A common fracture of the spine, a compression fracture means that the vertebral body has collapsed, causing the front part of the vertebra to crush and compress. Ranging from mild to severe, a compression fracture is most often the result of osteoporosis, causing the bones to lose calcium and other minerals and become fragile.
When these bones are brittle, even everyday activities can trigger minor spinal compression fractures. When bending to lift missing a step, slipping on the sidewalk, or just coughing or sneezing, you can put your spinal bones at risk.
Compression fractures can occur suddenly, causing sharp, severe pain most commonly felt in the middle or lower back and can also be felt on the sides or in the front of the spine. Because most compression fractures occur in the front of the vertebra, it causes the front part of the bone to collapse , while the back of the bone is unchanged because it’s made of harder bone. This creates the stooped posture called kyphosis.
However, importantly, because most of damage is limited to the front of the spine, the fracture is usually stable and rarely results in any nerve or spinal cord damage.