Category Archives: Compression Fractures

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Osteoporosis and Back Pain

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If you’re over 60 and experience sharp back pain when moving, there’s a good chance a compression fracture caused by osteoporosis could be to blame. If you haven’t, are under 60, and don’t want to experience this pain, read on anyway–because this is one of those many situations where prevention is the best medicine.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis means your body produces too little bone mass or loses too much, resulting in brittle bones that are extremely vulnerable to injury. Research suggests that as many as one in two women and one in four men over the age of fifty will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Compression Fractures

Vertebral compression fractures are broken vertebrae. They are most commonly caused by osteoporosis, though other causes include certain cancers and trauma. In some cases, prednisone, a steroid-based medication that can soften bone, may also be to blame.

Compression fracture pain is often described as feeling like a painful muscle spasm. The pain is experienced when moving, and subsides when the patient is still.

Prevention

No matter what your age, there are ways you can minimize your risk for osteoporosis.

Nutrition: Incorporate vitamin D and calcium rich foods into your diet.

Exercise: Exercise regularly and safely–certain activities, like weight lifting, can be detrimental or put you at risk for injury if done incorrectly.

Testing: If you’re over 50, consider getting a bone density test. Consult this guide for details.

Supplements & Medications: Consult a physician and/or professional nutritionist to see if calcium or vitamin D supplements could be right for you. For some patients, bone-bulking bisphosphonate medication may also be helpful.

Treatment

Typically, the first step is to treat the pain caused by compression fractures, usually with medication, followed by bed rest. Once the patient has some relief, they may be prescribed physical therapy or fitted with a brace.

If these more conservative options don’t work, surgery may be suggested. Some of the surgeries used to treat compression fractures include  kyphoplasty, vertebroplasty, and spinal fusion.

Worried you may be suffering from compression fractures? Request an appointment with our spine care professionals.


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