Compression fracture of the back occurs when the bones of your spine (vertebrae) collapse. This can lead to poor posture, pain, loss of height, and a variety of other symptoms.
Symptoms of a Compression Fracture of the Back
Compression fractures caused by back injuries can be very painful. It may feel as though someone is stabbing a knife into your back. Fractures caused by osteoporosis may cause you more pain when you are standing than when you are lying down. These fractures may also cause you to stoop over, develop a hump on your back (kyphosis), and lose up to 6 inches in height as your vertebrae compress.
The following symptoms are rare, but they are caused by pressure on your spinal chord due to poor posture:
- numbness or tingling in your limbs or other areas of your body
- difficulty walking and moving around
Causes of Compression Fracture of the Back
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes thinning of the bone tissue and loss of bone density. It’s the most common cause of compression fractures of the back. It usually affects older adults.
Other possible causes include:
- physical trauma to your back
- a tumor that either originates in your spine or a tumor that spreads to your spinal area (relatively rare)
- congenital disease such as osteogenesis imperfecta
- infection (osteomyelitis) of the vertebra
Orthopaedic Surgeon at Shreya Hospital in Ghaziabad will first examine you to see if your spine is curved or if you have developed a hump on your back. The doctor will then use a CT scan, an MRI, an X-ray, or a bone density test to check for osteoporosis. These same studies help diagnose compression fractures except bone density testing.
Tumors that may be responsible for a compression fracture can show up in diagnostic imaging tests, as can traumatic injuries to your back.
If the underlying cause of your compression fracture is osteoporosis, your doctor may recommend:
- pain medications
- bed rest to help your body heal
- physical therapy to help strengthen your core muscles and spinal support muscles
- a back brace, which can help support your spine
- calcium supplements to prevent additional bone problems and future compression fractures
- medications to induce new bone formation
- surgical treatment to restore the height of the vertebra and insertion of bone cement to prevent the vertebra from collapsing (vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty).
If a tumor has caused your compression fracture, more invasive treatments may be used, including:
- surgery to remove sections of bone or tissue
- lengthening your spine by injecting a special kind of cement (vertebroplasty) into the space between your vertebrae
If your fractures are caused by a back injury, Orthopaedic Surgeon may need to fuse some of your vertebrae together to relieve pain and pressure on your nerves.