Compression Fractures, Compression Fracture

Compression Fracture refers to the caving in or breaking of the vertebrae usually due to traumatic compression of the spine or the natural compression of the spine over time as the discs become less pliable. Some compression fractures develop in patients that have Osteoporosis.

Symptoms that a fracture has occurred include standing/walking, sudden onset of severe back pain, relief of pain when lying down, irritation while bending/ twisting, and loss of height.

Treatment for this condition includes pain medication, staying off your feet, attending physical therapy, and in severe cases surgery.

These compression fractures can occur in vertebrae anywhere in the spine, but they tend to occur most commonly in the upper back (thoracic spine), particularly in the lower vertebrae of that section of the spine (e.g. T10, T11, T12). They rarely occur above the T7 level of the spine. They often occur in the upper lumbar segments as well, such as L1.

Types of Fracture

A spinal fracture due to osteoporosis (weak bones) can also be called a vertebral fracture, osteoporotic fracture, or wedge fracture.

Collapsing the bone in the front of the spine and leaving the back of the same bone unchanged. This process results in a wedge-shaped vertebra. A wedge compression fracture is generally a mechanically stable fracture pattern.

While wedge fractures are the most common type of compression fracture, there are other types as well, such as:

  • Crush fracture.
  • Burst fracture.