Vertebral Compression Fracture
Compression fractures are fractures of the spine in which the bone of the vertebra is collapsed or compressed in on itself. The most common cause of a vertebral compression fracture is osteoporosis – thinning of the bones. Other causes include high energy injuries, like from car accidents or sports.
When the compression fracture occurs as a result of a minor injury or no injury (a fall from standing height or less), that is called a fragility fracture. It is very important to see a doctor specializing in evaluation and treatment of spinal conditions, to determine the underlying cause of the fracture.
In many cases the compression fracture will heal over time, and can be managed with medications, physical therapy, and bracing. If the fracture is causing severe pain that prevents normal activities, an outpatient procedure called a kyphoplasty can rapidly reduce the pain. If the fracture results in instability of the spine or compression of the spinal cord, it may require surgery.