Spine Osteoporosis

What is Spine Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis occurs when your bones become more fragile, possibly resulting in fracture.

When this occurs in your spine, it may result in vertebral fractures and back pain. Because osteoporosis lowers your bone density, it’s important to prevent falls, which can lead to fractures.

What Causes Spine Osteoporosis?

Your body is continuously replacing tissue, including bone. When your body doesn’t make enough bone or reabsorbs too much during this process, you may develop osteoporosis.

You may be genetically predisposed to spine osteoporosis. Other risk factors may include:

  • Not consuming enough calcium and vitamin D to build new bone as part of a healthy diet
  • Smoking or drinking large amounts of alcohol
  • Low body weight
  • Exposure to select other diseases
  • Chronic steroid use

Osteoporosis is especially common in women. Women have additional risk factors for osteoporosis, including reduced estrogen after menopause and long periods without menstruation.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Spine Osteoporosis

You likely won’t notice any symptoms of osteoporosis in the early stages. In later stages, you may notice:

  • Pain, often the result of a compression fracture in the spine
  • Loss of height
  • Changes to posture, including stooping or a hump

Spine osteoporosis is often diagnosed using a bone mineral density test, or a spine X-ray.

Treatment of Spine Osteoporosis

Treatment of osteoporosis typically includes medications and lifestyle changes to improve bone density.

Lifestyle changes may include:

  • Exercises, such as jogging, weight-lifting (low weight, high repetition) and balance exercises like yoga and tai chi
  • Increasing your intake of vitamin D and calcium
  • Quitting smoking and lessening your alcohol intake
  • Preventing falls, which can lead to fractures

Next Steps with MyChart

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