There are many different types of spinal fractures including compression, burst, flexion-distraction, and fracture-dislocation. Compression fractures commonly occur in patients with osteoporosis, or patients with weakened bones due to other conditions. If there is a sudden force of an extreme amount of pressure, the vertebra may not be able to handle the stress. The vertebra can fracture. Burst fractures are caused by a severe trauma such as a car accident. They occur when the vertebra is crushed by extreme forces and is fractured in multiple places. Due to the crush, bony fragments can spread out and cause spinal cord injury.
You can get a flexion-distraction fracture if you are in a car accident where your body is pushed forward. The spine is made to flex forward, but if there’s a sudden forward movement that places too much stress on the spine, it may break a vertebra or vertebrae. Fracture dislocation can occur in compression, burst or flexion-distraction fractures and the vertebra or vertebrae moves significantly and dislocates. This can make your spine very unstable. Depending on the severity of the fracture, surgical treatment may be necessary in addition to medication and physical therapy.