Spinal Wedge Compression Fractures
Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Spinal Wedge Compression Fractures - Dr. Akhil Tawari

What are wedge compression fractures?

Wedge compression fractures, also called compression fractures, are small breaks in the vertebrae (bones in your spine) that occur due to compression.

As bones weaken with age and osteoporosis, they’re more likely to compress and break. Over time, breaks in the vertebrae cause the spine to collapse, curve and develop spinal fractures. Its treatment includes rest, medications, braces, and minimally invasive surgery.


  • Back pain radiating from the shoulders to the lower back.
  • Decreased mobility in the spine and problems in twisting or bending.
  • Hunched back (kyphosis)
  • Reduced height in appearance due to vertebral compression
  • Nerve pinching, tingling, and numbness in the back
  • Difficulty walking
  • The problem in controlling the bladder or bowels (happens in extreme cases, when the compression affects the lumbar spine)

Causes of wedge compression fractures

There are two major wedge compression fracture causes:

1- Osteoporosis- With osteoporosis, new bone tissue creation is reduced while old bone tissues are removed by the body constantly. The bone loss makes them porous and look like honeycomb internally. Weak bones compress and become flatter and narrower. You might get a compressional fracture from a fall or accident if you have mild osteoporosis. 

  1. Cancer- Cancerous tumor spreading to the spine can weaken vertebrae and cause osteoporosis and compressional fractures.
  2. Age – The bone density reduces with age, and the spine starts narrowing at a higher rate, making it more prone to osteoporosis and spinal fractures.

Who can get compression fractures?

Women over 50 are prone to osteoporosis or compression fractures. However, with age, lack of proper nutrition, and spine inflexibility, osteoporosis can occur in all genders.

People with previous compression fractures are more likely to have another one.

How is it diagnosed?

When you reach out to a specialist for help, they will look out for the symptoms. Typically, people with compressional fractures develop haunched back and kyphosis, which can be a major indication of compressional fractures.

Besides, the doctor will physically examine the back to check its alignment, source of pain, or nerve damage. They will further order scanning tests that include:

  • CT scan or MRI-  to show images of your spine and look for fractures and other injuries.
  • Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan- is a bone density test for measuring bone loss.
  • Myelogram – is similar to an X-ray, but it uses a contrast dye injected into your spine before obtaining a CT scan or X-ray. The dye reflects different colors and creates contrasted, clear, and  distinctive images.

How are wedge compression fractures treated?

Compression fracture treatment aims to relieve pain and stabilize bones to prevent further damage. However, the treatment module is chosen according to the intensity of damage and discomfort caused to the person.

  • Pain relief medication: It includes over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The doctor may prescribe muscle relaxers or prescription drugs. It is advised to follow the medications carefully.
  • Braces: These are special orthosis or corsets that support your vertebrae and keep them straight and aligned.
  • Medications to strengthen bones:  Apart from OTC and NSAIDs, the doctor may also provide drugs called bisphosphonates to reduce and compensate for bone loss and stabilize bones to prevent more fractures.


  • Vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty: These are minimally invasive spine surgeries (MISS) that amend bone fractures with bone cement. The surgeries aim to relieve pain, stabilize the bones and improve the spine’s mobility. 

During vertebroplasty, the surgeon inserts a thin needle in the vertebra and injects bone cement. While in kyphoplasty, they insert an inflatable device through a key-hole incision, separate the gap and fill bone cement in the gap.

  • Spinal fusion: In some cases, when two or more vertebrae have disintegrated completely, the surgeon may do a bone fusion surgery with or without a bone graft to unify and stabilize the damaged spinal sections into one bone.

Dr. Akhil Tawari is one of the most renowned orthopedic surgeons in Mumbai, who also specializes in MISS spine surgeries. He has vast experience working in various premier hospitals. So far, he has treated various spinal deformities such as kyphosis, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, or spinal trauma with a professional treatment approach.

He also believes that early diagnosis means better success chances. Hence, if you see the above symptoms, back pain, or any major indication lasting more than 15 days, consult Dr. Akhil Tawari for a detailed diagnosis and treatment