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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Our Care Team

  • Hansen-MacDonald Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Director of Spinal Surgery
Phone: 212-746-2152
  • Assistant Professor of Radiology in Neurological Surgery (Manhattan and Queens)
Phone: 212-746-2821 (Manhattan) or 718-303-3739 (Queens)
  • Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery, Spinal Surgery
  • Co-Director, Spinal Deformity and Scoliosis Program
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NYP Lower Manhattan
Phone: 212-746-2260
  • Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery 
Phone: (888) 922-2257
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery, Spine Surgery
Phone: 718-670-1837 (Queens) / 888-922-2257 (Manhattan)
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens
Phone: (718) 670-1837
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery (Brooklyn and Manhattan)
Phone: 212-746-2821 (Manhattan); 718-780-3070 (Brooklyn)
  • Clinical Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
  • Attending Neurosurgeon
Phone: 888-922-2257
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: 646-962-3388

Reviewed by: Srikanth Boddu, MD, MSc
Last reviewed/updated: October 2020

Weill Cornell Medicine Brain & Spine Center 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787