A spinal fracture (vertebral compression fracture) occurs when one of the bones in the spine fractures or collapses. Fractures are breaks in the bones of the spinal column. There can be involvement of ligaments and/or joints of the spine as well. Spinal fractures can be stable or unstable. The Symptoms include Moderate to severe neck/back pain made worse by movement, in some cases when the spinal cord is also involved, numbness, tingling, weakness or bowel/bladder dysfunction. Cancer, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hyperthyroidism, and long-term use of corticosteroids also cause loss of bone mass and increase your risk for fracture. Multiple spinal fractures can also cause postural changes or a dowager’s hump. To help relieve the symptoms of spinal fractures and facilitate healing of the injury, treatment may include: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, neck collar or back brace, halo vest immobilization, surgery may involve vertebroplasty/kyphoplasty where bone cement is injected into the fracture or fusion procedures to stabilize the area of injury. Spinal fractures are not always caused by trauma. For example, people with osteoporosis, tumors, or other underlying conditions that weaken bone can fracture a vertebra during normal, daily activities. The most common fractures of the spine occur in the thoracic (midback) and lumbar spine (lower back) or at the connection of the two (thoracolumbar junction). Here are several complications associated with fractures of the thoracic and lumbar spine. One potentially fatal complication is blood clots in the legs, which may develop from immobility. These clots can travel to the lungs and cause death (pulmonary embolism).