The Causes and Symptoms of Compression Fractures

Compression fractures are quite common and affect around 1 million people within the United States annually. They are most common in older people, however younger patients could also suffer the injury.

While it’s common as it might be, don’t consider a compression fracture lightly since it can affect the quality of your living. It’s essential to understand its causes and symptoms to ensure you are aware and be aware of when to consult a physician to seek treatment.

What is the Cause of Compression Fractures?

A compression fracture happens in the event that one vertebrae – the bones which make up your spine break. The fracture affects the frontal, round vertebra, causing an incline in the back. It’s also most common in the spine’s middle and lower-middle region, also known as the thoracic region. The thoracic spine extends from the neck’s bottom to the top of the ribs.

Below are some of the frequent causes of compression fractures.


The main reason for fractures that compress is osteoporosis which is a condition which causes bone porousness. The bone’s interior appears like a sponge that is filled with tiny holes. Osteoporosis can cause your bone density to decrease dramatically, making the “spongy holes” larger and more numerous. The bone’s structure will be weaker, more fragile, and more prone to breakage.

The condition is often not detected which increases the likelihood of suffering vertebral fractures. Women are also much more likely to develop the condition than men, which makes women more vulnerable to suffering compression fractures. If you suffer from osteoporosis, it is possible to fracture your vertebrae by performing simple actions such as coughing or sniffing.


Compression fractures are most common among older adults, but younger patients may suffer from these fractures, too. Accidents in the car or serious falls can result in trauma to your spine, resulting in the destruction of the vertebrae. In some cases athletes are affected after a long period of frequent falls and hard contact.


Cancer cells may expand from their initial location to different parts of the body through the process known as metastasis. When cancer cells spread into the spinal column, it may reduce the strength of your vertebrae and increase the chance of suffering from compression fractures.


The body is able to resorb old bone cells and make new ones. Your bones remain well for as long as your body maintains this equilibrium. But the process slows with time. Aging can cause degenerative changes to bones, resulting in the bones becoming brittle and weakened, and also a decrease in their density and strength.

The older age group is more prone to fractures due to compression because the bones of older people aren’t quite as sturdy as they were in the past. Menopausal hormones also increase the loss of bone, which makes women more vulnerable to damage to their vertebrae.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Compression Fracture?

A few patients suffer from compression fractures without signs or symptoms. For those who do experience symptoms, they could vary from mild to severe. Examples include:

A decrease in height, mainly due to a hunched or slouching posture

Back pain can be sudden or persist for a long time.

Back pain that gets worse as you move

Increased flexibility and mobility as a result of the pain

Tingling and numbness can be result from nerve damage in the event that the fracture damaged an affected nerve

Inability to control the bowel and bladder movements for fractures with severe compression

Your doctor could conduct diagnostic tests and examine you to determine the cause of your symptoms of the compression fracture. They might conduct a physical exam in order to examine the cause of your discomfort, posture, or the alignment of your spine. Additionally, they could suggest imaging tests such as an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI to detect fractures. They could also recommend an assessment of bone density to determine if you suffer from osteoporosis.

When is the Best Time to See Your Doctor?

Consult your doctor in the event of suddenly developed back pain. Also, you should seek medical attention immediately when you are:

Feel pain that lasts for a long time and does not go away for several days

You may experience back pain that is so severe it can disrupt your daily routine

Be aware of serious signs such as problems controlling the bladder and stool movement

Are you suffering from cancer or osteoporosis?

Are you 65 years old or older?

The doctor can determine whether your symptoms are indicative of an injury caused by compression or other injury. Once you’ve been diagnosed, your doctor will help you choose the best treatment plan that meets your requirements. There are numerous treatments that are considered conservative that include restingl, pain relief braces, as well as physical therapy. If your situation requires it, your doctor might recommend minimally-invasive procedures such as the vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty.

Compression fractures are common in the United States, tallying up to around one million cases per year. This injury is usually seen in people over the age of 50, but younger people may also suffer it. Usually caused by osteoporosis injuries, aging or the growth from cancer. It may result in a hunched over posture, and chronic back discomfort. Don’t be afraid to visit an appointment with a physician to deal in reducing the pain and enhance your living quality.

This article was written by a medical professional at Florida Medical Pain Management. Florida Medical Pain Management is proud to offer comprehensive pain management services to a diverse group of patients. Patients at Florida Medical Pain Management can get help managing hip, knee, leg, and neck pain. The practice also offers comprehensive arthritis management, along with treatments for auto accidents, sports, and work injuries.

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