Around 750,000 people per year suffer from vertebral compression fracture (VCF) or backbone fracture as a result of osteoporosis. VCF can also be caused by trauma or metastatic tumors.
VCF can result in sudden onset of severe pain, deformity and loss of height due to the collapsing of the vertebral body. The patient will typically experience worsening pain while standing, walking, or coughing and improvement in pain while lying on the back. If severe, VCF can lead to bony instability, loss of height and curvature, and even neurological complications.
Once VCF is suspected, the physician will perform a thorough history, physical examination, and imaging studies including X-ray, CT scan, MRI, or dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA) or bone densitometry. These imaging studies will assess the severity of fracture as well as determining if you are a candidate for intervention.