Objective: One fourth of women > or =50 yrs of age in the general population have one or more vertebral fractures. The orthotic treatment modality in the management of vertebral fractures caused by osteoporosis remains subjective because no objective data from clinical trials are available. The objective of this research was to evaluate the efficacy of a newly developed spinal orthosis in patients with osteoporotic vertebral fractures.
Design: We conducted a study that measured trunk muscle strength, angle of kyphosis, body height, body sway, and variables of quality of life such as pain, well-being, and limitations of daily living.
Results: Wearing the orthosis for 6-mo period was associated with a 73% increase in back extensor strength, a 58% increase in abdominal flexor strength, an 11% decrease in angle of kyphosis, a 25% decrease in body sway, a 7% increase in vital capacity, a 38% decrease in average pain, a 15% increase in well-being, and a 27% decrease in limitations of daily living. The overall tolerability of the orthosis was good, no side-effects were reported, and the drop-out rate of 3% was rather low.
Conclusions: The use of an orthosis increases trunk muscle strength and thus improves posture in patients with vertebral fractures caused by osteoporosis. In addition, a better quality of life is achieved by pain reduction, decreased limitations of daily living, and improved well-being. Therefore, the use of an orthosis may represent an efficacious nonpharmacologic treatment option for spinal osteoporosis.