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OBJECTIVE: To systematically review the evidence of effectiveness of spinal orthoses for adults with vertebral osteoporosis. DATA SOURCES: We conducted a systematic literature search using the databases of PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, AMED, CINAHL, PEDro, and the Cochrane Library from January 1995 to October 2014. STUDY SELECTION: Two reviewers evaluated eligibility. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs), pilot RCTs, and prospective nonrandomized controlled studies of spinal orthoses for people with vertebral osteoporosis or osteopenia with and without osteoporotic vertebral fracture (OVF) that examined outcomes related to fracture consolidation, pain, strength, posture, balance, physical function, quality of life, and complications were eligible. DATA EXTRACTION: Two reviewers independently extracted data and evaluated methodological quality using a domain-based risk-of-bias approach. DATA SYNTHESIS: Twelve studies were included: 8 RCTs or pilot RCTs and 4 nonrandomized studies involving 626 participants. Three studies (n=153) evaluated orthoses after acute OVF; none were of high quality. Complications were highest with rigid orthoses. Evidence that orthoses could affect vertebral deformity was lacking. Nine studies (n=473) of varying quality considered orthoses in subacute and longer rehabilitation. Three suggested a semirigid backpack thoracolumbar orthosis (TLO) could benefit strength, pain, posture, and quality of life. One found a weighted kypho-orthosis (WKO) improved balance. CONCLUSIONS: The limited evidence about orthoses after acute OVF is inconclusive; better evidence of efficacy is needed, particularly when considering complications. The promising evidence regarding the backpack TLO and WKO needs to be explored further in studies of sufficient size and quality that include men.

Original publication




Journal article


Arch phys med rehabil

Publication Date





1013 - 1025


Braces, Kyphosis, Orthotic devices, Osteoporosis, Osteoporotic fractures, Rehabilitation, Bone Diseases, Metabolic, Braces, Humans, Muscle Strength, Osteoporosis, Osteoporotic Fractures, Pain, Postural Balance, Posture, Quality of Life, Spinal Fractures