Your spine is your backbone. It's made up of a lot of small bones stacked up like building blocks.
Something that's compressed is squashed down. If you compress something that's hard, it can crack. So a compression fracture of the spine is when one of the bones in your spine is squashed down and cracked.
Compression fractures of the spine usually happen in the middle or lower back
Usually they happen in older people, especially those with back bones weakened by osteoporosis or cancer
When back bones are weakened, it doesn't take much force to cause a compression fracture
You may not remember hurting yourself
Usually your back hurts, but you may not have any pain
Falling, especially if you land on your feet, which puts pressure on your spine and may also cause a broken heel
Less often, compression fractures are caused by serious injuries, such as car crashes or gunshots.
You're at higher risk if you have:
If you're at high risk, you can get a compression fracture just from stumbling, twisting, or getting out of bed. You may not even know what caused the fracture.
Doctors treat compression fractures of the spine with:
If you have osteoporosis, doctors will want to prevent more fractures, so they'll treat you with:
Doctors may also suggest physical therapy.