Broken hip. Those two words alone are enough to strike the fear into the hearts of many older patients. They’ve heard the horror stories. They also know that getting prompt treatment can drastically improve a person’s short- and long-term prognosis.
But while 400,000 people are hospitalized for hip fractures each year, nearly twice as many—upwards of 700,000 patients—experience a spinal compression fracture. And if left untreated, the prognosis is as bad as, or worse than, that for a hip fracture.
The big issue is that nearly 45 percent of spinal compression fractures have historically gone undiagnosed , leaving patients frustrated, confused, and often in pain.
You can learn more about the signs, symptoms and underdiagnosis of spinal compression fractures, a simple out-patient fix for the problem, hear from a retired family physician about his experience enduring a compression fracture -- and the difference treatment made in his daily life, and even hear what the national media program The Doctor's has to say about the issue.
[i] Kallmes DF, Comstock BA, Heagerty PJ, et al. A randomized trial of vertebroplasty for osteoporotic spinal fractures. N Engl J Med. 2009;361:569–579; Buchbinder R, Osborne RH, Ebeling PR, et al. A randomized trial of vertebroplasty for painful osteoporotic vertebral fractures. N Engl J Med 2009; 361:557.; Society of Interventional Radiology Commentary on Vertebroplasty and the August Studies in the New England Journal of Medicine. November 24, 2009.