Spinal Osteoporosis

Spinal Osteoporosis Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Spinal osteoporosis is a condition that is characterized by the destruction of bone tissue which leads to loss of bone mass and an increased susceptibility to fracture.  Fortunately, spinal osteoporosis can be prevented and treated if it is detected on time. However, osteoporosis awareness is not common and too many individuals, especially women over age 50, suffer from serious illness and sometimes even die from this condition.

While spinal osteoporosis on its own does not lead to back pain, it can weaken the spine and make it impossible for it to withstand normal stress or a small trauma such as a fall. This causes a fracture which is almost always the first symptom of this disease. Individuals who develop advanced spinal osteoporosis are often forced to cope with great pain and immobility.

Type I osteoporosis which is most common in post menopausel women occurs when the amount of estrogen in their bodies significantly decreases. This prompts the bones to lose substance and weaken. Type II osteoporosis is also known as senile osteoporosis and usually occurs after the age of 70. It is also more common in women than men.

What are the Symptoms of Spinal Osteoporosis?

Unfortunately, osteoporosis can be present without any signs and symptoms. This is because osteoporosis typically starts showing symptoms when a bone fracture occurs. Therefore, you may not be aware of your osteoporosis until you experience an osteoporotic fracture. Pain is the main symptom that is related to these fractures and the location of the pain has to do with where the fracture is located. Osteoporosis symptoms are similar in both men and women.

What Causes Spinal Osteoporosis?

Spinal osteoporosis starts with the process of bone loss that usually begins when someone is in their early to late thirties. From the early to late thirties to the start of menopause, women gradually lose a certain amount of bone. The spongy bone or the trabecular bone is lost at a rate of approximately 1% every year while the hard bone or the cortical bone is lost at a rate of about 0.5% every year.

Bone remodeling is taking away more bone than is added. In women, estrogen plays a vital role in keeping the bones strong because it assists in keeping bone remodeling rates low. Osteoclasts or the bone-eating cells and osteoblasts or the bone-forming cells are the two types of cells that trigger bone remodeling. When estrogen is not present, the osteoclasts take over and more bone is removed than laid down. This results in the loss of bone loss and fractures.

How is Spinal Osteoporosis Treated?

To treat spinal osteoporosis, education on diet, exercise, and certain medications is important. The main goal of treating osteoporosis is to prevent the painful fractures that it causes.

  • Education. Patients with spinal osteoporosis must be educated on proper nutrition and how much Vitamin D and calcium they should consume. In addition, advice on exercise and how to help maintain healthy bone density is also essential.
  • Medications. A variety of medications can be prescribed to help minimize the risk of fractures and treat osteoporosis. These medications strengthen the bones and work to stop bone loss in the future. Popular drugs that slow bone resorption include Calcitonin, Bisphosphonates, and estrogen or hormone therapy. The osteoporosis medication that increases bone formation is a parathyroid hormone called Teriparatide.

For the very best care for your spinal osteoporosis, EmergeOrtho: Foothills Region is the optimal choice. Our team of board-certified spine and pain experts welcome patients without an MRI and look forward to helping you find relief as soon as possible.

If you do need surgery or another procedure, you can enjoy the convenience of being treated at multiple nearby hospitals in the Unifour area. Frye Regional Medical Center & Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory.