Everything You Should Know About Spinal Compression Fractures

Dr. Constantine Toumbis

25 August 2020

Back pain is no joke. Until you’ve experienced it, you don’t realize how often you are using your spine! And while a small pain in the back can have a major impact on your daily life, what happens when that pain indicates a much larger problem? 

What is a Spinal Compression Fracture?

A compression fracture is a common type of spinal issue. Conditions like osteoporosis or spinal tumors can weaken the vertebrae in your spine. Once the bone is weakened, it may not be able to support the spinal column. This can lead to spontaneous compression fractures occurring during everyday activities. Some simple activities like opening a window, coughing or sneezing, or even just lying in bed can cause a spinal compression fracture. They also can happen as a result of a high impact trauma, like a car accident.


These fractures can become recurrent, meaning that they can affect several vertebrae after the first fracture.

Spinal Compression Fracture Symptoms

A compression fracture can occur anywhere along your spine, but they happen most often in the middle and lower back - in the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae. The level of pain and/or dysfunction that you might experience will typically depend on how many vertebrae were fractured and if any of the surrounding nervous tissue was involved. Symptoms of spinal compression fractures often include:

  • A dull, deep ache where the fracture occurred
  • Increased pain when the area of the fracture is touched or pressed
  • Sudden pain when you take a deep breath or move your spine in certain directions
  • A sharp, severe stabbing pain at the region of the fracture
  • Shooting pain that radiates into the arms and/or legs
  • Difficulty walking

Treatment for Spinal Compression Fractures

Spinal compression fractures are usually treated with:

  • Rest
  • Bracing
  • Head and/or cold therapy
  • Pain medication


In severe cases, compression fractures are treated with kyphoplasty, a minimally-invasive procedure designed to decompress and stabilize the fracture, alleviating pain.


With the right treatment, a spinal compression fracture can heal entirely and you could be feeling as good as new in just a few weeks. Talk to your doctor if you think that you might be suffering from a spinal compression fracture.

At Citrus Spine, we frequently treat compression fractures. We will recommend a treatment based on the severity, ranging from bracing and medication to kyphoplasty. If you are suffering from a compression fracture, contact us to learn how we can help.

Dr. Constantine Toumbis

Dr. Toumbis is a board certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in cervical, thoracic and lumbar surgery. He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from New York University in 1987, then continued on to receive his Masters in Natural Sciences as well as a PhD in Experimental Pathology from State University of New York at Buffalo. He completed his medical degree at Wayne State University School of Medicine with a distinction in Biomedical Research. After moving to Florida to complete his internship and residency in orthopedics at the University of Florida Shands Hospital, he went on to pursue a fellowship at Cleveland Clinic's Florida Spine Institute. He moved to Citrus County and has been in private practice since 2005.

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