Despite common belief, the bones are not solid structures that serve the single purpose of providing a framework for the body. In fact, bones are very active and create red and white blood cells for the circulatory system, all while continually losing and rebuilding their own structure. However, with time, the activity of the body’s bones tends to slow down, and osteoporosis can occur when bone loss occurs more quickly than bone replacement. The result is bone with a less dense, or porous, infrastructure.
At The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration, Doctor Hyun Bae, MD and his team work with many patients who not only have osteoporosis, but who experience chronic back or neck pain as a result. Today, we’re going to share some information about the condition and what can be done to alleviate associated pain or discomfort.
Who Gets Osteoporosis?
Both men and women can develop osteoporosis, but women are four times more likely to develop the condition. The typical individual who has osteoporosis is:
- Over age 50
- Caucasian or Asian
- Of shorter stature
Living with Osteoporosis
Individuals who live with osteoporosis are at risk for developing fractures anywhere in the body. In a person with a fragile bone structure, a sneeze or vigorous cough can be enough to cause a bone to break. Great care must also be taken to prevent falls, and individuals should also avoid activities that put too much stress on the skeletal system.
Osteoporosis and Spinal Pain
Many individuals who are living with osteoporosis develop fractures in the vertebrae along the spinal column, which is the leading cause of spinal pain in that group. In fact 40% of women over age 80 have fractures of the spine. In some cases, the bones are weakened to the point that the normal support of the body is too much strain, and a fracture occurs. Patients who live with a higher risk of fracture can take precautions to safeguard their spine which include:
- Bracing the arms against the chest when sneezing or coughing
- Avoiding bending at the waist
- Avoiding lifting heavy objects
- Performing physician-approved core strengthening exercises to provide support to the spine
If you or an aging parent or loved one is living with spinal pain that results from osteoporosis, visit our website at www.laspine.com or reach out to us directly at (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation. We’ll be able to examine your symptoms and abilities and help provide you with information about treatment options.