Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the density of your bones, which can leave them susceptible to fracture. When the condition affects the vertebrae in your spine, it can lead to what’s known as vertebral compression fractures. These injuries are not only painful, but they can jeopardize the integrity of your spinal stability.
So how can you best stave off osteoporosis and prevent spinal fractures? We share those answers in today’s blog.
Since osteoporosis weakens our bones, it doesn’t take much trauma for a fracture to occur. Some people suffer spinal fractures without significant acute trauma, and the problem is caught by the onset of symptoms. Pain is the most common symptom, but other symptoms include:
It’s also worth noting that fractures in the lumbar spine generally have worse symptoms than fractures in the upper spine. It’s also possible to suffer multiple vertebral compression fractures at the same time.
Women are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis than men, but age plays the most significant role. Our bones become more brittle as we age, and by age 80, roughly 40 percent of women have suffered at least one spinal fracture. Older men are also prone to osteoporosis and as a result spinal fractures, so it’s important to work to strengthen your bones as you age.
Preventing osteoporosis begins by taking care of your health into your wonder years. It’s not as easy to retain bone density as we age, so we have to make sure our bodies are getting the right vitamins and nutrients. When it comes to your diet, be sure to get the recommended daily amount of calcium and Vitamin D. You can get these from leafy green vegetables, dairy products and other healthy food choices. For those who can’t get enough from their diet, supplementation in the form of a pill is also beneficial.
Another key aspect in preventing osteoporosis and spinal fractures is by staying active and exercising. Exercising helps to strengthen bones and the ligaments and soft tissues that support them. Make it a point to exercise 4-5 times a week for at least 30 minutes each session.
Finally, know your family history and be proactive about preventing and checking for any potential issues. If you know that osteoporosis runs in your family, follow the above prevention tips and let your spine specialist or primary care doctor know about your family history. They can give you more tips for preventing issues, and they can also conduct bone density scans to detect bone loss or changes in the integrity of the bone structure.
For more information about osteoporosis or spinal fractures, reach out to Dr. Chang’s office today.
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