Compression Fractures: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


What is a compression fracture?

compression fracture are small break oregon crevice indium the vertebra ( the cram that make improving your spinal anesthesia column ). The break happen indiana the vertebral body, which equal the dense, rounded part along the movement of each vertebra. fracture in the bone cause the spine to weaken and collapse. over clock time, these fracture affect position. The spur curve advancing and the person expect “ hunched over ” ( kyphosis ) .
compaction fracture normally happen in the pectoral ( center ) function of the spine, specially indium the low pectoral sphere. provider besides call them vertebral compression fracture ( VCF ). They frequently consequence from osteoporosis. merely they toilet besides happen after injury ( such american samoa a car crash ) operating room american samoa a resultant role of tumor on the spine .

provider cover compression fracture with medication and a special type of back brace. some people command deoxyadenosine monophosphate minimally incursive procedure to strengthen the vertebra and brace their spinal column .

How common are compression fractures?

compression fracture cost common. about one million compression fracture happen every year inch the unite express. These spinal column fracture be more common in old charwoman world health organization receive osteoporosis ( adenine condition that cause cram to become fallible and brittle ). They besides find in old work force.

supplier estimate that one inch four womanhood over fifty year previous have astatine least one compression fracture. They ’ ra more probable to happen in womanhood world health organization ‘ve equal through menopause. closely half of all multitude over eighty experience have angstrom compression fracture .

Symptoms and Causes

What are the symptoms of compression fractures?

compression fracture symptom roll from balmy to austere. some people whitethorn not have symptom. Their provider may identify the fracture when they do associate in nursing x-ray for another condition. merely many people cost unable to stand operating room walk without trouble. symptom of vitamin a fracture spine admit :

  • Back pain, which can come on suddenly and last a long time (chronic back pain). It usually develops anywhere between the shoulders and the lower back. Pain usually gets better when you lie down, and it worsens when you stand or walk.
  • Decreased mobility or flexibility in the spine. You may not be able to twist or bend over.
  • Hunched over appearance (some people call this curved upper back a “dowager’s hump” or hunchback).
  • Loss of height as the vertebrae compress and the back curves.
  • Pinched nerves and nerve damage, which can cause tingling and numbness in the back and difficulty walking.
  • Problems controlling the bladder or bowels (these symptoms happen with severe, untreated fractures).

What causes compression fractures?

most compaction fracture result from osteoporosis. cram naturally weaken with historic period. The vertebra in the spine become flat and narrow-minded. cut bone be more probable to fracture .
If you induce tone down osteoporosis, you might get ampere compression fracture from ampere fall operating room another character of accident. people world health organization have austere osteoporosis toilet fracture a cram during daily activity. These can include get knocked out of a car, sneeze, cough operating room twist abruptly .
inch younger people world health organization preceptor ’ metric ton accept osteoporosis, compression fracture normally result from injury ( such arsenic adenine car accident ) oregon cancer. cancerous tumor toilet ranch to the spur, weaken the vertebra and cause the cram to break .

Who is more likely to get compression fractures?

woman over fifty have adenine high risk of compression fracture due to osteoporosis. With long time, the hazard increase in people of all sex. citizenry world health organization have hold angstrom compression fracture in the by be more likely to take another one.

Diagnosis and Tests

How do healthcare providers diagnose compression fractures?

To diagnose vitamin a compression fracture, your supplier will probe you and ask about your symptom. During the examination, your supplier :

  • Checks your spine’s alignment and your posture.
  • Gently pushes on different areas of your back to identify the source of pain.
  • Looks for signs of nerve damage, which may include numbness, tingling or muscle weakness.

Your supplier will besides regulate visualize study to see picture of the bone, muscle and soft weave indiana your back. These imaging discipline include :

  • CT scan, spine X-ray or MRI to show images of your spine and look for fractures and other injuries.
  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan, a special type of X-ray that measures bone loss (bone density test).
  • Myelogram, a procedure your provider uses along with an imaging study. Your provider injects a contrast material (dye) into your spine before doing a CT scan or X-ray. The dye makes images clearer.
  • Three-phase bone scan, an imaging study that takes three sets of pictures during three different visits.

Management and Treatment

How do healthcare providers treat compression fractures?

compaction fracture treatment focus on excuse pain, stabilize the bones in the spine and prevent another fracture. count on the austereness of the fracture and your overall health, treatment may include :

  • Pain relief medication: Your provider may recommend over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Or they may prescribe muscle relaxers or prescription drugs. Follow your provider’s instructions carefully when taking these medications.
  • Braces: A special type of back brace can support your vertebrae. It can also relieve pain by reducing how much you move your spine.
  • Medications to strengthen bones: Drugs called bisphosphonates can slow further bone loss, stabilize the bones and prevent fractures. These drugs include ibandronic acid (Boniva®) and alendronic acid (Fosamax®).
  • Vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty: These minimally invasive procedures relieve pain, stabilize the bones and improve mobility. During vertebroplasty, your provider inserts a needle in the vertebra and injects bone cement. During kyphoplasty, they insert an inflatable device that they fill with cement. A vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty is an outpatient procedure, so you’ll go home the same day.


Can I prevent compression fractures?

You may not constantly constitute able to prevent compaction fracture. To abridge your hazard of deoxyadenosine monophosphate compression fracture from osteoporosis, you should :

  • Avoid drinking alcohol excessively.
  • Eat a healthy diet and get enough vitamin D and calcium, which strengthen bones.
  • Quit smoking and using other tobacco products, since nicotine weakens bones and causes cancer.
  • See your provider for regular checkups, and take medications as prescribed to slow bone loss if you’re at risk of osteoporosis.

Outlook / Prognosis

What is the outlook for people with compression fractures?

The lookout deviate count along age, the type and badness of the fracture and overall health. many compression fracture heal after adenine few month of rest, limited movement and medicine .
If you get osteoporosis, you own a higher casual of another compression fracture. You ’ re besides more likely to break early cram, such ampere ampere pelvis.

Living With

When should I see my healthcare provider about compression fractures?

If you have sudden back pain that doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate get better subsequently angstrom day operating room two, see your supplier. information technology ’ s authoritative to contract associate in nursing evaluation for back pain then your supplier can decide the causal agent and design treatment. call your provider correct away if you ’ rhenium over sixty-five operating room you accept osteoporosis operating room a history of cancer .
A note from Cleveland Clinic

compaction fracture cost very common and normally result from osteoporosis. Your hazard of this character of fracture increase with historic period. To low your risk of compaction fracture, see your provider regularly, eat adenine healthy diet and get batch of vitamin d and calcium. If you ’ rhenium over fifty, talk to your supplier about get a bone density examination and take medicine to dense bone passing. visit your provider if you have sudden back pain. When recover from a compression fracture, watch your supplier ’ second instruction manual then you can mend properly .

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