Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a bone-weakening condition that causes bones to become so fragile that they may fracture from everyday activities like twisting, bending or even coughing. In addition to weakening existing bones, osteoporosis slows the creation of new bone mass.

The result can be extensive bone damage, fractures to the hips, wrist, and spine, spinal compression, collapsed vertebra, hunched posture, lost height and debilitating back pain. To begin treatment for osteoporosis, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Tampa Bay back pain doctor as soon as possible.

Patients at Risk

One common misconception is that osteoporosis affects primarily women, but this is not the case. Both men and women suffer from osteoporosis, as do people of all racial backgrounds. White and Asian women who are past menopause have the highest risk of developing osteoporosis, however.

This is because older people do not experience bone renewal at the same rate they did in their younger years. Most people reach peak bone mass in their twenties, and then bone growth slows. At the same time, women who are past menopause have a drop in their estrogen levels, and low sex hormones are a risk factor for developing osteoporosis.

Risk Factors

Other common risk factors for developing osteoporosis include but are not limited to:

  • Glandular problems, including thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal glands
  • Small body frame and small bones
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Poor calcium intake or absorption
  • Lack of protein or vitamin D deficiency
  • Problems with sex hormones in both men and women
  • History of eating disorders or gastrointestinal surgery
  • Long-term steroid use and certain other medications
  • High alcohol and tobacco intake
  • Sedentary lifestyle

In addition, certain medical conditions commonly co-occur with osteoporosis, including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, lupus, and others.

Common Treatments

The good news is that osteoporosis is treatable, but it is important to work with an experienced physician who can help patients affected by osteoporosis work to strengthen their existing bones and prevent further bone weakening and bone loss.

Common treatments for osteoporosis typically involve medications called bisphosphonates, which can be taken orally or intravenously and aim to preserve living bone and reduce bone deterioration.

Hormone therapies are another option to help maintain adequate bone density, though a patient’s Tampa Bay back pain doctor must weigh the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy, which may be risky for older women but not as much for younger women and men suffering from osteoporosis.

In addition to bisphosphonates, there are also drug treatments to promote new bone growth. A patient’s doctor in Tampa Bay may also recommend other changes, such as diet and lifestyle modifications, use of alternative medicine therapies, and efforts to reduce the risk of falls and fractures.

There are also surgical options for the treatment of osteoporosis-related spinal compression and other symptoms, including vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, both minimally-invasive surgical techniques.

Consult with a Physician

Only an experienced physician who treats osteoporosis can evaluate your particular medical case and determine the best course of treatment for your unique situation.

No two osteoporosis cases are alike, and your Tampa Bay back pain doctor will take into account the severity of your bone loss, pain and other symptoms, your current bone density, your age and health history, your risk factors for worsening osteoporosis, and whether previous treatments have been successful.

The sooner you begin treatment for your osteoporosis, the better, since efforts can be made to slow the progression of the disease.