Osteoporosis is a common condition among older men and women. If you have osteoporosis, you may be at a higher risk for fractures. To prevent injury, it’s important to take steps to slow the progression of bone loss and protect your spine.
Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones in the spine become weak and brittle. This leads to an increased risk of fractures. Bones can become so fragile that mild movements like coughing or bending over can result in a fracture. Most common osteoporosis fractures occur in the hip, spine or wrist.
Our bodies continually make material to replace old bone. As we age, our bodies can’t keep up with the demand of bones wearing down. So, new bones are not replacing the old bone, leaving bones more fragile than normal.
Osteoporosis symptoms often don’t appear until bones are weakened. Some of the symptoms of osteoporosis include:
- Back pain
- Bone that easily breaks
- Loss of height
- Stooped posture
To treat osteoporosis, doctors commonly follow a conservative approach. This includes:
- Physical therapy – The first step in managing pain and other symptoms is physical therapy. A certified physical therapist will teach you stretches and strengthening exercises to improve flexibility and stability of the spine, strengthen muscles and reduce pain.
- Medicine – Medication can help slow bone loss and even improve bone density. Your doctor will talk to about the right medication, but it may include intravenous medication, injections, hormones or oral medication.
Your treatment plan may also include lifestyle modifications to reduce your risk of fractures. To improve your bone health:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Get plenty of exercise
- Quit smoking
- Avoid excessive alcohol intake
If you do experience complications from osteoporosis, such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis or fractured vertebra, the spine specialists at TriHealth and Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine can help you find relief with treatment tailored to your condition.
Osteoporosis risk factors
Several risk factors put you at higher risk of developing osteoporosis:
- Age – Your risk increases as you age
- Body size – Individuals with smaller body frames are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis
- Family history – You may be at higher risk if you have family members who had osteoporosis
- Gender – Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis
- Hormones – Reduced estrogen levels in women
- Race – White or Asian individuals are at higher risk of osteoporosis
- Thyroid – Too much thyroid hormones can cause bone loss
Other risk factors include:
- Celiac disease
- Eating disorders
- Gastrointestinal surgery
- Kidney or liver disease
- Low calcium intake
- Rheumatoid arthritis
You can keep your bones healthy and strong by living a healthy and active lifestyle:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Strengthen back and core muscles
- Eat healthy, including plenty of protein
- Make sure you get enough calcium – around 1,000-1,200 milligrams each day.
- Get enough vitamin D: 600-800 IU/day
Schedule an appointment
Take control of your osteoporosis and reduce your risk. To learn more or make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist: Call TriHealth at 513 246 2300 or our orthopedic partner, Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, at 513 354 3700.