Spinal Compression Fractures
Spinal compression fractures are small cracks that occur in the vertebrae, usually the result of pressure on thinning or weak bones (osteoporosis). There are different types of fractures, depending on the damage done to the bone: Wedge fractures affect the front of the vertebra, collapsing the bone in the front without affecting the back; crush factures break the entire vertebra; and burst fractures, the most unstable type, result in loss of height in the front and back walls of the vertebra, leaving the affected individual vulnerable to progressive deformity or neurological issues.
Symptoms and treatment vary depending on where along the spine the vertebrae fracture. Commonly, sharp back pain is felt, which may become chronic. If left unhealed or untreated, physiological changes may occur such as a curvature of the spine, muscle deterioration, or crowding of the internal organs.