The most common types of fractures affecting the low back are compression fractures which usually result from a fall. They can be diagnosed with an X-ray. With most compression fractures, bed rest, physical therapy and conservative medical care is effective. However, there is a small chance that the compression fracture could be caused by a secondary medical condition. Usually your physician will give you a thorough neurological and physical exam in order to rule out osteoporosis or malignancy.
Burst fractures usually occur through a violent compressive load resulting in failure of both the anterior and middle columns of the vertebrae. In this case vertebral height is significantly decreased. This fracture is considered unstable and requires immediate stabilization of the body and medical attention.
Flexion and compression fractures frequently occur at the T1 and L1 levels. The amount of anterior column failure depends on the amount of compressive force. Usually there is some loss of vertebral height with this injury, but as long as the middle and posterior columns are intact, this fracture is considered stable.
This type of fracture is also known as a chance fracture, and is often caused by seat belts in cars. In this fracture, all three columns of the vertebral body can fail and there may be injury to bone, ligaments and discs. An interior subluxation is often encountered. This fracture is considered unstable and required immediate stabilization of the body and medical attention.
Usually coupled together with or without flexion. Compression effects can occur on the lateral margins of the vertebral body while torsional and translational forces may affect the body or disc and ligament structures.