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Osteoporosis and Back Pain

Osteoporosis is a type of bone disorder characterized by weak, brittle and porous bones. Weak bone density ushers in this condition, and an estimated 10 million people in the US suffer from Osteoporosis, while an additional 40 million have low bone density, or Osteopenia. This ailment is prevalent in women and in older people over 50 years old, and usually affects the bones of the spine, wrist and hips.

Diagnosing Osteoporosis

It is advisable to confirm an early diagnosis of Osteoporosis before it fully develops with full-blown symptoms. The heartening thing about this disorder is that it can be detected early through bone density scans. Those belonging to the high risk groups – women and people in their middle age – should undertake testing for the disease.

CT scans, Ultrasounds or DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) are some of the tests that can be performed to measure bone density. Results of these periodic tests can be compared over the years to determine whether there has been any improvement or deterioration. Based on test results, the physician can draw up a treatment programme for the stage of the condition diagnosed.

High Risk Factors

There are various risk factors that increase the risks of developing Osteoporosis. Early recognition of these factors can be the first step towards preventing the occurrence of the disease. These factors include:

1.) Gender – women are more predisposed towards developing Osteoporosis.

2.) Genetics – a family history of low bone density increases the risk for acquiring the disease.

3.) Lack of exercise – leading a sedentary lifestyle may be conducive to the development of porous bones.

4.) Unhealthy eating – Vitamin and mineral deficiencies from having a poor diet can cause the early onset of Osteoporosis.

Tips for Preventing Osteoporosis

1.) Regular exercise – adequate exercise, particularly strength training, can develop stronger bones which can counter the symptoms of Osteoporosis.

2.) A healthy and balanced diet – especially one rich in Calcium and Vitamin D, will go a long way in preventing Osteoporosis.

3.) Recognizing all the risk factors – early detection of the disease and immediate medical consultation can alleviate initial symptoms through an effective treatment plan drawn up by a doctor.

Recommendations for Preventing Osteoporosis

Leading a healthy and well-balanced life will prevent the occurrence of Osteoporosis much later. However, little concern for one’s health will manifest in a host of ailments, including Osteoporosis, as the body continues to age. Osteoporosis is a preventable disease, and keeping constant early vigilance of one’s health may just be the cure.

Treating Osteoporosis

Treatment for Osteoporosis can be administered once the disease exhibits more cumbersome symptoms. Although early prevention is preferable, several types of treatments can deal with the condition, including a medical remedy for porous bones. Osteoporosis can be treated in all of its stages, and the different treatment options include:

1.) Hormone therapy – works to replace hormone loss which is partially responsible for low bone density.

2.) Bisphosphonates – these drugs mimic the effect of hormone therapy. They prevent bone loss and even restore lost bone mass. However, these medications have side effects which include nausea and digestive tract disorders.

3.) Other Osteoporosis medications – drugs like Cacitonin, Teraparatide and Tamoxifen can treat the different types of the disease.

4.) Physical Therapy – can help prevent additional bone loss and even develop new bone tissue. It can enhance muscle and ligament strength for the support of weak bones.

Treating Vertebral Fractures Caused by Osteoporosis

A person suffering from Osteoporosis is prone to vertebral fractures. Most of these fractures are painless, and some minor ones require little or no treatment. However, in cases where vertebral fractures are painful in the sufferer, painkillers may be prescribed, or a more natural treatment option, like acupuncture, may be recommended to relieve the back pain.

If the fracture is severe in nature and affects spinal integrity, surgery may be a last option. Vertebroplasty is one of the most common procedures undertaken to repair a fractured vertebral bone. If the severity of the fracture has resulted in spinal compression, or has affected more than one spinal level, a procedure known as kyphoplasty may be performed as well.

Treatment Recommendations for Osteoporosis

Unfortunately, most if not all of the treatments for Osteoporosis can cause side-effects. Prevention is considered the best treatment for the disease. Having a healthy diet and regular exercise while younger will prevent the onset of weak, porous and brittle bones in old age. If treatment becomes necessary, consulting a doctor will help in making a well-informed choice in the number of treatment options available, including awareness of the various side-effects of each.

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