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Vertebral Compression Fracture (cont.)

Vertebral Compression Fracture Causes

Vertebral compression fractures can be caused by osteoporosis, trauma, and diseases affecting bone (pathologic fracture).

  • Osteoporosis
    • Osteoporosis is a disease of bone in which bone density is reduced, which may increase the chance that a person could sustain a vertebral compression fracture with little or no trauma.
    • Osteoporosis most commonly occurs in women who have completed menopause, but it can also occur in elderly men and in people who have had long-term use of a steroid medication such as prednisone.
  • Trauma: Injury severe enough to cause a vertebra to break can occur with a fall from a tall height in which the person lands on his or her feet or buttocks. It can also occur in a person involved in a car accident.
  • Pathologic fracture
    • Pathologic fracture is a fracture occurring in the vertebra due to preexisting disease at the fracture site.
    • Most commonly, this type of break is from cancer in the bone, which has often traveled from other sites in the body (called metastasis), such as from the prostate, breast, or lungs.
    • Pathologic fracture can also occur with other diseases, such as Paget's disease of bone and infection of bone (osteomyelitis).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/18/2015
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