New guidance on managing the symptoms of vertebral fractures

Osteoporosis Management | Treatment | Guidelines

19 May 2022

The Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS) has published new clinical guidance for health professionals on managing the symptoms of vertebral fractures.  

Evidence based expert guidance is essential to ensure people with osteoporosis receive effective advice and reassurance to help manage pain and symptoms from disabling broken bones. Assessing and managing symptoms, and addressing secondary fracture prevention can make important improvement in quality of life and long term health and outcomes for those with these fractures. 

The new guidance, which has been developed and written by expert clinicians working in the field, outlines how healthcare professionals can best support patients who present in the community or in hospital with symptoms of a vertebral fracture. 

This includes:  

  • assessment and management of symptoms of patients with a vertebral fracture,
  • support for self-management,
  • appropriate signposting of patients to other published guidance and resources

The guidance is intended for use by any healthcare professionals who provide care, or engage directly or indirectly, with people with osteoporosis and vertebral fragility fractures. This may include general practitioners, secondary care physicians, orthopaedic and spinal surgeons, emergency care healthcare professionals, radiologists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists, clinical pharmacists, nurses, and other allied health professionals. 

Vertebral fractures are the most common osteoporotic fracture and lead to both acute and chronic back pain, substantial spinal deformity, functional disability, decreased quality of life and increased mortality. Vertebral fractures are also linked to a range of psychological symptoms including low mood, anxiety, loss of self-confidence and depression. 

Philippa Russell, patient advocate at the ROS said: 

“This guidance is so important. If it had been available when I had my fractures, I would have had a much better experience. My pain could have been better controlled and I would have been reassured that the pain would almost certainly go. This one thing would have been a great help to my mental state and made the difference between feeling hopeless to being hopeful.” 

You can read this guidance, as well as other clinical publications and resources on the ROS website. 

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