How Balloon Kyphoplasty Gave Me My Life Again After My Vertebral Compression Fracture
I’ve worked as a house and pet sitter for a long time and I’m good at my job. When the dog I was walking fell after another dog, I didn’t want to let go of the leash. Instead, I fell flat on my face – and felt something burst in my back. It was a vertebral compression fracture (VCF), although I didn’t know it at the time. I also didn’t know how quickly my quality of life would deteriorate due to my injury.
There were many days after my fracture that I thought I could never get up. But then I had balloon kyphoplasty – a minimally invasive treatment for VCFs due to osteoporosis – and now I have my life back. Thanks to this simple outpatient procedure, I was no longer weakened by pain, but practically painless.
I have arthritis so I had dealt with back pain before. What I felt after my fall was different. I took an x-ray, but the doctor didn’t see anything wrong. So, with the help of medication and a back brace, I got back to work. I was hoping the pain would go away on its own, but instead it got much, much worse. At that point, I knew something was seriously wrong.
For me it went downhill very quickly. I had to quit my beloved job because I was in too much pain to work, even with medication. Before I knew it, I was bedridden. I had to hold on to the walls to drag myself to the bathroom and back. The pain was unbearable.
After further medical appointments and an MRI, I was diagnosed with VCF. I finally understood why I was in such great pain, although there didn’t seem to be much I could do about it.
The doctors I saw insisted that after a while my back would heal on its own. They said I should rest and wait. I gave it a month but the pain got worse than better. I said to myself, “I can’t live like this.” But I couldn’t bear to lie in bed doing nothing either. So I did some research and came across the balloon kyphoplasty procedure. Immediately I thought, “Why didn’t anyone tell me this was an option?”
I found a provider near me who could perform the procedure and make an appointment. Knowing how well most medical facilities are equipped to take precautions around COVID-19, I felt very safe.
I moved in and out in a single afternoon and, to my great surprise, the only pain I felt when they put the IV on. I didn’t even feel uncomfortable on the way home. In fact, I could probably have driven myself (although I was grateful for a friend’s company).
For the first day or two after my kyphoplasty, I began to wonder if the procedure had possibly not worked. But on the third day I was in no pain at all.
After months of suffering, I was suddenly free of pain. I went from bedridden to fully functional, got up and walked without pain. It was wonderful! I really felt like I had experienced a miracle.
And now? It has been more than six months since my kyphoplasty and I am still virtually pain free. I’m active and back to work doing the things I love. The procedure gave me my life back and I am determined to live it to the fullest!
I still have mild pain from my arthritis, but it is nothing compared to the pain I felt from my VCF. Before that, I could barely make it to the bathroom and back. Now the pain from my vertebral compression fracture is just … gone.
Since my procedure, I have spoken to other people with VCFs who feel hopeless. They believe medication is their only option to manage their pain, but they worry about side effects and the risk of addiction. I always like to recommend balloon kyphoplasty!
I understand some may not be ready to have a pandemic procedure done. I was nervous too. But in my experience, healthcare providers are more than capable of preventing exposure. And the procedure itself is straightforward and painless.
Life is precious and no one should be in pain. I am so grateful that my kyphoplasty helped me start living again, and I hope that sharing my experience will inspire others to reclaim their lives.
This procedure is not for everyone. A prescription is required. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of balloon kyphoplasty, and whether it is right for you.
This resource was produced with the assistance of Medtronic.