Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Compression Fractures
A compression fracture occurs when an injury to a spinal bone
(vertebra) causes it to fracture and collapse (compress). A weakened vertebra
may collapse because of a minor injury or without an obvious injury, often as
the result of osteoporosis.
When several vertebrae have been fractured, a person may lose
height. Compression fractures may lead to a hump in the upper back (dowager's
hump) and may cause back pain.
Treatment of compression fractures may include treating the
osteoporosis with medicines and calcium and treating the pain with
analgesics or calcitonin. A brace or corset is sometimes recommended, to keep the back stable as the bones heal. Surgery may be needed if there is any loss of
function because of bone pressing on the spinal cord or spinal nerves.
Current as of:
May 22, 2015
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.