Vertebral Compression Fracture Causes and Symptoms

The Causes of Vertebral Compression Fracture

Most patients suffering from vertebral compression fractures (VCF) have osteoporosis. Because osteoporosis causes their bone density to decrease, they become more susceptible to a fracture without a lot of effort or trauma. Osteoporosis is most common in women who have been through menopause, though it can occur in men as well. Patients who have had long-term use of steroids are also susceptible.

VCF is not exclusive to those with osteoporosis, however. A fracture can also occur after an injury to the vertebra, such as a fall where the patient lands on his or her feet or buttocks or suffers a car accident. Other conditions such as infections or cancers of the bone can also result in a vertebral compression fracture.

Symptoms of Vertebral Compression Fracture

Patients suffering from a VCF may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pain that’s worse when standing up or walking
  • Back pain that comes on suddenly
  • Pain that’s eased when lying on the back
  • Decrease in height
  • Limited movement in the spine
  • Deformity of the spine

If you are over the age of 50 (or 45 if you are a woman) and your back pain has come on suddenly, a compression fracture will be one of the first things your spine specialist will look for. You should be aware of your risks for a vertebral compression fracture and see a doctor right away if you start to experience any of these symptoms.


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