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What causes a vertebral compression fracture?

Dr. Peter B. Hathaway, MD
Diagnostic Radiologist

The main risk factor for a vertebral compression fracture is osteoporosis, so the people who have vertebral compression fractures are the elderly. Usually a fracture is caused by a fall or a slip where you fall to the ground. Some folks have bones so thin, though, that even a hard sneeze could cause a broken bone in the back.

Another important risk factor is cancer. Tumors can develop in the back, usually spread from somewhere else, and that can make the bone fragile and lead it to break.

Low bone density, or osteoporosis, can make you susceptible to fractures, including vertebral compression fractures.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.