Osteoporosis is also a common condition affecting women near their postmenopausal stage. An estimated 25% of these women are diagnosed with compression fractures. It is alarming to note that about two- thirds of vertebral fractures go unnoticed as patients ignore the symptoms and often state ageing or minor injuries as the cause for recurring back pains. Keep on reading to understand spinal compression fractures and their symptoms, diagnosis and treatments.
Spinal compression fractures: Types, symptoms and treatments
Compression fractures in vertebrae can occur anywhere in the spine, but they most commonly occur in the upper back and upper lumbar segments areas of the spine. The fractures due to osteoporosis are generally termed as vertebral fracture, osteoporotic fracture, or wedge fracture. While wedge fractures are the most common type of compression fractures, there are two other types of fractures as well. They are crush fracture and burst fracture. These classifications are incredibly vital because compression fractures such as burst fracture can lead to some severe neurological complications and deformities.
Symptoms of compression fractures
The impairments are mostly limited to the front vertebral column and thereby eliminating the risks of nerves or spinal cord damages. Most common symptoms of compression fractures are acute back pain, deformity, loss of height, loss of muscles, crowding of internal organs and aerobic conditioning. Following are the significant clinical symptoms of spinal compression fractures:
- Sudden and acute back pain
- Intense pain while standing or walking
- Pain reduces when one lies on the back
- Disability, deformity and reduced mobility of the spine
- Loss of height
Those with advanced osteoporosis can experience fracture even while performing minor activities like sneezing, coughing, or turning in bed. Though the osteoporotic spinal fractures heal in four to six weeks, chronic, acute pain is likely to continue in the area of the fracture.