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Compression fracture symptoms range from mild to severe. Some people may not have symptoms. Their provider may discover the fracture when they do an X-ray for another condition. But many people are unable to stand or walk without pain. Symptoms of a fractured spine include:

  • Back pain, which can come on suddenly and last a long time (chronic back pain). It usually develops anywhere between the shoulders and the lower back. Pain usually gets better when you lie down, and it worsens when you stand or walk.
  • Decreased mobility or flexibility in the spine. You may not be able to twist or bend over.
  • Hunched over appearance (some people call this curved upper back a “dowager’s hump” or hunchback).
  • Loss of height as the vertebrae compress and the back curves.
  • Pinched nerves and nerve damage, which can cause tingling and numbness in the back and difficulty walking.
  • Problems controlling the bladder or bowels (these symptoms happen with severe, untreated fractures).


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