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Spinal Compression Fractures

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Symptoms of Spinal Compression Fractures

Not everyone with a spinal compression fracture experiences the same symptoms. Sometimes patients only experience minimal or mild pain. Most commonly, however, a spinal compression fracture is associated with moderate to severe back pain and difficulty getting out of bed.

Other symptoms include:

  • Hunched appearance, called kyphosis or a "dowager’s hump," due to collapsed vertebrae that affect posture
  • Loss of height
  • Back fatigue, due to excess muscle strain used to hold up the spine


The following symptoms are rarely caused from compression fractures and constitute medical emergencies:

  • Leg weakness
  • Bladder or bowel incontinence


Fortunately, there are treatments available for spinal compression fractures (see Diagnosing and Treating Spinal Compression Fractures).

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Reviewed by Athos Patsalides, M.D.
Last reviewed/last updated: July 2018