Compression Fractures Of The Spine

Compression Fractures Of The Spine

Compression Fractures of the Spine

This is a collapse of the vertebral bone.  The bones of the spine (vertebra) can be compressed by sufficient downward force where they fracture and collapse.  It can affect one or more vertebrae. Compression fractures typically develop in your mid or lower back. This can change the shape of your spine.  Vertebral Compression Fractures can lead to debilitating back pain and stiffness and in severe cases numbness, tingling, weakness or paralysis.

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At Compass Pain and Spine we can diagnose a compression fracture with a comprehensive history, physical examination, and imaging such as Xray, CT scan or MRI.  If you have a compression fracture we may also order a bone density testing to measure how strong your bones are. 

What are the causes of a compression fracture?

  • Most often caused by osteoporosis(thinning of the bones) in older people 
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls
  • Sports injuries
  • Tumors


  • Over the counter pain medicines such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen and naproxen may be helpful
  • If your pain is severe you may benefit from stronger pain medicine
  • Calcitonin (a hormone the body makes naturally) can relieve pain, should only be used until the pain is better-not longer than 6 months
  • If your fracture is from osteoporosis you may be given osteoporisis medicines 
  • Back braces may be helpful to reduce pain
  • Stable, mild fractures may respond 8-12 weeks of bracing, rest and pain management.
  • Stable, more severe compression fractures may need to be repaired with a minimally invasive procedure called a kyphoplasty. During a kyphoplasty a needle is placed into the fracture and bone cement is injected to build the bone height, limit further compression and to reduce pain. Kyphoplasty is only recommended for severe, disabling pain that does not improve with conservative treatments
  • Unstable fractures are treated with surgery.