Compression fracture of the spine is when bone in the spine collapses. These fractures happen most commonly in the thoracic spine (the middle portion of the spine), particularly in the lower vertebrae of the thoracic spine or in the lumbar spine. These fractures usually lead to incapacitating back pain, a reduction in your mobility and often a decline in overall health.
Compression fractures of the spine generally occur from too much pressure on the vertebral body. This usually results from a combination of bending forward and downward pressure on the spine.
A common cause of compression fractures is osteoporosis. This disease thins the bones, often to the point that they are too weak to bear normal pressure. The thinning bones can collapse during normal activity, leading to a spinal compression fracture.
Another cause of vertebral fractures is a metastatic disease. Metastasis is a term that refers to the spread of cancer cells into other areas of the body. The bones of the spine are a common place for many types of cancers to spread.