In a prospective study, we aimed to evaluate the potential use of kyphoplasty (KP) and vertebroplasty (VP) as complementary techniques in the treatment of painful osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (VCFs). After 1 month of conservative treatment for VCFs, patients with intractable pain were offered treatment with KP or VP according to a treatment algorithm that considers time from fracture (Delta t) and amount of vertebral body collapse. Bone biopsy was obtained intra-operatively to exclude patients affected by malignancy or osteomalacia. 164 patients were included according to the above criteria. Mean age was 67.6 years. Mean follow-up was 33 months. 10 patients (6.1%) were lost to follow-up and 154 reached the minimum 2-year follow-up. 118 (69.5%) underwent VP and 36 (30.5%) underwent KP. Complications affected five patients treated with VP, whose one suffered a transient intercostal neuropathy and four a subsequent VCF (two at adjacent level). Results in terms of visual analogue scale and Oswestry scores were not different among treatment groups. In conclusion, at an average follow-up of almost 3 years from surgical treatment of osteoporotic VCFs, VP and KP show similar good clinical outcomes and appear to be complementary techniques with specific different indications.