Vertebral Body Compression Fracture
Vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) are cracks in the vertebrae formed under pressure, which then cause the bones to collapse. This can happen as a result of trauma or weakened bones, and is the most common type of fracture among people with osteoporosis. Sudden fractures are known to cause severe back pain. Fractures that are a result of a gradual degenerative disease may not cause immediate pain, yet ultimately lead to back pain and sometimes a loss of height.
People that have sustained one VCF are five times more likely to experience another. Treatment options include a back brace to limit mobility and encourage healing, as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or opioids to temporarily relieve pain. Surgically, minimally invasive procedures such as kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty involve injecting a hardening material or cement into the bone, however the effectiveness of these treatments has been debated.