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December 26, 1959


JAMA. 1959;171(17):2279-2284. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010350001001

Among 105 patients hospitalized for spontaneous vertebral compression fractures, there were 55 (9 men and 46 women) in whom the diagnosis of osteoporosis was accepted after the exclusion of all other known causes of such fractures. Back pain was the chief symptom listed by all patients, but it was not always concurrent with the fracture. A history of cholecystectomy, hysterectomy, and a diet low in calcium content was common to one-third of the women. The condition was not limited to postmenopausal patients. No biochemical or roentgenographic evidence of benefit was noted in any of the patients receiving hormone therapy, but more than half said they felt better while taking hormones. Bed rest with gradual return to normal activity was adequate treatment in many cases, but about one-third of the patients required absolute bed rest for six weeks. Ten patients failed to improve and went on to a series of relapses and hospitalizations.