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Vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) occur when the bony block or vertebral body in the spine collapses, which can lead to severe pain, deformity and loss of height.
VCFs are the most common fracture in patients with osteoporosis, affecting roughly 750,000 people each year. Even more, VCFs affect an estimated 25 percent of all postmenopausal women in the United States. The prevalence of this condition steadily increases as people age, with an estimated 40 percent of women aged 80 and older affected. Although far more common in women, VCFs are also a major health concern for older men.
While osteoporosis is the most common cause, VCFs may also be caused by trauma or metastatic tumors.
In people with severe osteoporosis, a VCF may be caused by simple daily activities, such as stepping out of the shower, sneezing vigorously or lifting a light object. In people with moderate osteoporosis, it usually takes increased force or trauma, such as falling down or attempting to lift a heavy object, to cause a VCF. People with healthy spines most commonly suffer a VCF through severe trauma, such as a car accident, sports injury or a hard fall.
The main symptoms of VCFs may include the following:
Physicians diagnose VCFs by conducting physical examinations and utilizing imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans and MRIs. If these diagnostic tools indicate the presence of a spinal fracture, Dr. Kayal and his team determine the best treatment plan for the patient.
Our physicians provide expert treatment for spinal fractures. This is dependent upon the type and severity of the fracture, the spinal level(s) involved, and the condition of the patient. The first line of treatment for non-emergency cases involves conservative steps, such as activity limitations, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and customized bracing. With more severe fractures, however, surgery may be required to address the condition.