Spinal Fractures: Are you at risk?

Written by Jason M. Highsmith, MD

Even if your bones are becoming weaker due to osteoporosis or osteopenia, you likely won’t feel it. For most people, the first indication that they are losing bone density is a spinal compression fracture (also known as a vertebral compression fracture or VCF). While bone loss can affect anyone, there are certain risk factors that may make you more susceptible to painful spinal compression fractures.

Spinal Compression Fractures Risk Factors

Preventing Spinal Compression Fractures
One of the common misconceptions about spinal fractures is that they only occur as a result of serious injury or trauma. However, fractures can occur during everyday activities, such as bending over to lift something or carrying a heavy bag of groceries. It’s important that you not ignore back pain—even if it seems ordinary. Your back pain could actually be caused by a spinal fracture.

Proper diagnosis and early treatment are essential to preventing fractures from causing serious pain and problems (eg, if your fracture is pressing on your spinal cord or harming your mobility). Schedule a bone mineral density test, and talk to your doctor about any back pain or changes in your posture. A physical exam, along with other diagnostic tests, can help determine whether your back pain may be due to a spinal compression fracture.

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Talking to Your Doctor about Spinal Fractures