Vertebral compression fractures (VCFs)can be completely asymptomatic. Asymptomatic means there are no symptoms. The person doesn't even know they have the problem until it shows up on an X-ray. In such cases, there is no pain but deformity of the spine is possible. Over time, the shape of the spine changes because of the bone that is collapsed.
Other patients experience severe back pain that motivates them to try anything for treatment. In many cases, the pain and deformity result in loss of sleep, weight loss, and decreased quality of life. Activites are curtailed by the pain and discomfort. Breathing and respiratory function are also limited by the pain and deformity.
For these reasons, most doctors are treating VCFs more aggressively than in the past. Conservative care may be tried at first. But if pain persists and/or deformity occurs, then surgery is recommended.