Any type of spinal cord injury can have a significant impact on your day-to-day life, especially a compression fracture. A spinal compression fracture is caused when a vertebral bone in your spine decreases between 15 and 20 percent in height due to the fracture. These types of fractures can happen anywhere in your spine. They are often painful, but most compression fractures heal themselves within three months. So before back surgery is even suggested, your doctor may advise you to try some of these alternative recovery options. 

Wear a Back Brace

A back brace works to heal spinal compression fractures in the same way that a cast works to heal a broken leg or arm. The frame of the back brace limits the amount of movement in the injured area, as well as takes any unnecessary pressure off of the bone. This helps your back heal faster and makes the process a little bit less painful.

Decrease Activity and Increase Rest

Depending on the severity of your fracture, your doctor may recommend bed rest for a short period of time. However, don't expect to be off your feet for a long period of time. While you don't want to overdo it during your recovery, you also don't want to lay around too much because too little activity can weaken your bones even more. So don't be surprised if your doctor wants you up and moving within a few days. You should be able to ease yourself back into your normal routine with some decreased activity. You should avoid heavy exercise and lifting completely until you have the okay from your doctor.

Practice Physical Therapy and Exercise

As you begin to heal, you should ask your doctor if physical therapy sessions or specific types of exercise will help you heal faster. A physical therapist will help you complete simple stretching exercises to strengthen your back muscles, which can help prevent future compression fractures from occurring after you've fully healed. Typically, weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, yoga, and dancing, will help you strengthen your back. Tai chi is also a good option for people recovering from a spinal compression fracture because it strengthens your bones and improves your balance, which could prevent fracture-causing falls.

Spinal compression fractures are serious, but it's important to remember that the fracture will most likely heal on its own in time. Simply follow your doctor's instructions during the recovery process, make sure you're getting enough rest, and talk to your doctor about managing your pain while you heal. If you'd like more information, check out sites like