Group treatment improves trunk strength and psychological status in older women with vertebral fractures: results of a randomized, clinical trial.

Journal Article (Clinical Trial;Multicenter Study;Journal Article)


To assess whether group exercise and coping classes reduce physical and psychological impairments and functional disability in older women with prevalent vertebral fractures (VFs).


Randomized, controlled trial (modified cross-over) with site as unit of assignment; testing at baseline and 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.


Nine North Carolina retirement communities.


One hundred eighty-five postmenopausal Caucasian women (mean age 81), each with at least one VFs.


The intervention group had 6 months of exercise (3 meetings weekly, 45 minutes each) and coping classes (2 meetings weekly, 45 minutes each) in Phase 1, followed by 6 months of self-maintenance. The control group had 6 months of health education control intervention (1 meeting weekly, 45 minutes) in Phase 1, followed by the intervention described above.


Change in trunk extension strength, change in pain with activities, and change in psychological symptoms.


Between-group differences in the change in trunk extension strength (10.68 foot pounds, P<.001) and psychological symptoms (-0.08, P=.011) were significant for Phase 1. Changes in pain with activities did not differ between groups (-0.03, P=.64); there was no change in the pain endpoint. In Phase 2, controls showed significant changes in trunk strength (15.02 foot pounds, P<.001) and psychological symptoms (-0.11, P=.006) from baseline. Change in pain with activities was not significant (-0.03, P=.70). During self-maintenance, the intervention group did not worsen in psychological symptoms, but improved trunk extension strength was not maintained.


Weak trunk extension strength and psychological symptoms associated with VFs can be improved in older women using group treatment, and psychological improvements are retained for at least 6 months.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gold, DT; Shipp, KM; Pieper, CF; Duncan, PW; Martinez, S; Lyles, KW

Published Date

  • September 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 52 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 1471 - 1478

PubMed ID

  • 15341548

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1532-5415

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-8614

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2004.52409.x


  • eng