Osteoporosis and your spine - PhysioFusion
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a slow developing condition whereby the density and the quality of the bone are reduced, making them become more fragile. This process occurs over a number of years and in most cases is only diagnosed when small trauma or a minor fall causes a fracture.
Causes of osteoporosis
The loss of bone density is a normal process the body goes through as part of the ageing process; however this can occur at a quicker rate in some people.
Women can lose their bone density at a faster rate in the first few years after the menopause due to hormone levels and production.
Other causes/factors for developing osteoporosis are:
- Long term use of high-dose steroids
- Other hormone related and inflammatory medical conditions
- Family history of the condition
- Medication which affects bone density and hormone production
Spinal pain and osteoporosis
Spinal pain related to osteoporosis is caused by fractures of the vertebrae, which are more commonly called compression fractures, which can cause severe back pain. Fractures of the lower part of your spine tend to cause more pain and difficulty when moving.
Symptoms of these types of fractures are:
- Sudden, severe back pain
- Pain which worsens when you stand or walk
- Difficulty with bending or twisting movements
- Reduction in height
- Curvature/stooping of the spine
Treatment of compression fractures
The initial treatment is to reduce/control the level of pain which is usually done through the use of painkillers and anti-inflammatories. However, depending on your medical history, acupuncture can also be used as an effective way of reducing pain levels.
Physiotherapy treatment/management will consist of:
- Gentle manual techniques and soft tissue release
- Exercise program to strengthen your back and core muscles predominantly. Strengthening of the gluteal and lower limb muscles also helps to further your support your spine
- Pilates again to strengthen supporting muscles but also aid with posture
- Sustain sessions at a time-frame to suit the management of your symptoms, reducing the possibility of flare up, ensuring that you are kept at your most functional