Compression fractures are small breaks or cracks in the vertebrae (the bones that make up your spinal column). The breaks happen in the vertebral body, which is the thick, rounded part on the front of each vertebra. Fractures in the bone cause the spine to weaken and collapse. Over time, these fractures affect posture. The spine curves forward and the person looks “hunched over” (kyphosis).
Compression fractures usually happen in the thoracic (middle) part of the spine, especially in the lower thoracic area. Providers also call them vertebral compression fractures (VCF). They often result from osteoporosis. But they can also happen after trauma (such as a car crash) or as a result of tumors on the spine.
Providers treat compression fractures with medications and a special type of back brace. Some people require a minimally invasive procedure to strengthen the vertebrae and stabilize their spine.