Vertebral Compression Fractures are often not recognized as anything more than a seriously pulled muscle. I personally made that mistake 30+ years ago. Only when I was tested on our new DXA machine which made Vertebral Fracture Assessment (VFA) easy to obtain, did I recognize that I had actually suffered a 30% compression fracture. Oops.
We do VFA on every patient we evaluate. VFA added to DXA improves accuracy in assessing bone health. I have published the largest single center, single provider study of 1259 patients comparing DXA alone to DXA + VFA in Endocrine Practice 2017:23:1375-8. We use our DXA machine because it is quick and easy. Lateral Spine X-rays also work.
NOF has an excellent summary of VFA and vertebral fractures at https://cdn.nof.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Vertebral-Fractures-BONE-BASICS.pdf
If you are losing height or are developing a humped back (kyphosis) or simply want a more complete evaluation, ask for a VFA along with your DXA. Know more, do more to prevent more Vertebral Compression Fractures.
Jay Ginther, MD