How do I know if I have a spine fracture?
Only your doctor can properly diagnose a spine (vertebral compression) fracture with the assistance of diagnostic imaging like MRI or X-ray. However, some of the more common symptoms include:
- Back pain, and possibly additional pain in the hip, abdomen or thigh
- Numbness, tingling and weakness
- Loss of height/hunched appearance
- Difficulty breathing
- Urinary incontinence
Osteoporosis is often the cause of spine fractures. Because osteoporosis is a disease that affects bone density, those with this condition can more easily develop spine fractures. Spine fractures can also occur in patients on steroid therapy, in patients with bone metastasis in the spine or multiple myeloma, and in accident victims.
Did you know?
Studies have shown that individuals with a spine fracture are at a much higher risk of developing additional fractures, reduced lung function, difficulty controlling the bladder or bowels, decreased quality of life and even death.2,3,4
To reduce your chances of developing vertebral compression fractures:
- Eat a healthy diet that includes fresh fruit and vegetables
- Eat calcium-rich foods
- Ensure your body is getting enough vitamin D
- Do not smoke
- Limit alcohol and caffeine
- Exercise regularly
1. McGirt MJ, Parker SL, Wolinsky JP, Witham TF, Bydon A, Gokaslan ZL. Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty for the treatment of vertebral compression fractures: an evidenced-based review of the literature. Spine J. 2009;9(6):501–508
2. Lindsay R, Silverman SL, Cooper C, et al. Risk of new vertebral fracture in the year following a fracture. JAMA. 2001 Jan 17;285(3):320–3.
3. Kado DM, Browner WS, Palermo L, Nevitt MC, Genant HK, Cummings SR. Vertebral fractures and mortality in older women: a prospective study. Study of Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group. Arch Intern Med. 1999 Jun 14;159(11):1215–20.
4. Huang MH, Barrett-Connor E, Greendale GA, Kado DM. Hyperkyphotic posture and risk of future osteoporotic fractures: the Rancho Bernardo study. J Bone Miner Res. 2006 Mar;21(3):419–23.