Spinal fractures are different than a broken arm or leg. A fracture or dislocation of a vertebra can cause bone fragments to pinch and damage the spinal nerves or spinal cord. Most spinal fractures occur from car accidents, falls, gunshot, or sports. Injuries can range from relatively mild ligament and muscle strains, to fractures and dislocations of the bony vertebrae, to debilitating spinal cord damage.
There are 3 main categories:
Fractures: the most common type of spine fracture is a vertebral body compression fracture. Sudden downward force shatters and collapses the body of the vertebrae. If the force is great enough, it may send bone fragments into the spinal canal, called a burst fracture. People affected by osteoporosis, tumors, and certain forms of cancer that weaken bone are prone to vertebral compression fractures (VCF).
Dislocations: the ligaments are stretched or torn (arrows) allowing the vertebra to come out of alignment. This usually requires stabilization surgery or a brace.
Fracture-dislocations: occur when bone is broken and the ligaments are torn. These fractures are usually unstable, tend to be very debilitating, and are often surgically repaired.
For more information on symptoms and management please follow the link below.