John M. Mathis, MD, chairman of the radiology group at Lewis-Gale Medical Center in Salem, Va., points out that this technique may be better suited for more severely ill patients who have suffered loss in height. He recommends that the procedure be done as soon after the break as possible, since the bone is more adaptable during this period.
People with osteoporosis may break vertebrae following a minor event such as coughing, rolling in bed, or simply "making a funny move." Because such occurrences don't stand out in the patient's mind, the fracture may go undiagnosed for several weeks. Mathis warns people who experience persistent pain and tenderness around the spine after a relatively minor trauma to see their doctor as soon as possible and be X-rayed. "If you do have a compression fracture, consider this as a possible therapy."