The impact of bone mineral density on the degree of curvature of the lumbar spine

J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2011 Mar;11(1):46-51.


Objective: The prevailing perception is that one of the causes of postural deformities is osteoporosis. Nonetheless, studies of the correlation between bone mineral density (BMD) and spinal curvatures have produced contradictory results. This study was undertaken in order to determine whether (BMD) is associated with the curvature of the lumbar spine.

Methods: 105 postmenopausal women, aged 45-76 years (average= 57.3 years), were examined. All the participants underwent DXA scanning and spinal radiography using the same equipment and techniques. Lumbar curvatures were measured using the Cobb method. Subjects were divided according to their T-score into osteoporosis patients (n=54) and controls (n=51). Statistical analysis was performed using one way ANOVA, Mann-Whitney as well as Pearson and Spearman rank correlations.

Results: There were no statistically significant correlations between BMD and lumbar curvature angles either in the total sample or in either group individually. Furthermore, these angles were not significantly different between patients with osteoporosis and controls.

Conclusions: The reduction in BMD and the alteration of the lumbar curvature that are observed in elderly individuals are concurrent but not related phenomena. The findings of this study contradict the claim that reduced bone mineral density is the cause of postural deformities.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Bone Resorption / diagnosis
  • Bone Resorption / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / pathology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / complications
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / diagnosis
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / physiopathology
  • Radiography
  • Spinal Curvatures / diagnosis
  • Spinal Curvatures / etiology*
  • Spinal Curvatures / physiopathology*