Structure of the break: This fracture only affects the bones in the spinal column. Crushing forces cause the bone vertebrae to fracture in to one of more pieces. The fractures are unlikely to move out of line or pierce the skin.
Diagnosis: The way in which the fracture is diagnosed depends on the severity of the fracture. An X-ray is likely to show the presence of a compression fracture, although CT scans and MRI scans may be used if the fracture as caused more serious symptoms such as loss of feeling, weakness or incontinence.
Cause: Compression fractures usually result from a large force impacting along the axis of the spine, eg. falling from a height on to the buttocks or locked feet/legs.
Treatment: In severe cases surgery may be required to further asses and repair the damage. Almost all cases will be treated with a supporting back brace, accompanied with the recommendation to rest and eventually carry out an exercise routine.