Spinal Compression Fractures
Spinal compression fractures, also called vertebral compression fractures,
are breaks in the bones of the spine that are caused by too much pressure
placed upon them. Healthy bones can normally support quite a bit of pressure.
If bones are weakened by a tumor or osteoporosis, they can break with
even mild trauma or injury.
Compression fractures of the spine usually occur in the lower region of
the spine. They sometimes occur in the middle spine at chest level. Compression
fractures can be very painful and disabling, and can cause a lack of stability
that increases the risk of damage to the nerves or spinal cord. They can
even potentially affect heart and lung function.
Osteoporosis: This is the most frequent cause of stress fractures, as the bones lose
their density and become very brittle and easily fracture. This bone disorder
occurs mostly in females over 50.
Trauma: Even small slips and falls can cause a spinal compression fracture someone
with severely weakened bones.
Disease: Bone tumors such ones that occur with metastatic cancer and multiple myeloma
can weaken the bones and cause spinal stress fractures. The growth of
spinal tumors can place pressure on the vertebrae and cause these fractures as well.
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