A vertebral fracture is also called a compression fracture. This means a vertebrae in the back has broken. The main causes of these fractures are osteoporosis, trauma or tumors. The most common cause is osteoporosis, which is a loss of bone density that causes bones to become more brittle and break easier. Men experience fractures of their mid- or lower spine four times more often than women, and seniors are most at risk due to osteoporosis.

The symptoms of a vertebral compression fracture are:

  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Tingling
  • Inability to control bladder and bowels

The pain of a vertebral fracture is usually felt in the lower back, or lumbar spine. The fracture can also occur in the thoracic spine, or the middle of your back. The pain of a vertebral fracture is felt in the mid- to lower part of the spine, and can also be felt on the sides of the spine. It can cause stabbing pain that is debilitating.

At first, fractures due to osteoporosis may not be painful. But, there are symptoms such as stooped over posture, loss of height, and back pain that develops slowly and worsens when walking. A stooped over posture, called kyphosis or dowager’s hump, is a sign of many fractures. In some cases, being stooped over causes pressure on the spine and other symptoms such as numbness or tingling.

A physician can diagnose a vertebral fracture with X-ray, CT scan or MRI. Treatments depend on the severity of the fracture and the patient’s condition and how they sustained it. For an older patient with osteoporosis, the fracture may be treated with rest, pain medication and calcium supplements. For other cases, the course of treatment can include back brace, physical therapy or surgery.

If you are suffering from back pain, contact us or call our dedicated Medical Concierge at 800-890-1964 to learn more or set up an appointment.