Osteoporosis and Compression Fractures

Osteoporosis will affect all of us.  As we age, our bones slowly “thin” and become weaker.  When we use the term osteoporosis, we are talking about the weakening of the bones.  Almost all of us will get osteoporosis as we age.  Osteoarthritis is the aging process that occurs within the disk, the facet joints, and the ligaments.  So, all of us are going to develop OSTEOPOROSIS and OSTEOARTHRITIS in our spine.  They occur together, but are different problems.

Women develop osteoporosis at a younger age and live to be older, so we hear more about women with osteoporosis and compression fractures than we do men, but men develop osteoporosis if they live to be into their late 70s or 80s.  Osteoporosis compression fractures happen hundreds of times every day in Central Iowa.  Many patients do not even know they have an osteoporosis compression fracture.  They may have two to three days of backaches and pains, but then the pain quickly subsides.

Unfortunately, a small number of people are just absolutely miserable with back pain secondary to a compression fracture.  These patients may be an excellent candidate for a very safe, small surgical procedure, but even many of these patients may be able to get better without surgery with some aggressive nonoperative care provided by Iowa Spine Care of Spencer Hospital.