Symptoms and Signs of Vertebral (Spinal) Compression Fracture

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Medically Reviewed on 7/2/2021

Doctor's Notes on Vertebral (Spinal) Compression Fracture

A vertebral compression fracture is a condition in which the body an individual bone of the spine (vertebra) become compressed due to trauma. Usually it requires significant trauma to break the bones of the spine. However, in certain cases, such as in elderly people and in people with osteoporosis or cancer, these bones can be fragile and can break with little or no force (these are known as pathologic fractures). Compression fractures most commonly occur in the lower back, but they may develop in any portion of the spine.

Signs and symptoms of a vertebral compression fracture include pain, numbness, weakness, or tingling. Other associated symptoms can include hip or abdominal pain, incontinence of urine or stool, or the inability to urinate.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.