Typically, a compression fracture occurs when the bones in one’s spine collapse and compress the spinal cord. It is usually caused by osteoporosis, which weakens the bones throughout the body, leaving them more susceptible to fractures. In addition, women are at much higher risk for compression fractures because they lose bone mass faster post-menopause. If compression fractures are left untreated, they can lead to serious health problems, such as paralysis or death, because they affect the spinal cord.
Symptoms that occur due to compression fractures include pain in one’s back, neck, or upper extremities that don’t resolve with rest, tingling or numbness in an area below the site of the fracture, muscle weakness in regions below the fracture site that may be associated with reduced or absent deep tendon reflexes, and difficulty urinating. If you have symptoms of a compression fracture, you need to see a doctor specializing in compression fractures in Ionia. Here are some of the most common causes of compression fractures.
Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the bones throughout your body, making them more prone to breaks and fractures. In addition, women are at risk of getting osteoporosis because they lose bone density faster after menopause. According to Mayo Clinic, “most of the time you won’t know you have osteoporosis until you break a bone typically in the hip, spine or wrist. Osteoporosis is more likely to cause these fractures because having less bone leaves you with less to withstand normal wear and tear.”
If you have osteoporosis, your doctor will monitor your bones regularly and prevent further loss of bone density through medications and lifestyle changes. Still, even with treatment, you’ll likely have a few fractures during your lifetime because the disease is progressive, and there is no cure.
Lifestyle-related risk factors
Although osteoporosis is responsible for most compression fractures, some are caused by lifestyle-related risks like smoking, drinking alcohol excessively, or taking steroids (like prednisone) for an extended period. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), “if you smoke, quit now.”
While not as common, high impact injuries such as car accidents or severe falls can lead to compression fractures. Suppose you think you have a compression fracture after an injury. In that case, it’s essential to see a doctor right away because the sooner the problem is diagnosed and treated, the better chance you have at a full recovery.
In addition to osteoporosis, certain diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and cancer can lead to compression fractures. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, “the most common symptom of a spinal cord attack is sudden weakness or loss of sensation in one or more areas of your body,” which is similar to symptoms caused by a compression fracture.
Finally, another possible cause of compression fractures is “Ankylosing spondylitis,” a type of autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and stiffness in the spine. If you have Ankylosing spondylitis, you may also feel pain in your chest and abdomen, but since the disease leads to inflammation in one’s spine, it can result in compression fractures.
In summary, compression fractures occur when the bones in your spine collapse, putting pressure on the spinal cord due to autoimmune disorders, diseases, osteoporosis, and trauma. Lifestyle factors can also cause compression fractures.