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World Osteoporosis Day

Back orthoses for support after vertebral body fractures

Diagnosis: vertebral fracture secondary to osteoporosis – what do I do now? Believe it nor not, now's the time to get moving, in order to relieve pain, boost mobility and prevent further fractures.

Osteoporosis: facts – figures – dates

The first World Osteoporosis Day was on 20 October 2015. It focussed on the awareness of the population on this widespread condition. 6.3 million of the over 50s in the UK are affected and every year 885,000 people develop it for the first time.*

In osteoporosis, the body loses bone mass because too little calcium is being deposited into the bones. They grow porous and may break. The spinal column curves forwards and a "dowager's hump" can develop. This causes the body's centre of gravity to shift forward which increases the risk of falling. Osteoporosis is an insidious process and in many cases is not diagnosed until after a vertebral fracture has occurred.

Studies have proved that the risk of a new fracture is 3.2 times higher after the first vertebral fracture, 9.8 times after the second and 23.3 times after the third.**

Improve quality of life with osteoporosis

In order to strengthen the bones, improve posture and relieve pain, guideline-compliant osteoporosis treatment*** combines modern drugs, physical exercise and back braces that straighten the spine (such as Spinomed from medi). 

The aim: less pain, more mobile, more active

Back orthoses (such as Spinomed, Spinomed active) can improve quality of life for osteoporosis patients. "By continually adjusting the wearing period, most patients can strengthen their back muscles, which have been weakened by the osteoporosis, and restore their own muscle corset. The stronger muscles also increase performance in everyday life. This is then also linked to pain reduction. Furthermore, wearing the brace for a period of six to 12 months strengthens the extensor muscles in the back to give patients a more erect posture and balance while standing", explains Dr Michael Pfeifer from the Institute for Clinical Osteology in Bad Pyrmont, Germany****.

Treatment of osteoporosis – this is how back braces help

The patient simply puts the back brace (such as Spinomed) on like a rucksack and fastens it at the front with the Velcro fastener. The strap system and the back rod exert noticeable tension forces on the back and always remind the patient to adopt the correct posture. The tension effect causes reflex contraction of the trunk muscles in the back and abdomen (= biofeedback). The back brace strengthens the muscles and can relieve pain. This will lower the tendency to sway and reduces the risk of falling and possibly suffering new fractures. The muscle-strengthening effect of Spinomed and Spinomed active has been proved in two randomised clinical trials*****.
* The epidemiology of osteoporosis: Bone Evaluation Study, Deutsches Ärzteblatt 2013,4, 52 et seq.
** Lunt, O´Neill, Felsenberg et al, “Characteristics of a prevalent vertebral deformity predict subsequent vertebral fracture (…), Bone 33,4 (505-513)
*** Patient management recommendations for doctors in the osteology umbrella association,
**** The role of back orthoses in the treatment of vertebral fractures due to osteoporosis, Osteologie 2015; 24:11-16.
***** Pfeifer, M. et al. in: Am J Phys Med Rehabil, 2011, 90, pp. 805-815 and 2004, 83, pp. 177-186.

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