Osteoporosis: Treatment Goals and Prevention

Treatment ButtonTreatment OptionsA diagnosis of osteoporosis does not have to mean a sentence to pain and inactivity. The goals of treatment are four-fold: (1) reduce bone loss, (2) prevent fracture, (3) control pain, and (4) prevent disability.

• Alendrontate (Fosamax®) and Raloxifene (Evista®) are among drugs available by prescription to help control bone loss and reduce the risk for future fracture. Calcitonin may be recommended as a nasal spray.

•There are many options for pain management including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), narcotics, topical pain relieving agents, bracing or flexible corsets, and nerve block injections.

•Padded hip protectors help protect fragile bones.

•Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) (Estrogen) may be an option for some women. Discuss the risks and advantages with your doctor.

•Physical therapy teaches long-term skills to move safely and prevent falls. Specific exercises work to stretch and strengthen the body while increasing range of motion. Exercise can help to combat weakness and build endurance. Physical therapists can also help patients manage their pain with heat, ice, and ultrasound.

•Kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty are surgical procedures that may be offered to treat a spinal fracture.

Kyphoplasty, also known as balloon kyphoplasty is a newer procedure. It involves placing a catheter with a balloon into a compressed vertebral body and slowly inflating the balloon to reduce the fracture. A special surgical cement is then injected into the space created by the balloon. The procedure stabilizes the fracture and restores vertebral body height.

Vertebroplasty is similar, except a balloon is not used in this procedure. A cement mixture of polymethylmethacrylate, barium power (cement inside vertebral body visible under x-ray), tobramycin (an antibiotic), and a solvent are injected into the vertebral body by means of a metal needle. The cement hardens and lends support and stability to the fractured vertebra.

The Best Medicine is Prevention
You can bank on your bones for life if you take control now by talking to your doctor about what preventive steps are best for you! Eating a nutritious and well-balanced diet with plenty of calcium-fortified foods can help. For example, each of the following foods provide 300 mg of calcium:

-1 slice Swiss cheese
-1-1/2 ounce cheddar cheese
-2-1/4 cups cottage cheese
-4 cups broccoli
-3/4 cup whole dried almonds
-11 dried figs

Your doctor should recommend Vitamin D, and Calcium supplements. You need at least 1500 mgs of Calcium per day. Also, regular weight-bearing exercise and sunlight benefit the bones! Avoid smoking, alcohol, and a diet high in sodium and protein. A few lifestyle changes can help you stay on an active and fun path for life!

Updated on: 07/28/15
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Osteoporosis: The Silent Thief
This article explains in a clear and easily understood fashion the basic physiology of osteoporosis, risk factors, causes of osteoporosis, and reviews current treatment options with an appropriate emphasis upon prevention. This article will provide a general resource for patients seeking a clear explanation of this disease process.
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Osteoporosis: The Silent Thief

Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and fragile. This can cause loss of height, humpback (kyphosis), and debilitating pain. It's a "silent thief" because you often don't know you're losing bone density until you fracture a vertebra.
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