Patients' Guide To
Spinal Fractures & Kyphoplasty

Bone Loss In Your Spine

Telltale Signs You Might Have It

What are the signs and symptoms of bone loss in your spine? You may feel a dull pain in your bones or muscles at the onset of osteoporosis. But really, you can’t feel your bones weakening. In most cases, spinal compression fractures happen gradually.
 Man holding his low back, having pain.There are a few signs that may alert you to a spinal compression fracture—and they are back pain and changes in posture. However, there are a few signs that may alert you to a spinal compression fracture—and they are back pain and changes in posture. On the outside, these may seem indicative of something less serious. But in reality, they could be red flags of a spinal compression fracture.

Pay Attention to Back Pain
Back pain is a common medical condition, and most cases are not cause for serious concern. That’s why the symptoms of spinal compression fractures are often mistaken for less serious back pain. The type of back pain associated with spinal compression fractures runs a wide range: from sudden and severe to long-lasting and dull.

It's important that you don’t ignore back pain, even if it seems ordinary. Your back pain could actually be a spinal compression fracture. In fact, it's one of the primary symptoms of a fracture.

If you experience sudden back pain that lasts for more than a week, talk to your doctor. He or she has several diagnostic tools to confirm a spinal fracture and/or bone loss. Among the most common tests to understand the health of your bones is called a bone density exam, which your doctor may use to understand the true picture of your bone health.

Even if it's not a spinal compression fracture, it's important to let your doctor know about any changes in your back and/or neck health. He or she will get to the bottom of your back pain and craft a treatment plan to relieve it.

Pay Attention to Your Posture
If you have 1 spinal compression fracture, it greatly increases your odds of having a future fracture or fractures. This is an important fact because multiple spinal fractures aren’t just painful, they can also lead to spinal deformity. Over time, multiple fractures can cause your spine to shorten and abnormally curve forward.

Without proper treatment, the postural changes of compression fractures can alter the biomechanics of your spine and put you at risk for further fractures. With multiple fractures, you may lose inches in height. Your spine will likely also start hunching forward—this is the hallmark characteristic of a spinal deformity known as kyphosis.

Seeing Your Doctor Early Can Prevent Complications of Spinal Fractures
Don't dismiss back pain or poor posture as natural effects of aging. It's especially important for post-menopausal women to take note of any new back pain or posture changes, because the hormonal changes that occur during menopause put women at a heightened risk for bone loss. However, anyone can develop bone loss at any time.

Educate yourself on the risk factors and causes of osteoporosis, and don't hesitate to talk to your doctor about whether your back pain and posture changes could be something more serious, such as a spinal compression fracture.

When bone loss is detected early—ideally before a spinal compression fracture ever occurs—you can enjoy long-term pain relief and preserve the healthy structure of your spine. Several medications can help build your bone density, and lifestyle changes can boost your bone health as well. By keeping a close eye on any new pain or postural changes, you and your doctor can prevent bone loss from negatively impacting your life.

 

Updated on: 05/15/19
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Cancer and Spinal Fractures

Spinal compression fractures can be caused by many things. While osteoporosis is the most common cause, certain types of cancer can cause a spinal bone to break or fracture.
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