Initial non-weight-bearing therapy is important for preventing vertebral body collapse in elderly patients with clinical vertebral fractures
Kishikawa Orthopaedic Clinic, Saga City, Saga, Japan
Purpose: The aim of the present conventional observational study was to compare the clinical outcomes of initial non-weight-bearing therapy and conventional relative rest therapy among elderly patients with clinical vertebral fractures.
Methods: In total, 196 consecutive patients with clinical vertebral fractures (mean age: 78 years) who were hospitalized for treatment between January 1999 and March 2007 were analyzed. Initial non-weight-bearing therapy consisted of complete bed rest allowing rolling on the bed without any weight-bearing to the spine for 2 weeks, followed by rehabilitation wearing a soft brace. The indications for initial non-weight-bearing therapy were vertebral fracture involving the posterior portion of the vertebral body at the thoraco-lumbar spine, mild neurological deficit, instability of the fracture site, severe pain, multiple vertebral fractures arising from trauma, malalignment at the fracture site, and mild spinal canal stenosis caused by the fracture. Patients who met the indication criteria were treated with initial non-weight-bearing therapy (n = 103), while the other patients were treated with conventional relative rest (n = 93). All the patients were uniformly treated with intramuscular elcatonin to relieve pain. The primary endpoint was progression of the vertebral fracture. The secondary endpoints included bony union and subjective back pain. The follow-up period was 12 weeks.
Results: Compared with the conventional relative rest group, the collapse rate of the anterior and posterior portions of the vertebral body was significantly smaller in the initial non-weight-bearing group. The bony union rate was 100% in the initial non-weight-bearing group and 97% in the conventional relative rest group. The number of patients who experienced back pain was significantly lower in the initial non-weight-bearing group than in the conventional relative rest group.
Conclusion: These results suggest that initial non-weight-bearing therapy is important for preventing vertebral body collapse and for relieving pain among elderly patients with clinical vertebral fractures.
Keywords: clinical vertebral fracture, non-weight-bearing, brace, osteoporosis
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