Living With Osteoporosis Of The Spine
Bone thinning and loss of bone strength is common as we age. Osteoporosis is one such condition where the bones become extremely weak that they end up breaking. Most often, people do not experience symptoms until the bone breaks. Bone in the spine is more vulnerable to fractures than the other bones and living with osteoporosis of the spine can be quite depressing.
The bones of our spine consist of trabecular bone and the outer layer of cortical bone. Trabecular bone lies closely with the bone marrow, facilitating bone formation and loss. When bone loss occurs at a high rate, the trabecular bone gets vastly affected. When one of the spinal column's bones collapses, it results in a vertebral fracture. They occur due to falls and trauma. People with weak bones suffer from such fractures even on minimum exertion like turning over in bed, lifting objects, etc.
What Does Living With Osteoporosis Of The Spine Feel Like?
Spinal osteoporosis is not much talked about and is treated as regular back pain. In reality, that is not the case. People living with osteoporosis of the spine battle pain, tingling, weakness, and deformities daily. This is a significant blow to the quality of life. Hence it is crucial to visit your physician or bone specialist if you have back pain lasting more than two weeks. Ignoring symptoms of pain can worsen the condition.
How Severe Is Osteoporosis Of The Spine?
Living with osteoporosis of the spine means the spinal cord will no longer be able to support the body. As a result, the person will suffer from hunched posture and loss of height. Spine osteoporosis leads to severe deformity and depression, and it restricts movement to the point of being bedridden for days.
Living with osteoporosis of the spine is a serious problem that causes major distress, disability and pain. Still, it is brushed off as just another case of back pain. Spine fractures are under-recognized when it is detected at a milder stage. As a result, the person does not receive diagnosis and treatment on time.
Spine osteoporosis is more common among women, and this risk increases two folds after hitting 70. Every 22 seconds, one person suffers a spinal fracture worldwide. One in five women who suffered a spinal fracture will most likely get another fracture within a year.
What Can Be Done For Osteoporosis Of The Spine?
Receiving a diagnosis for a long-term illness like osteoporosis can be life-altering. Isolation, anxiety and depression are pretty standard among newly diagnosed individuals.Treatment for osteoporosis can help you manage your symptoms effectively and bring a way to lead a productive and problem-free life.
Effective medicines are widely available to reduce spinal fractures, especially for postmenopausal women, as they are the most vulnerable. Tell your physician if you have any other health issues before proceeding with the medications. Treatment for osteoporosis include medications like alendronate, denosumab, zoledronate, raloxifene, etc. These are highly effective in minimizing the risk of bone loss and further complications. Discuss the dose, timing and method of taking these medicines with your physician.
Your physician will also prescribe pain-relieving medications, steroid injections, calcium and vitamin D supplements, along with the treatment regimen. You might need complete bed rest for a few days depending on the severity of your spine osteoporosis. A physiotherapist will guide you on postural exercises, muscle strengthening, abdominal strengthening and fall prevention.
In extreme cases where your pain is unmanageable, your physician might suggest you undergo surgery. Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are the two common surgical approaches to compress vertebral fractures. Vertebroplasty involves inserting a needle through the back to fill the affected part with bone cement. In comparison, kyphoplasty is a procedure where a balloon is inserted and expanded in the compression fracture to recover the collapsed bone.
It is good to stay active and implement exercise into your routine. If you have osteoporosis or low bone mass, ask your healthcare provider regarding the activities you should and should not do. Resistance training with the help of a physical therapist can help build muscle strength and bone density. It will be effective even for older people who are at a high risk of fractures.
Some weight-bearing exercises are incredibly beneficial to maintain bone mass, but a few activities are not recommended. For example, your healthcare provider will suggest you stay away from heavy weight lifting, sit-ups and other workouts that cause stress to the spinal cord.
What Are The Natural Remedies For Osteoporosis Of The Spine?
You could also try a few home remedies to ease your symptoms apart from the medicines. Warm baths, hot packs, cold packs can effectively alleviate pain.
Relaxation techniques and hypnotherapy help relieve muscle tension and shift your focus from pain. Deep breathing, muscle relaxation and usage of guided imagery are some prominent examples of relaxing techniques. You can practice these techniques through classes, books, videos, etc. Try combining these natural remedies along with your treatment regimen.
Evade Osteoporosis By Embracing Your Bone Health:
Be aware to prevent osteoporosis and avoid it from controlling your life. If you happen to encounter back pain, consult a spine specialist and schedule an osteoporosis screening. Love your bones and serve up bone strength by healthy diet and lifestyle.