Spinal fractures are different than a broken arm or leg. A fracture of a spine vertebra can cause bone fragments to damage spinal nerves or the spinal cord.
A spinal fracture can occur from a fall, a car accident, or when an object impacts the spinal vertebrae with a force that it cannot withstand, so the bone cracks.
The most common type of spine fracture is a vertebral body compression fracture, which is downward force that shatters the structure of the vertebrae. If the force is great enough, it may send bone fragments into the spinal canal, called a burst fracture.
Most spinal fractures occur from severe trauma to the body from car accidents, falls, and other high impact force to the body. Injuries can range from spine vertebra fractures or as serious as debilitating spinal cord damage that can cause permanent paralysis.
Some smaller fractures can heal with physical therapy treatment and rest, however severe fractures will require surgery to reposition the bones and can include paralysis if the injury damaged the spinal cord. Spinal fractures and dislocations can pinch, compress, and even tear the spinal cord.
Fractures can occur anywhere along the spine, including the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar areas of the spine.