Evaluation of adverse health outcomes associated with vertebral fractures
- Cite this article as:
- Ross, P.D., Ettinger, B., Davis, J.W. et al. Osteoporosis Int (1991) 1: 134. doi:10.1007/BF01625442
Little is known about the frequency or degree to which vertebral fractures cause pain and physical disability. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the advantages of risk analysis over other statistical techniques (e.g., correlation analysis) for quantifying relationships between vertebral fractures and outcomes such as pain and disability. Subjects who volunteered to participate in studies of osteoporosis were asked about pain and disability. The number and degree of vertebral deformities were assessed from radiographs. Strong associations were observed between the most severe vertebral deformities and the risk of high pain or disability scores, while weaker associations were observed for moderate deformities. There did not appear to be any association between vertebral deformity and risk of moderate levels of pain or disability. Because of the potential for bias in cross-sectional studies such as this, the magnitude of these findings must be considered tentative. We conclude that risk analysis is an appropriate method for quantifying the relationship of vertebral fractures with pain and disability, but that prospective studies are now needed.