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Compression Fractures and Back Pain: What to Know if You Have Osteoporosis

As you age, you become more susceptible to certain conditions like osteoporosis. When you're young, your bone regenerates faster than it deteriorates, resulting in strong, healthy bones.

However, that process slows as you age, allowing the bones to deteriorate faster than they rebuild. When this happens, the bones weaken and become less dense, causing osteoporosis.

The trouble with osteoporosis is that it's often silent, only showing signs when you break a bone from a superficial injury or fall. Compression fractures in the spine are especially prevalent in those living with the disease.

At Kellogg Brain and Spine, Dr. Jordi Kellogg and his team offer fast and efficient treatment for back pain and spinal compression fractures. Dr. Kellogg is an experienced neurosurgeon who fixes compression fractures and gives tips on how to prevent osteoporosis from further damaging your spine.

Quick facts on osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which the bones become porous and weak. Bone remodeling happens throughout life, where the bone cells die and rebuild constantly to maintain the bone's strength.

As you age, you lose more bone than you regenerate, weakening the bones. Osteoporosis also causes the bones to become quite porous, further weakening their structure.

Unfortunately, most people who have osteoporosis don't know it because there aren't often any symptoms. The first diagnosis of osteoporosis typically happens after an injury, and the doctor finds a broken bone.

Anyone can get osteoporosis, although it's more common as you age. Women are more susceptible than men because of the hormonal changes they undergo during menopause. However, both sexes can get osteoporosis.

Understanding compression fractures

Compression fractures are a common type of broken bone that people living with osteoporosis experience. They're especially prevalent in the spine, as they take on much of the body's load.

Vertebrae are the bones that compose the spine. They protect the spinal cord and allow you to move and bend. These bony structures are strong, except when osteoporosis takes over.

A compression fracture occurs when the vertebrae become too weak to continue supporting the spine, allowing them to collapse under the pressure. These fractures typically occur suddenly but don't always cause pain or symptoms.

Dr. Kellogg often finds compression fractures in older adults who have back pain after a fall or other type of trauma. They show up on an X-ray, even if you don't have symptoms. However, those who do have symptoms may have any of the following:

Many compression fractures go untreated for long periods, especially if there aren't any symptoms. However, without treatment, other compression fractures may occur or get worse, causing the spine to shorten and a noticeable hunch to appear in the back.

Preventing fractures with osteoporosis

If you're living with osteoporosis, you're at a heightened risk for compression fractures. Understanding both conditions is essential to stay ahead of the disease and keep your spine strong and healthy.

Although you can't stop the aging process, you can take specific steps to prevent compression fractures in the spine. Lifestyle tips Dr. Kellogg recommends include the following:

Women entering menopause should be prudent because of fluctuating estrogen levels. Be sure to have regular check-ups to monitor your bone health as you age.

If you do have a compression fracture, Dr. Kellogg can fix it through a surgical technique called a kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty. These procedures fix the fracture and restore the height of the vertebrae to prevent further complications.

Call Kellogg Brain and Spine today to schedule a consultation for back pain with Dr. Kellogg, or request an appointment on this website.

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