The (or "vertebral bodies") are the bones that form the spinal column. A compression fracture of the spine describes a collapse of one or more of these bones.
How Do Compression Fractures of the Spine Happen?
Anyone can get a compression fracture of the spine from a serious fall or car accident. People with weakened bones can get them from a minor fall or without any trauma at all. Medical problems that cause weakened bones include and osteogenesis imperfecta.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of a Compression Fracture of the Spine?
Someone with a compression fracture of the spine may have pain that happens right after an injury. Or they might notice back pain that seems to start without a known cause, but doesn't go away. Sometimes people with a compression fracture of the spine do not have any pain at all.
Over time, a compression fracture can lead to loss of height and curving of the spine.
How Are Compression Fractures of the Spine Diagnosed?
To diagnose a compression fracture, health care providers talk to patients about their symptoms, do a physical exam, and get X-rays. Sometimes other imaging tests, like a CT scan or MRI, are done to get more information about the fracture and the areas around it. A bone density test may be done to learn more about the strength of the bones.
How Are Compression Fractures of the Spine Treated?
Treatment for a compression fracture of the spine depends on how severe it is and if there are other medical problems. Treatments may include:
medicines, if there is a health problem causing weak bones
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Call your health care provider right away if your child has:
severe back pain that does not go away after taking pain medicines
loss of feeling or "pins and needles" in the legs or feet
trouble controlling his or her bladder or bowels
How a child heals from a compression fracture depends on how severe it is and what caused it. Help your child get the best result by going to all follow-up doctor visits, giving medicines as directed, and following instructions about which activities are OK and which to avoid.