Compression fractures are the most common type of spinal fracture and occurs when a spine bone (vertebra) collapses in height.
Compression fractures are commonly caused by osteoporosis, a disease that thins and weakens the bones to the point that they become fragile and break easily. About 700,000 cases of compression fractures due to osteoporosis occur annually nationwide. Vertebral bodies that are weakened from osteoporosis may become unable to support normal stress and pressure. As a result, daily activities such as walking, sneezing, coughing, bending, or lifting can cause a vertebra to fracture.
Compression fractures may also occur if cancer from other parts of the body spreads to the spine. Cancer weakens the spine bones and makes them prone to fractures.During severe compression fractures due to excessive blunt trauma, either from a car accident, fall, or other injury, fragments of the fractured vertebra body to push into the spinal canal and press against the spinal cord. This can cause severe damage to the spinal cord that can result in partial or complete paralysis below the waist.