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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.

Compression fractures are small breaks in the vertebrae (bones in your spine). They're more common in women over 50. As bones weaken with age and osteoporosis, they're more likely to break. Over time, breaks in the vertebrae cause the spine to collapse and curve over. Treatment includes rest, medications, braces and minimally invasive surgery.
Compression fractures are very common and usually result from osteoporosis. Your risk of this type of fracture increases with age. To lower your risk of compression fractures, see your provider regularly, eat a healthy diet and get plenty of vitamin D and calcium. If you’re over 50, talk to your provider about getting a bone density test and taking medications to slow bone loss. See your provider if you have sudden back pain. When recovering from a compression fracture, follow your provider’s instructions so you can heal properly.

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