Vertebral Compression Fracture
(Fracture, Vertebral Compression)
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- Osteoporosis—a condition of weakened bones
- A blow to the back
- Falling down
- Landing on your heels when jumping from a height
- Having major trauma (for example, from a motor vehicle accident)
- Race: Caucasian or Asian
- Sex: female
- Females: 60 and older
- Males: 70 and older
Use of certain medicines:
- Long-acting benzodiazepines
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Long-term steroid use
- Limited physical activity
- Poor nutrition
- Mother or maternal grandmother with hip fracture (a genetic disposition)
Other factors that may increase the risk of vertebral fractures include the following:
- Use of antipsychotic medicines
- Poor mental functioning
- Poor mobility
- Poor strength
- Previous vertebral fracture within the last year
- X-rays of the spine—to look for a fracture
- MRI scan—a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body
- CT scan—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body
- Bone scan—a test that detects areas of increased or decreased bone activity
- Bone mineral density test—to help determine if you have osteoporosis, and if so, how severe it is
- Brief period of bed rest and a decrease in activity
- Medicine to control the pain
- Strengthening exercises for your back muscles
- Back brace
Treatment for Osteoporosis
- Estrogen/progesterin hormone replacement therapy
- Bisphosphonates (alendronate, risedronate, ibandronate)
- Estrogen agonist/antagonist (raloxifene)
- Calcitonin (Miacalcin, Fortical)
- Parathyroid hormone
- Get plenty of weight-bearing exercise. This includes walking, jogging, or sports such as tennis.
- Do resistance exercises for arms and legs. This will help to improve your strength and balance.
- Get plenty of calcium, vitamin D, and protein in your diet. Talk to your doctor if you think you need supplements.
- If you have osteoporosis, you should talk to your doctor about treatment options. If you had an early menopause, talk to your doctor about this.
- Stop smoking. Drink alcohol only in moderation. Moderate alcohol intake is two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
- Eliminate any obstacles in your home that could cause you to fall. These may include throw rugs or furniture.
National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases http://www.niams.nih.gov
National Osteoporosis Foundation http://www.nof.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
American Medical Association website. Available at: http://www.ama-assn.org. Accessed July 8, 2009.
Bone resource page. National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Bone/default.asp. Updated November 2007. Accessed July 8, 2009.
Buchbinder R, Osborne RH, et al. A randomized trial of vertebroplasty for painful osteoporotic vertebral fractures. NEJM. 2009;361(6):557-568.
Kallmes DF, Comstock BA, et al. A randomized trial of vertebroplasty for osteoporotic spinal fractures. NEJM. 2009;361(6):569-579.
National Osteoporosis Foundation. Clinician’s Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis. Washington, DC: National Osteoporosis Foundation; 2010.
Osteoporosis. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Practice Bulletin. No. 50; 2004.
Osteoporosis. Am Fam Physician. 2009;79(3):201-202.
Ullom-Minnich P. Prevention of osteoporosis and fractures. Am Fam Physician. 1999;60(1):194-202.
Wardlaw D, Cummings SR, et al. Efficacy and safety of balloon kyphoplasty compared with non-surgical care for vertebral compression fracture (FREE): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 373(9668):1016-1024.
11/9/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Buchbinder R, Osborne RH, Ebeling PR, et al. A randomized trial of vertebroplasty for painful osteoporotic vertebral fractures. N Engl J Med. 2009;361(6):557-568.
- Reviewer: John C. Keel, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/92/2012 -