What are osteoporosis spine fractures, and how are they treated?
If you’re one of the 44 million Americans who have osteoporosis, your risk of fractures in your spine and elsewhere in your body increases. As many as 700,000 osteoporosis patients have a spinal fracture every year.
Here at OrthoNeuro in Columbus, Ohio, our Orthopedic Spine Surgeons diagnose and treat vertebral compression fractures and other osteoporosis-related spine problems.
Osteoporosis is a progressive disease that decreases bone density. Bone loss weakens your bones and increases your risk of fractures throughout your body. Osteoporosis develops gradually, and you could have the disease for years without noticing any symptoms.
Osteoporosis is usually age-related as your body’s ability to generate new bone tissue slows and eventually can’t keep up with your body’s needs.
Other osteoporosis risk factors include auto-immune conditions such as arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, cancer, and bariatric surgery.
A broken bone is often the first sign of osteoporosis. Patients with osteoporosis are most likely to break their wrist, hip, or spine. You may also notice height loss, scoliosis, or develop a dowager’s hump.
Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.
The decline of estrogen that women experience as they approach and reach menopause can accelerate bone loss.
In most cases, osteoporosis leads to vertebral compression fractures. The lost bone density makes your vertebrae weak, narrow, and flat.
This causes a rounded or humped back as well as increases your risk of a compression fracture. Too much pressure on a weakened vertebra can cause it to crack and collapse.
Your spine is built to twist and bend, but osteoporosis-related bone loss can increase your risk of a spine fracture while doing everyday actions such as reaching, twisting, or even coughing or sneezing.
Osteoporosis spine fractures cause back pain, usually near the break itself. Your pain becomes more severe when you move or shift positions. Lying down or resting can ease your pain.
You may have radiant pain or other symptoms if the fracture compresses your spinal cord or any of the peripheral nerve roots. This could lead to conditions such as sciatica or cervical radiculopathy.
The OrthoNeuro orthopedic surgeons provide physical exams and diagnostic tests, including X-rays and MRIs, to diagnose and locate fractured vertebrae. They collect your health information and medical history to learn about your symptoms and lifestyle.
The doctors at OrthoNeuro offer customized treatment plans for spine fractures. Your condition may improve with a short period of rest and pain medications.
Your orthopedic surgeon might also recommend a back brace to immobilize your spine so your vertebral compression fracture can heal.
Some patients may need a surgical procedure to repair a vertebral compression fracture. OrthoNeuro offers vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty to repair your damaged vertebra.
Both spine surgery options are minimally invasive procedures, and your doctor can treat more than one vertebrae at a time.
You lie on your front during vertebroplasty, and your surgeon uses X-ray guidance to locate your fractured vertebra.
They insert a hollow needle into your broken vertebra and inject surgical cement. When the cement hardens, it fills and stabilizes your vertebra.
Kyphoplasty is a similar procedure, except your surgeon first inserts a small surgical balloon into your broken vertebra.
They inflate the balloon to create space inside your vertebra before injecting the surgical cement.
Whether you have nonsurgical or surgical treatment, the goals are pain relief, increased bone strength, and a safe return to your regular activities.
You can improve and protect your bone mineral density to lower your risk of osteoporosis and compression fractures. Including adequate calcium and vitamin D in your diet helps maintain your bone mass and strength.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Many dairy products are supplemented with vitamin D. Additionally, a limited amount of sunshine helps your body make vitamin D.
You can take calcium and vitamin D supplements, but talk to your doctor and have blood tests to determine how much of these nutrients you need to optimize your bone health.
Regular exercise is also essential to keeping your bones strong. In general, doctors recommend aiming for 30 minutes of moderate activity three to five times a week to maintain your overall health.
Weight-bearing exercises like walking, hiking, and weight lifting are excellent ways to support your bone health.
An added benefit of regular exercise is that it can reduce your risk of falls and lower your chances of breaking a bone.
Call OrthoNeuro today or make an appointment online if you have concerns about osteoporosis, spine fractures, or other spinal problems.
If you are suffering from a spine fracture, schedule an appointment with one of our Board Certified Spine Specialists at one of our 7 convenient locations throughout Greater Columbus.
We will evaluate your unique lifestyle and goals to determine which type of treatment is best for you.
Orthopedic Spine Surgeon
Interventional Pain Management Specialist
“I recently had surgery on my lower back. I had heard that such surgery would result in pain and cause me difficulties in doing ordinary daily tasks but, I experienced no pain and was able to do normal activities at home and at church. Also, being a bee keeper, I was able to work the hives and extract the honey from most of the hives”
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