. I got a second opinion concerning surgery. I decided the problem was too complicated, my emotional and physical health are not up to surgeries.

There are many theoretical pain relievers that will be offered. For me, after the pain had simmered down some and I was able, I had physical therapy. It helps with strength and stretches help pain.

I’ve had doctors tell me NEVER allow surgeries unless it’s a mini surgery that can be done microscopically.

I wish you and mom the best. The back can heal and if you can find pain management, a tolerable situation can be found.
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Reply to HolidayEnd

I had a compression fracture of my thoracic T10... (mine was from a plasma tumor, i.e., cancer...). However, I can tell you from personal experience, it was the WORST PAIN I've ever, ever experienced. Your poor mom!! For about 4-5 weeks I was screaming out in pain when I tried to move, sit down, turn, and lying down was THE WORST... my husband would have to hold me and slooooowly help me lie down. I saw him crying by the side of my bed many nights. Anyway, for me, NOTHING helped the pain and believe me, when a person has cancer, they give you every kind of pain med, fentynal patches, and narcotics. For me, I only got some relief when I had 5 days of radiation aimed directly at the T10 to completely eradicate the tumor... and in my case, the radiation and the cancer wiped out what was left of the bone too. But it helped ease the horrible pain... to a "manageable" level. I learned all about that Kyroplasty surgery and a couple other types of surgery that can put a stabilizing substance into the thoracic vertebrae and it works I've heard very well for those with compression fractures caused by osteoporosis or accidents. (In my case, that was not an option). Oh I hope you're mom can get ANYTHING and everything she needs for some relief... because the pain of a compression fracture is terrible, awful... , like I said, the worst pain I've ever had...! Please update us when you can...
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Reply to Caretaker13

Compression fractures are so hard to treat & very painful. To take her back to the ER would probably make the pain worse with all that moving.
Try positioning pillows under the thoracic area- sort of off loading pressure on that area if she is lying flat, or position her on her side with pillows to support her back and between her knees- that will help pressure off the spine too.
My guess is she will need a narcotic pain med low dose. Ask her PCP or the neurosurgeon. I feel really sorry for her, poor thing.
Be careful with heating pads as her skin can be very sensitive to heat. I would try repositioning first.
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Reply to Shane1124

Tramadol worked well for my mom. Lidocaine patches did too. There is a procedure called kyphosty (spelling?) whereby surgical cement is injected in the spine . It seems to work for some folks.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn

Tramadol is not recommended for the elderly. It causes hallucinations. Lidocaine patches didn't work for my bulging disc. You Mom needs to see her PCP. She may need pain management. See if moist heat helps. I was given steroids to help with inflammation.
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Reply to JoAnn29

Nature, remember that even if we were medical professionals on this site, without knowing your mom’s history and doing a hands-on exam, it would be unethical for us to even try to diagnose what’s wrong. And there is nothing we could do from a website to ease her pain. I feel your helplessness. But we shouldn’t even suggest anything to do for her as it could, God Forbid, cause additional pain if it went awry. If I were you, I would take her back to the ER. She needs to be monitored. Her PC will probably suggest the same thing.
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Reply to Ahmijoy