As you get older, your body goes through a lot of different changes. Some of these changes are preventable, while others may be passed genetically. Osteoporosis is one of those disorders that you can try to prevent with lifestyle changes. However, if you’ve already been dealing with the effects of osteoporosis, finding the right type of treatment is key.
At the Spine and Orthopedic Center of New Mexico, our team is ready to help you deal with all aspects of osteoporosis care; your bone health is our priority.
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease that leads to porous bones in any part of your body. When your bones become more porous, they become weaker and more brittle. That’s why osteoporosis usually leads to easily broken bones.
The inside of your bones looks like a honeycomb — dense, with small spaces throughout. The spaces are filled with blood and bone marrow, which help keep the bone alive and healthy. As osteoporosis gets worse, those spaces on the inside of the bone become larger, leading to a weaker, more brittle structure.
Your bone rebuilds itself almost constantly — meaning when you lose a little bone, your body quickly works to replace it. However, with osteoporosis, you’re losing more bone than your body is rebuilding, setting you up for bone fractures and other problems.
You begin losing bone mass around the age of 35 as a normal part of the aging process. However, if you have osteoporosis, you lose bone mass much more quickly than someone who doesn’t have the disease. Women are much more prone to getting this disease than men.
Signs and symptoms of the disorder
Osteoporosis is sometimes called a silent disorder — meaning you normally don’t know you have it until you suffer a fractured bone. Early on in osteoporosis, you’ll most likely feel just the same as you always have. However, over time as the disease progresses, there are some signs you can look out for, including:
- Decrease in height
- Lower back pain
- Postural changes
- Shortness of breath
The most obvious symptom, and usually the first clue that you have osteoporosis, is a broken bone. As osteoporosis progresses, the easier it is to break a bone. It could occur from a simple fall, or in severe cases, moving incorrectly or even coughing or sneezing.
Compression fractures in your spine, also known as vertebral compression fractures, are very common in older adults who suffer from osteoporosis. This injury usually causes sudden intense pain in your back. This type of fracture may occur after an injury like a fall, or could just be due to your normal activities.
Treatment that can help
Treatment for osteoporosis consists of many different types of therapy to help make your bones stronger. This could involve certain medications, each of which helps you stop the bone loss. Some of the medications you could be prescribed include:
- Monoclonal antibody medications
- Hormone therapy
- Bone building medications
However, if you have osteoporosis and have suffered from a compression fracture in your spine, treatment involves treating the fractured vertebrae. Spine and Orthopedic Center Team may initially recommend treatments like a brace to stabilize the fracture.
However, if these measures don’t work, you may be a candidate for a minimally invasive type of surgery called kyphoplasty. This procedure is also known as balloon vertebral augmentation, and not only helps to relieve your pain, but also helps with your mobility without the long recovery time of traditional open surgery.
This minimally invasive surgical procedure is performed while you are sedated. Dr. Osmani makes one or two tiny incisions on either side of the fractured vertebrae. Once Dr. Osmani finds the correct location with X-ray, he drills into the bone through a probe on both sides of the fracture. One or two small balloons are then inflated to correct the loss of height in the vertebrae.
After the balloons are removed, Dr. Osmani fills the voids in your bone with a medical grade cement, that helps to stabilize the fracture and decrease the pain in your back. This cement dries very fast, and you’ll usually be able to get up and walk around the same day.
If you’re dealing with osteoporosis and need treatment, the Spine and Orthopedic Center of New Mexico team can help. Call our office at 575-623-9101 or book an appointment.