Evaluation of adverse health outcomes associated with vertebral fractures

P. D. Ross, B. Ettinger, J. W. Davis, L. J. Melton, R. D. Wasnich

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93 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-140
Number of pages7
JournalOsteoporosis International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1991


  • Osteoporosis
  • Pain and disability
  • Psychosocial problems
  • Risk analysis
  • Statistical methods
  • Vertebral fractures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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