Have you ever sneezed so hard that you fractured a vertebra? Have you ever sat down hard onto a chair or fallen, and instantly had lower back pain after standing? Have you heard about Osteoporotic Compression Fractures?

What are Osteoporotic Compression Fractures?

● Osteoporotic compression fractures are a major cause of mid-thoracic and upper lower back pain in elderly women.
● This type of fracture is caused by osteoporosis, and not always by trauma as fractures can occur from a fall.

Signs and Symptoms

Patients with an osteoporotic compression fracture may experience

● Debilitating mid-thoracic and lower back pain
● A decline in mobility
● A decline in the quality of life
● A decrease in vertebral body height

Note: Bone fragments from the upper(superior) or lower (inferior) portion of the vertebrae can be displaced into the spinal canal causing spinal canal stenosis and sometimes spinal cord compression.


● Osteoporotic compression fractions are best seen on CTs and MRIs.


● The best treatment plan is to consult with your primary care physician or general practitioner for osteoporosis treatment and a neurosurgeon for a kyphoplasty as soon as possible.
o Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used to restore the vertebrae height by injecting cement into the cavity, thereby reducing both skeletal and neuropathic pain.

Figure 1: Compression Fracture of the Spine


Artemida-psy. (2019). Compression Fracture of the Spine [Diagram]. https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/vector-illustration-compression-fracture-spine-623797541

Jenis, L. (2016). OrthoInfo: Osteoporosis and Spinal Fractures. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/osteoporosis-and-spinal-fractures/

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