Vertebral fractures can occur in any part of the spine, from the cervical to the thoracic and lumbar region. These are serious injuries that usually occur due to violent trauma experienced in a car accident, fall or contact sport. Because of the potential for vertebral fractures to involve damage to the spinal cord, a broken backbone usually requires immediate stabilization and emergency medical evaluation. Symptoms of a vertebral fracture will depend on the location and severity of the injury but can include pain at the location of the break along with weakness, tingling and numbness sensations in the extremities that is indicative of a neural deficit. Sometimes, a patient can experience temporary paralysis due to a condition known as “spinal shock;” permanent paralysis is also a possibility depending on the involvement of the spinal cord. When a vertebral fracture is small and does not impact the stability of the spine, it can usually be addressed with nonsurgical means such as a back brace. For more serious fractures, spine stabilization and decompression surgery is often required.