Patient Information Resources

Alpine Physical Therapy
Three Locations
In North, South, and Downtown Missoula
Missoula, MT 59804
Ph: 406-251-2323
Fax: 406-251-2999

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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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?

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.


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