Each of us understands that our spine is made up of bones and those bones are called vertebrae. The vertebrae go from the neck down to teh sacrum, the very tip of our spine, below our waist. Each of those vertebral bodies stack on top of one another and they fit in a very uniform fashion and they’re made to move or articulate against one another back and forth. This is how our spine moves front and back when we bend.
When you fall, typically, or get in some other type of accident where compression forces are forced down on the vertebrae, the bones which look like building blocks, can actually compress or get forced down and it compresses the bones of the vertebrae. Most of the ones that are compressed or either on the front or on the back so that it’s compressed in some type of a wedge fashion. The doctor who is treating you with a compression fracture will measure the extent of that vertebral compression using an x-ray. This is how they measure whether it’s mild, moderate or severe.
Vertebral compression fractures are very painful and they can be life changing because when the vertebrae compresses it’s not going to reform. The bone isn’t going to grow back. It’s not going to re-expand to fill the space that it should have been in. So, it changes the way the bones articulate or move against the vertebrae above and below. And, this whole thing sets up an inflammatory process which can be very tricky and very difficult to treat.
These are serious injuries that need to be treated seriously. Some people fortunately recover quite well but there is a distinct percentage of people that have lingering persistent complaints from compression fractures.