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To diagnose a compression fracture, your provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. During the exam, your provider:

  • Checks your spine‚Äôs alignment and your posture.
  • Gently pushes on different areas of your back to identify the source of pain.
  • Looks for signs of nerve damage, which may include numbness, tingling or muscle weakness.

Your provider will also order imaging studies to see pictures of the bones, muscles and soft tissues in your back. These imaging studies include:

  • CT scanspine X-ray or MRI to show images of your spine and look for fractures and other injuries.
  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan, a special type of X-ray that measures bone loss (bone density test).
  • Myelogram, a procedure your provider uses along with an imaging study. Your provider injects a contrast material (dye) into your spine before doing a CT scan or X-ray. The dye makes images clearer.
  • Three-phase bone scan, an imaging study that takes three sets of pictures during three different visits.


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