When you think of bone fractures, you might envision a clean break of the bone caused by direct impact to the injured area. In the spine, however, fractures tend to look a little different, as they are often caused by building pressure within the spine that eventually creates small hairline fractures in the vertebrae. As these tiny fractures worsen and continue to weaken the bones, vertebrae may collapse and create a wedge that protrudes from the spine, causing a good deal of pain and discomfort in the process. Below you can learn more about these spinal compression fractures so that you do not end up ignoring symptoms that should be addressed with specialized care.
Bone Thinning Leads to Fractures
Most people don’t realize that bones are composed of living tissue that is always regenerating. As the body ages, bones may not regenerate fully, so there are bigger holes left in the porous bone structure. This bone-thinning process is called osteoporosis, and it creates a much larger risk for fractures. With the bones in such a fragile state, the impact of everyday activities may be enough to cause a series of small fractures.
Compression Fractures May Not Be Immediately Diagnosed
Surprisingly, there are many people living with spinal compression fractures who do not even know it. Back pain can have a wide range of causes, and a number of people falsely assume that back pain is totally normal. However, what seems like a simple backache now could be the early signs of weakening bones in the spine. This is why it’s important to consult a doctor whenever pain persists for more than a day or two.
Older Adults Are at the Highest Risk
Because osteoporosis is more common in adults over 50, this age group is also at the highest risk for spinal compression fractures. Other factors that affect your risk include gender (women are more likely to suffer bone density loss than men), being overweight, and cigarette smoking. Certain types of cancer also put people at risk, because cancer can spread to the bones and weaken them from within. In some cases, the fracture will be the first sign of these types of cancer.
If you have any type of back pain, you can get completely customized care with Dr. Perry at the Spine Institute of Nevada. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Perry in our Las Vegas practice, visit our website or contacting us at 702-239-3787.