Symptoms of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis can sneak up on you—especially considering there are no symptoms during the early stages of the disease. However, many people show no symptoms until they suffer a broken bone.
This condition is quite common and affects approximately 3 million Americans each year. While osteoporosis cannot be cured, treatment can help to manage chronic pain. The progression of osteoporosis usually begins with no symptoms, and then it progresses into a dull pain. This dull pain can become sharp and throbbing, and is usually worsened with excess weight on the bones.
Osteoporosis translates to “porous bones,” meaning that they lose substance as well as calcium and other minerals needed for strength. Although those with the condition do not have bones that look unusual, their bones do have significantly less strength, making a fall or fracture more damaging.
Neck and Back Pain
If a vertebrae were to collapse, the nerves between the spinal column can be pinched, causing pain and tenderness. These compression fractures of the spine can affect all parts of the body, considering the spine is the center of the skeletal system.
A fracture is one of the most common signs of osteoporosis. Due to the bones being exceptionally fragile, the slightest tweak or fall can sometimes result in a fracture.
Loss of Height
The compression of the vertebrae can sometimes result in a loss of height. In some cases, the spine will curve and give the illusion of stooped posture. This is called Kyphosis and can cause additional neck and back pain. In some cases, Kyphosis can even affect breathing due to excess pressure on the airways.
Risk Factors for Women
- European or American Background
- Poor Overall Health
- Smoking Tobacco
- Estrogen Deficiency
- Low Body Weight
- Early Menopause
- Going More Than a Year Without a Menstrual Period (Prior to Menopause)
- Lifelong Low Calcium Intake
- Poor Vision
Risk Factors for Men
- Low Level of Testosterone
- Chronic Disease Involving the Kidneys, Lungs, or Intestines
- Smoking Tobacco
- Low Calcium Intake
- Taking Seizure Medication
When to See a Doctor
- If you’re experiencing back pain, loss of height, stooped posture, or a recent bone fracture.
- If you are someone who experienced menopause early, took corticosteroids for several months at a time, or have a family history of hip fractures, seek a medical opinion.