, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 77-88,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 12 Dec 2008

The prognosis for pain, disability, activities of daily living and quality of life after an acute osteoporotic vertebral body fracture: its relation to fracture level, type of fracture and grade of fracture deformation


The level of the acute osteoporotic vertebral fracture, fracture type and grade of fracture deformation were determined in 107 consecutive patients and related to pain, disability, activities of daily living (ADL) and quality of life (QoL) after 3 weeks, 3, 6 and 12 months. Two-thirds of the fractured patients were women and with a similar average age, around 75 years, as the men. Fifty-eight of the acute fractures were located in the thoracic spine and 49 in the lumbar spine and predominantly at the Th12 and L1 levels. Sixty-nine percent of the fractures were wedge, 19% concave and 12% crush fractures. There were 22 mildly, 50 moderately and 35 severely deformed vertebrae. The grade of fracture deformation was not related to gender, age or fracture location. Severely deformed vertebrae predominantly (92%) occurred among the crush fracture type. One year after the fracture, irrespective of fracture level, fracture type or grade of fracture deformation, 4/5 still had pronounced pain and deteriorated QoL. Initial severe fracture deformation by far was the worst prognostic factor for severe lasting pain and disability, and deterioration of ADL and QoL. Factors like fracture level, lumbar fractures tended to improve steadily while thoracic deteriorated, type of fracture, the wedge and concave resulting in less pain and better QoL than the crush fracture type and gender influenced to a lesser extent the outcomes during the year after the acute fracture.