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The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research reports that older men with undiagnosed vertebral fractures are likely to report new or worsening back pain. (Citation source bit.ly/2y9rMiZ)
They studied the frequency of clinically incident undiagnosed radiographic vertebral fractures and its association with back pain by examining data from 4396 elderly men enrolled in the U.S. Osteoporotic Fractures in Men study between 2000 and 2002. They were assessed at baseline and 4.6 years later.
A total of 28 men were diagnosed with vertebral fractures by their own physicians during the follow-up. However, X-rays taken at the end of the study period showed an additional 169 men had new vertebral fractures that had not been diagnosed. Those with incident vertebral fractures were likely to have back pain, regardless of whether they had been diagnosed clinically or not. This included any back pain (70% vs. 59%), severe back pain (8% vs. 4%), bothered by back pain most/all the time (22% vs. 13%) and limited usual activity from back pain (34% vs. 18%).
Men with clinically undetected fractures tended to be older, have poorer health status and often had a history of vertebral fractures.
These findings are similar to that seen in elderly women, albeit at a lower prevalence. This is consistent with findings that men have a lower prevalence of osteoporosis than elderly women.
Preventing these fractures may reduce back pain and related disability in older men.