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Osteoporotic Spine Fracture Symptoms

Thursday, Nov 15, 2018

An osteoporotic spine fracture is a fragility fracture of the spine, especially common in older women with osteoporosis, an illness which makes the bones brittle and prone to breakage. The compression fractures, tiny breaks in the bone, can range from mild to severe. They affect the vertebrae of the spine, there are several symptoms and treatment tactics that can heal the fractures and prevent further recurrences in the future. The most common symptom of osteoporotic spin fracture is back pain, especially one that doesn’t go away after a few days. Other symptoms of a fracture include:

  1. Pain that subsides when you lay down but intensifies when you sit or walk
  2. Body feeling stiff, trouble twisting or bending your body
  3. A loss of height due to the fracture
  4. A change in the shape of the spine to a more curved appearance, a hunched posture called kyphosis

Furthermore, the pain flares up when doing routine household tasks like lifting a bag of groceries or bending over to clean the bathroom. Any sudden movement or missteps trigger a pain response in the body, which is why the right diagnosis is important in treating osteoporotic spine fractures. An orthopedic doctor may prescribe rest, pain pills, and a back brace to help in the healing of a fracture. Many people will cease to feel pain as the bone heals, which usually takes 2-3 months. Other people will continue to feel pain at the site of the fracture, long after the break has been healed.

In the case that nonsurgical options do not alleviate the symptoms of an osteoporotic spine fracture, there are surgical methods such as vertebral augmentation procedure that doctors use to help patients.
These procedures are regulated by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons which base their recommendations for treatment on evidence- based information

The medical community wants more education about osteoporosis and spinal fractures. Osteoporosis is a silent disease, many patients including the ones most affected that are women, do not realize they have the illness until a fracture occurs. Osteoporotic spine fractures occur in 700,000 patients per year and are twice as likely to happen than other fractures related to osteoporosis. Screening for osteoporosis and bone density tests can educate women about the dangers of weakened and thinning bones.

Osteoporotic spine fractures occur frequently in men and women with osteoporosis, a “silent illness” that weakens bones to the point of breakage. When an osteoporotic spine fracture is diagnosed appropriately, in the care of a doctor, the patient’s bone will heal in about 3 months. The pain from some fractures lingers, the patient might experience less mobility and comfort. If the pain is not relieved by nonsurgical options, surgical treatments may alleviate the symptoms of the fracture. Most importantly, those affected by osteoporosis and the aging population should be educated on the symptoms and warning signs of the disease, so osteoporotic spine fractures can be prevented.