What Is Osteoporosis?
Table of Contents
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the density of bones is reduced due to increased loss of material from them. This results in impairments in the strength and function of these structures. Osteoporosis is often termed “brittle bones.” In cases of severe osteoporosis, simple motions or gestures may result in a broken bone. This disorder may lead to damage to the bones of the wrists hips or spine. If you suffer from osteoporosis, you can also be at a greater risk of falls or injuries.
What is osteoporosis? A video
Osteoporosis CausesOsteoporosis may occur as a natural, age-related process over time. However, certain factors or variables may increase the risk of developing the condition. These may include:
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Female gender
- Certain medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism
- Calcium deficiency
- Vitamin D deficiency
- The use of steroid medications
- Regular or high-volume tobacco smoking
- Regular or high-volume alcohol consumption
An individual may develop a number of characteristic types of bone damage as a result of osteoporosis. These include vertebral compression fractures, in which the bones of the spine lose tissue, and thus their proper structure, until they collapse inward. One or more of these fractures may result in a loss of vertical height and mechanical disturbance or damage to the spinal cord. Vertebral compression fractures are also associated with pain, impaired motion, and other possible neurological symptoms resulting from spinal cord impingement.
Diagnosing OsteoporosisThe early stages of osteoporosis may be asymptomatic or not exhibit noticeable signs. This may hinder a diagnosis until bone density loss has progressed enough to cause an adverse event. Early detectable signs of osteoporosis may include pain and spinal deformity due to vertebral compression fracture.
Diagnostic procedures for the condition include tests for bone density. These may detect the presence of osteoporosis or a high risk for the condition. The degree of bone matter loss may contribute to a decision by the patient and physician concerning the next appropriate step in treatment for this condition.
Osteoporosis TreatmentsTreatment for osteoporosis typically includes the management of pain, if present, or procedures that address bone loss in important regions of the skeleton where such treatment may be acutely necessary, i.e. the spine.
Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty
Vertebroplasty is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which the height and structure of a bone affected by vertebral compression fracture is restored. This begins with the administration of a local anesthetic to the skin above an affected spinal bone (or vertebra).
Your doctor then inserts a needle into the collapsed bone. This is done with guidance from technology such as fluoroscopy or X-ray imaging to ensure accurate needle placement and insertion. It also helps them avoid inadvertent nervous system damage. Next, the inject acrylic medical cement through the needle. This replaces the lost bone in the vertebra and returns it to its original height and orientation in the spine.
Kyphoplasty is a newer variant of vertebroplasty that includes the additional step of the insertion of small inflatable balloons into the bone before the cement. This is associated with reduced cement leakage from the vertebra after the procedure, shorter procedure duration, and reduced exposure from radiological equipment, if used.
Vertebroplasty can improve long-term vertebral healing and help reverse the effects of osteoporosis in comparison with kyphoplasty. On the other hand, kyphoplasty often has reduced recovery times. Both procedures can alleviate pain in as little as two days post-treatment.
Pharmacotherapy for chronic pain associated with osteoporosis may include opioids. This is a drug class that includes classic painkillers, such as morphine. However, opioids come with a host of adverse effects, including respiratory depression, addiction, and abuse. Therefore, they are not recommended for cases of chronic pain unless an individual is assessed as being at a reduced risk for these adverse effects.
If a patient is a suitable candidate for opioid treatment, your doctor will monitor you closely for side effects and adverse events. You must be prepared to discontinue the therapy if it appears ineffective or potentially harmful.
Acupuncture is a complementary or alternative therapy derived from ancient Chinese medicine. This may be effective in mild to moderate cases of pain, or in combination with other treatments. Acupuncture typically involves the shallow placement of stainless steel sterile needles through the skin in the part of the body affected. Other regions that may be thought to be related to the pain may also be treated.
Acupuncture may improve some symptoms such as inflammation, pain, and reduced mobility. It may promote the release of endorphins that regulate pain in the body.
ConclusionOsteoporosis is a condition in which bone matter is lost, leading to bones with a reduced density. This increases the risk of fractures. This condition is often a progressive age-related loss of tissue, but is also associated with various other risk factors.
Osteoporosis treatment is based on the pain or bone restoration needs of the patient. In the case of potentially dangerous spinal fractures, an individual may consider vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty. Other treatment options include opioids or acupuncture. Patients who are looking for a pain management strategy for their case may find an effective solution after a discussion with their pain specialist or physician.
You can find a pain doctor in your area by clicking the button below or looking for one in your area by using the tips here: https://paindoctor.com/pain-management-doctors/.
- Goz V, Errico TJ, Weinreb JH, Koehler SM, Hecht AC, Lafage V, Qureshi SA. Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty: national outcomes and trends in utilization from 2005 through 2010. Spine J. 2013; in press.
- Klazen CA, Lohle PN, de Vries J, et al. Vertebroplasty versus conservative treatment in acute osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (Vertos II): an open-label randomised trial. Lancet. 2010;376(9746):1085-1092.
- Li LH, Sun TS, Liu Z, Zhang JZ, Zhang Y, Cai YH, Wang H. Comparison of unipedicular and bipedicular percutaneous kyphoplasty for treating osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures: a meta-analysis. Chin Med J (Engl). 2013;126(20):3956-3961.
- Ou-Yang G, Wang DY, Xu XM. Clinical observation on acupuncture for treatment of male Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2011;31(1):23-50.
- Ringe JD, Schäfer S, Wimmer AM, Giesecke T. Use of OROS® hydromorphone in the treatment of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis: A pooled analysis of three non-interventional studies focusing on different starting doses. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2012;124(1-2):25-31.
- Wang T, Pang L, Huang H, Wang WY. Observation on influence of bone metabolism biochemical indices of senile osteoporosis treated with distant acupuncture and nearby tuina. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2012;32(1):13-16.