Vertebral Compression Fracture overview

Vertebral compression fractures occur when the vertebra of the spine become compressed due to trauma. The amount of trauma necessary to break the bones of the spine is usually substantial however in some cases such as individuals with cancer or the elderly, the bones of the spine are already fragile so they can break with minimal force. The lower back is the most common area for vertebral compression fractures however, they can occur in any portion of the spine.


  • Wedge fracture
  • Bioconcave fracture
  • Crush fracture

Vertebral Compression Fracture symptoms

  • Pain in the upper, middle, or lower back
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness
  • Incontinence
  • Urinary Retention

Vertebral Compression Fracture diagnosis/tests

To diagnose a Vertebral Compression Fracture, imaging tests are used on the spine. Possible imaging tests include:

  • X-rays
  • Computerized tomography (CT scan)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Vertebral Compression Fracture causes

  • Trauma
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pathogenic fracture

Vertebral Compression Fracture treatment options & care

  • Rest
  • Pain medication (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs)
  • Cold compress
  • Prescription pain medications
  • Vertebroplasty
  • Kyphoplasty