Some people with osteoporosis may be afraid of experiencing aches and pains as part of their condition. They may even put pre-existing pains down to osteoporosis. And although this may sometimes be the case, it is important to note that any back pain when you suffer from osteoporosis is a medical emergency.
Osteoporosis generally does not cause pain. This is because even though breaks happen as part of it, the actual condition is about your bones losing mineral density. It is perfectly possible to suffer osteoporosis and never suffer a single fracture or a single ache. So the very first thing you need to do is confirm that the osteoporosis is causing your back pain. The only way you can know for sure is by seeing a doctor and having your back pain assessed. Never assume that pain is just down to your osteoporosis, as any pain related to osteoporosis could get worse if the root cause is not treated.
A big source of back pain when you suffer osteoporosis is simple bad posture. When you suffer osteoporosis you are at great risk of bad posture for many reasons. The first reason is simply bone and joint weakness. If your bones and joints are weak then certain physical positions will be uncomfortable, or even impossible. This could force you to adopt a posture which is harmful to your back, and creates muscle tension and aches. Another reason is because of the weakening of the bones themselves, physically stopping you from moving the way you want to. For example, you may develop a curved spine due to loss of bone density.
Some signs that your pain may be due to poor posture are that it comes on slowly and gradually, that it is worse when you are less active, that it is focused in the curves of your spine, and that you have similar pains in your other joints. All of this would point towards poor posture.
When addressing bad posture it is important to remember that our bones are weak and that sudden changes to the way we move will do more harm than good. Consider a suitable painkiller to help you until your posture is improved, and talk to a physiotherapist about where the pain is focused, what it feels like exactly, and how you can exercise and move to alleviate said pain. Many people find that prescribed stretching and strengthening routines not only ease some of their pain and improve mobility, but also increase bone density, easing some of the other symptoms of osteoporosis.
In some cases of back pain when you suffer osteoporosis you will find that the cause is actually a compression fracture in the spine. A compression fracture is uncommon in people with healthy bone density unless they have been squished under a very heavy weight. This is because human bones, at a normal level of density, can take thousands of pounds of pressure. However when you suffer osteoporosis sometimes the simple weight of your own body can be enough to slowly wear down your spine, eventually causing a spinal compression fracture.
Some signs that your pain may be due to a compression fracture are that it comes on suddenly and is very sharp, hurts more the more you move, and is always focused on one exact spot, with no similar pains anywhere else in your body. All this would point towards a fracture.
When treating a spinal fracture you may need to begin with surgery, or a physical support structure, which will take some weight off your spine. But the very first step is getting diagnosed. If you suspect you have a spinal compression fracture you must move as little as possible and get emergency medical assistance. This is because a spinal fracture can get suddenly worse, resulting in the spinal cord being damaged. This is especially important if the pain is in your neck, as a fracture of the vertebra in the neck could get worse and cause paralysis from the neck down, which is sometimes deadly.
Once your spinal fracture has been diagnosed and a treatment method has been chosen, you will need to pay close attention to everything your doctor says. Every person and every fracture is different, and you must treat your body with respect.