It is a spontaneous vertebral fracture caused by mild trauma in patients with bone weakness due to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes a greater fragility in the vertebrae due to a lower bone density resulting from a decrease in the amount of calcium in their structure.
When osteoporosis is suspected (usually following a fracture caused by mild trauma), its existence can be confirmed by a test called bone densitometry. Once osteoporosis is confirmed, a complete study should be done to explore whether it is secondary to another disease or not. The correct treatment should be established aiming to slow the progressive loss of bone density.
Osteoporotic fractures are very painful in general, causing severe and sustained pain in the area of the fracture (usually in the dorsal or lumbar area). In addition, a crush occurs in the vertebra (wedging), which in the long run and especially if associated with other fractures ends up causing greater curvature and deformity of the spine.
The treatment of vertebral fractures can be conservative (rest, pain relievers and orthopedic braces) or surgical.
There are percutaneous and minimally invasive treatments such as vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, which aim to reinforce the broken vertebral bodies by injecting cement into the vertebra, and to eliminate or reduce the pain in up to 75% of the cases during the first 24 hours.
Surgical treatments using vertebral fusion (arthrodesis) and canal decompression are usually indicated in patients with fractures that are associated with confirmed or threatened spinal cord compression, or fractures that determine severe spinal deformities.