Osteoporosis is a highly common condition in which bones become weak and brittle. One complication that can result from osteoporosis is a vertebral compression fracture, a type of injury where one or more vertebrae collapse due to bone compression. Although vertebral compression fractures can occur due to trauma to the spine, more than 700,000 cases are the result of osteoporosis.
If you are experiencing severe back pain or you notice a loss of height or slight deformity to your spine, contact Desert Institute for Spine Care. When you visit one of our Phoenix-area clinics, you can count on precise diagnosis and quality treatment for your spinal symptoms.
What Is a Vertebral Compression Fracture?
Also called a spine compression fracture, a vertebral compression fracture (VCF) is a break that occurs when the vertebral body in the spine collapses. This type of fracture is most common in the middle back, called the thoracic spine, usually in the lower part of this region. A vertebral compression fracture is caused by trauma compressing the bones and is common in people who have osteoporosis.
Sometimes, a VCF occurs without any evident pain. However, it can also lead to severely painful symptoms. Over time, this type of fracture can cause spinal deformity and reduce the height of the entire spinal column, diminishing a person’s height.
This prevalent type of VCF refers to the front of the vertebra collapsing while the back of the bone remains unchanged, producing a wedge-shaped vertebra.
This type of fracture causes the entire bone to break.
This type of fracture results in height loss in the front and back of the vertebra. Burst fractures are generally more unstable and can result in progressive issues.
A vertebral compression fracture can cause band-like pain that moves from the spine to the sides of the back. Other chronic symptoms of VCF may include:
The majority of damage caused by VCF is usually limited to the vertebral column. If the fracture is stable, it rarely leads to any nerve or spinal cord damage.
Many underlying spine conditions can lead to acute or chronic back pain, leaving patients wondering what could be the cause. At DISC, our orthopedic surgeons will determine an accurate diagnosis so we can provide you with treatment options based on your condition.
Our Personalized Pain Diagnostics (PPD) utilize proprietary diagnostic techniques as well as the latest technology to pinpoint your specific pain generator — whether it’s a vertebral compression fracture or another underlying condition. With an accurate diagnosis comes more precise treatment options. We are leaders in minimally invasive spine care, including conservative treatment and endoscopic surgical techniques.
We first start with nonoperative options to provide pain management and treatment that allows healing to take place, including:
If conservative treatment options prove ineffective, the board-certified surgeons at DISC specialize in a wide range of surgical options, from minimally invasive procedures to more traditional spine surgeries. Surgery for vertebral compression fracture focuses on stabilizing the collapsed vertebrae.
Surgical Treatment Options for Vertebral Compression Fractures
Chronic low back pain due to spinal compression fractures can be treated surgically with one of the following: