A severe impact on people and society1-6

Vertebral compression fractures usually occur at the anterior of the vertebral body. Osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures can cause the spine to curve and lose height, and can result in pain, difficulties in breathing, gastrointestinal problems, sleep disturbances and difficulties in performing activities of daily living.

Symptoms and treatment of osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures can worsen quality of life and cause loss of self-esteem.

Figure 1: Consequences of Vertebral fractures

Once the first fracture occurs and if it goes untreated, patients enter into what is called the “Downward Spiral.” The Spinal deformity will shift the centre of gravity frontwards, which may impact lung capacity, intestinal function, and appetite. The patient overall ability for daily activities may decrease, increasing the underlying bone loss as well as the risk for further fracture and mortality.

In addition, most of the patients suffer from a psychological impact. The loss of mobility, pain, and noticeable spinal deformity frequently leads to depression, loss of self-esteem, fear of falling, and social isolation.

Figure 2: Downward spiral

Did you know that osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures are a strong risk factor for further vertebral and non-vertebral fractures?

Figure 3: Prevalent vertebral fractures increase the probability of further fracture

Did you knew that mortality due to an osteoporotic Vertebral compression in the first year is as severe as a the mortality due to hip fracture?

Figure 4: Age-adjusted relative risk of mortality following vertebral and hip clinical fracture is 8.68 and 6.64 respectively

  1. The breaking spine, International Osteoporosis foundation report 2010.
  2. Ström O, Borgström F, Kanis J et al. Osteoporosis: burden, health care provision and opportunities in the EU 5. Arch Osteoporos 2011;6(1-2):59-155.
  3. JA Cauley, Thompson DE, KC Ensrud, et al. Risk of mortality following clinical fractures. Osteoporosis int 2000,11:556-563.
  4. D Gold, S Silverman. The Downward Spiral of Vertebral Osteoporosis. Forefront – Foundation for osteoporosis research.2003-2004;10(2).
  5. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) United Kingdom Multiple Technology Appraisal March 2013, http://guidance.nice.org.uk/TA/Wave22/18 consulted on the 05-02-2014.
  6. Lindsay R, Pack S, Li Z. Osteoporos Int.2005;16:306-312.