Published on: 31-Mar-2023
Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by decreased bone density and an increased risk of fractures. Typically common among the elderly, the risk of developing osteoporosis may start at age 50, which is when bone degeneration elevates, especially in women.
Osteoporosis often develops slowly over time, and may not cause symptoms until a fracture occurs. Also, the signs and symptoms of this bone disorder are frequently overlooked or confused with those of other health issues. Here are four common symptoms associated with osteoporosis, and the available treatment options.
Mild to Severe Back Pain
Osteoporosis may cause mild to severe back pain that can range from a dull ache to more intense discomfort. The pain may also be accompanied by tightness, throbbing sensations, and stabbing pains that increase in intensity with time.
Not only is the area directly affected by the loss of bone density vulnerable to increased pain, but nerve pathways may be compromised as well – resulting in radiating pains over larger areas of your body. Moreover, you may also find yourself experiencing sharp pains when trying to move or twist your torso.
Loss of Height and Formation of a Dowager’s Hump
With the progression of osteoporosis, the spine may begin to curve – which can result in losing some height. If left untreated for long enough, a significant spinal curvature towards the neck region may form what is known as “Dowager’s Hump”, also known as hyper kyphosis or kyphosis. This can be visible even when wearing clothes because it changes your overall posture when standing or sitting down. If the problem is caught early enough, however, it might still be possible to prevent the formation of Dowager’s Hump.
Increased Pain in Joints, Muscles, and Bones
As Osteoporosis progresses, pain can become more frequent and intense within the joints, bones, and muscles throughout your body. This pain is often more acute in areas surrounding the spine or the thigh bone due to their lack of flexibility when dealing with the loss of bone density.
Something as simple as a sneeze could cause shooting pains across your ribs or up your legs, as weakened bone structures inside these areas become more vulnerable to stress from everyday motions.
Increased Risk of Fractures
As Osteoporosis progresses, bones become weakened and more prone to fractures – sometimes from everyday activities, minor falls, or bumping into something around the house. Not all fractures are serious, but some can be debilitating if located near major joints like your hip or shoulder.
Moreover, these fractures specifically occur with low-impact incidents that wouldn’t have caused significant harm to an otherwise healthy individual. This thus limits the exercises and sporting activities that people with osteoporosis can participate in, as sports injuries could have catastrophic impacts.
Common Treatments for Osteoporosis
The primary goal in treating osteoporosis is to prevent further bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures. Your doctor, geriatrician, or rheumatologist may suggest lifestyle changes such as physical activity, a healthy diet, and drinking less alcohol or smoking cessation.
They may also prescribe medications like bisphosphonates, denosumab, calcitonin, and parathyroid hormone, which are often used to help build up the bones or stop them from breaking down further. Anabolic drugs are occasionally prescribed as well, especially if other treatments fail or severe pain is present.
A combination of dietary supplements or physical therapy might also be recommended depending on an individual’s specific needs.
Finding the Right Rheumatologist
If you suspect or have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it is best to seek medical attention right away. You’ll want to look for a qualified rheumatologist who can determine the best treatment options for your needs and condition.
Make sure to ask friends, family members, and your healthcare provider for recommendations of reliable healthcare professionals in your local area, so you can be properly assessed and advised regarding effective treatments.
For example, if you are currently living in New York City, there are several highly knowledgeable rheumatologists situated throughout the city boroughs who specialize in treating osteoporotic conditions. A good rheumatologist in NYC can provide support, advice, and a treatment plan tailored specifically for you to ensure the best outcomes.
While the condition can affect the quality of life in a big way, detecting, treating, and managing osteoporosis requires a qualified doctor’s guidance. The good news is that it’s treatable through various approaches that help in strengthening the affected bones over time!
But as much as osteoporosis comes with several classical symptoms, the only way to know for sure is to seek a physician’s advice.