Vertebral compression fractures occur when the normal vertebral body of the spine is squeezed or compressed. When too much pressure is placed on the vertebrae, the bone can collapse, resulting in extreme pain and limited mobility. In some severe fractures, pressure can also be placed on the spinal cord.
Typically, compression fractures can occur from a trauma. This can be from a fall, sports injury or car accidents. In some cases, they can be caused by osteoporosis which is a condition that causes the thinning of the bone.
Severe pain in the back is the common symptom of a vertebral compression fracture. Many times, it will get worse when standing or walking and the pain will subside when you rest. Some people feel numbness, weakness, or limited mobility in the area. Other, less common symptoms, include gastrointestinal problem, shortness of breath and hip pain.
When treating vertebral compression fractures, the aim is always on reducing pain and stabilizing the area so that the fracture can heal. Medications, including anti-inflammatory drugs can help with this pain, but first a proper diagnosis is needed. Typically, x-rays will be able to help diagnose a vertebral compression fracture, so a proper treatment plan can be implemented.