Skip to content

Neglected bodily senses in women living with vertebral fracture: a focus group study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article numberkez249
Number of pages7
DateAccepted/In press - 14 May 2019
DatePublished (current) - 23 Jul 2019


Older women are at particular risk of osteoporosis. Among women with osteoporosis, fractures of the vertebra (vertebral fracture) are common, hard to detect and associated with risk of further fracture. Identifying vertebral fracture in a timely manner allows instigation of preventive measures to reduce the risk of further fracture. Although detection of vertebral fracture requires spinal radiograph, many women do not receive referral. To begin development of a screening tool to identify women in need of referral we undertook a qualitative study to characterize women’s experiences of vertebral fracture, using Eccleston’s ‘Ten Neglected Bodily Senses’.

Four qualitative focus groups were conducted with women who had been diagnosed with vertebral fracture (n = 19, age 60–91 years). Data were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically using the ‘Ten Neglected Bodily Senses’.

Women’s experiences of vertebral fractures related to seven senses: pain, movement, fatigue, balance, pressure, appetite and breathing. Pain was the dominant sense and all participants explained how pain increased with activity, reaching a crescendo, and described strategies to minimize this disruption. Most participants had become physically shorter, making some feel ‘squashed’, putting pressure on other body parts. Some described appetite loss or a sense of restricted breathing. Participants experienced a sense of being ‘pulled’ forwards, impacting on balance and exacerbating fear of falling.

The study found senses that have not been previously described in the experiences of women with vertebral fracture. These will be used to inform the design of a new screening tool for use in primary care.

    Research areas

  • vertebral fracture, osteoporosis, qualitative research, pain, screening



  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Oxford University Press at . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 645 KB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 23/07/20

    Request copy


View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups