There are four types of spinal fractures; Compression, Burst, Flexion-distraction, and Fracture-dislocation.
1. Compression Fracture is common in patients with osteoporosis, osteopenia, bone cancer, or patients with other cancers undergoing chemotherapy or radiation. The vertebra is thin, weak, and brittle. Blunt force or extreme pressure may cause the bone to fracture. One type of compression fracture is the wedge when the anterior part of the vertebrae collapses creating a triangular shape.
2. Burst Fracture occur when the vertebrae are crushed by forces such as a car accident. It usually occurs in multiple places causing bony pieces to move around into the spinal cord or other soft tissues. These are the hardest to repair and result in the most damage.
3. Flexion-distraction fractures occur when the body is pushed forward suddenly like when a sudden stop occurs or a car crash. Depending on the degree of force, the vertebra or vertebrae may break. These usually occur in the middle and posterior regions of the vertebrae.
4. Fracture-dislocation results when the entire vertebra from front to back is fractured enough for it to move back and forth or side to side, which is a very unstable situation.