I was asked by a patient this week if her back pain was being caused due to a Compression Fracture. (Dr. Google suggested her symptoms might be due to a compression fracture!) Given her age and type of symptoms, probably not.
So what are compression fractures and who’s at risk?
In general terms, compression fractures are a result of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is an age related condition where the bone density reduces as we age – causing weaker and brittle bones. You might have noted, when you visit a Physiotherapist we always ask about your age. We ask such questions because certain conditions are more prevalent in certain age groups. For example, it would be quite rare for a 25 year old female to be diagnosed with Osteoporosis, but a 60 year old female without a doubt will have some degree of Osteoporosis.
Compression fractures can essentially occur in any vertebral bone of the spine. However, they tend to occur most commonly in the Thoracic spine between the T10 – T12 vertebrae. Compression fractures are rarely seen above T7.
Compression fracture – Thoracic spine
Ajit Singh Lamba