The main symptom you’ll notice with a spinal compression fracture is back pain. It may start gradually and get worse over time or come on suddenly and sharply. But regardless of how it happens, it’s important to let your doctor know about it, especially if you’re a woman who is near or over age 50.
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The pain typically happens with a slight back strain during an everyday activity like:
Lifting a bag of groceries
Bending to the floor to pick something up
Slipping on a rug or making a misstep
Lifting a suitcase out of the trunk of a car
Lifting the corner of a mattress when changing bed linens
Different Signs of Spinal Compression Fractures
For many people, a spinal compression fracture will hurt less as the bone heals. That can take up to 2 or 3 months. Other people will still have pain after the fracture has healed.
Some people feel almost no symptoms from spinal compression fractures. The cracks may happen so gradually that the pain is relatively mild or unnoticeable. For others, the pain may turn into a chronic backache in the injured area.
Signs of Multiple Spinal Compression Fractures
When you have multiple spinal compression fractures, your spine will change a lot. Part of your vertebrae may collapse because the cracks mean it can’t support the weight of your spine. That can affect how your body works. Symptoms include:
Height loss. With each fracture of a spinal bone, the spine gets a little bit shorter. Eventually, after several vertebrae have collapsed, you will look noticeably shorter.
Kyphosis (curved back): When vertebrae collapse, they form a wedge shape, which makes the spine bend forward. Eventually, you’ll have neck and back pain as your body tries to adapt.