Vertebral Compression Fracture

(Fracture, Vertebral Compression)

Definition

The bones of the back are called the vertebrae. A vertebral fracture is a break in one of these bones. A vertebral compression fracture occurs when the front part of the bone is squeezed or compressed.
Vertebral Fracture
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Causes

A vertebral compression fracture can be caused by:
  • Osteoporosis —a condition of weakened bones
  • A blow to the back
  • Falling down
  • Landing on your heels when jumping from a height
  • Having major trauma such as a motor vehicle accident

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of vertebral compression fractures include:
  • Osteoporosis
  • Trauma
  • Cancer
  • Use of antipsychotic medications
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Poor mental functioning
  • Poor mobility
  • Poor strength
  • Previous vertebral fracture within the last year

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
  • Mild to severe pain in the middle or lower back
  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Loss of control of the bowel or bladder

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with: You may be tested to determine if you have osteoporosis. This can be done with a bone mineral density test .

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