Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease that results in a loss of bone mass, thereby causing bones to weaken and become brittle. This can lead to fractures. Interestingly, the majority of osteoporosis-related bone fractures occur in the spine. There is good reason for this.
The spine is an optimal location for osteoporosis bone fractures simply due to physics. However, fractures can also occur in the hips, wrists, and other areas of high stress. Treatments include physical therapy to strengthen muscles, tendons and ligaments, and medications and other treatments to deal with brittle bones.
Unfortunately, osteoporosis is more common among older people. As we age, our bodies do not regenerate tissue as easily as they did when we were younger. Therefore, the loss of bone mass is expected. The good news is that there are effective treatments.
Osteoporosis and the Spine
The spine is especially sensitive to osteoporosis due to all the stress it is constantly under. The spine essentially supports the entire weight of the upper body. More importantly, it is constantly stressed by the task of keeping the body upright.
Imagine a tall, thin flag pole with no weight on it. It can stand pretty tall even in a stiff wind. But what happens when you attach one or two heavy flags? It begins to move with the wind. The stiffer the wind, the more pressure put on the flag pole. The human spine faces something similar.
This explains why fractures associated with osteoporosis occur mostly in the spine. The spine is already under enough stress carrying the body’s weight. When individual bones in the spine are weakened by osteoporosis, even normal pressure can be enough to fracture them. As a side note, spinal fractures are often compression factors, meaning a bone collapses from top to bottom.
Kyphoplasty for Compression Fractures
Compression fractures in the spine create two problems: abnormal posture and chronic pain. The pain is the result of collapsed bones pressing on nerves in the spinal column. This suggests that taking pressure off the nerves would bring relief. Thankfully, there is a safe and effective way to do that. It is called kyphoplasty.
Kyphoplasty is one of the treatments offered by the pain specialists at Lone Star Pain Medicine. The Weatherford, TX clinic might recommend the procedure for any number of conditions resulting in spinal compression fractures. It is a surprisingly simple procedure that has proven remarkably successful over the years.
To implement the procedure, doctors first locate the affected bone. Tests are run to confirm the presence and severity of a compression fracture. Then, a small balloon is inserted into the affected bone and inflated. This restores the bone to its natural shape. Next, bone cement is injected into the void to take the place of lost bone tissue.
Immediate Pain Relief
Although immediate pain relief is not guaranteed, Lone Star pain doctors say that many patients report feeling better right away. That makes perfect sense. Restoring compressed bones to their natural shape should relieve pressure on surrounding nerves. Relieve that pressure and you relieve the pain.
It should be noted that patients can experience soreness around the injection site for a few days after the treatment. But once that soreness goes away, a patient should know whether the procedure did its job. It either offers pain relief or it doesn’t. There isn’t much room in between.
Bones in the spinal column are more susceptible to fractures related to osteoporosis simply because they are under so much stress. But thanks to kyphoplasty, there is an effective way to treat the fractures and relieve pain.