What is Osteoporosis? It is a pathological condition where the progressive decrease in bone density and mass occurs. This leads to high risks of getting a fracture.
The word osteoporosis is derived from the two Greek words “Ostoun” means bone and “Poros” which means pore.
The name osteoporosis came into existence with these two words which mean porous bones or brittle bones.
In the case of osteoporosis, the bone mineral density results show a lower score due to the destruction of the bone tissue which makes the bone become soft, porous, weak and brittle.
The bones become so porous and fragile that mild stress or a fall can increase the chance of getting a fracture.
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Types of Osteoporosis
In general, osteoporosis is classified into two major types. These are:
- Primary osteoporosis
- Secondary osteoporosis
Primary Osteoporosis is basically associated with the normal aging process of humans. Estrogen and progesterone are the hormones due to which loss of bone density occurs.
It can be further classified into three types:
- Type I Primary Osteoporosis or Postmenopausal osteoporosis mostly occurs in women. It is caused due to lack of estrogen after the menopause due to which it is also called as menopause onset osteoporosis. In a few cases, men also suffer from this type of osteoporosis which is due to low testosterone levels.
- Type II Primary Osteoporosis or Involutional or Senile Osteoporosis can be observed in both sexes, normally after the age of 60. This type is primarily due to the normal aging process and can also be seen in the people whose calcium intake is very less.
- Idiopathic Osteoporosis is a third type of Primary osteoporosis which is usually seen in children and young adults. However, it is very less common.
Secondary osteoporosis is observed mainly in the people who are having hormonal irregularities or having the disease which creates hormonal imbalances in the body like thyroid diseases, hyperthyroidism, hypogonadism, ovarian diseases, etc.
It is sometimes also due to diseases or medication used for long.
The major triggering factor for osteoporosis that is seen uniquely in all the above-mentioned types is overweight or obesity.
Due to increased fat mass in the body, the bone tissues get much load which may result in fractures easily. This mainly occurs over the hip and knee areas.
What Causes Osteoporosis?
An imbalance between the formation of new bones and resorption of old bones is the real main cause of osteoporosis.
Simply speaking; as our body ages, the body fails to develop more new bones and at the same time there is too much old bone reabsorption seen which leads to this problem.
When at a young age, our body does the process of bone formation in a normal way by using two essential minerals i.e. calcium and phosphate.
But as the body ages, the capacity to absorb the calcium from the normal diet becomes weaker which is further triggered by low intake of calcium & vitamin D rich diet.
And as a result, the bones in the body become fragile and weaker.
Besides the normal aging factor, hormonal changes are another major cause of osteoporosis in males as well as females.
A few other conditions which may be the reason for osteoporosis in the neck and other parts of the body include lack of physical work, lack of regular exercise, thyroid problems, bone cancer, genetic disorders, overuse of corticosteroids, usage of certain medications, etc.
Can Osteoporosis Cause Neck Pain?
Osteoporosis is a bone-thinning disorder (also called: the silent disease) where the bones become weak, brittle and soft.
When an extra workload or heavy weight is placed on the bones or joints, it may cause intense pain and swell in the concerned bone tissues.
Sometimes the pressure is felt so high on the bones that it causes a crack or a fracture.
People with Osteoporosis, therefore, have more chances to suffer from neck pain or cervical joint pain during the excess workload conditions.
People who are more prone to get neck and shoulder pain due to osteoporosis are computer professionals, busy surgeons, bus conductors or long journey drivers, tailors, cooks (who use to stand and cook foods for a long time), etc.
These are actually the people who make use of their cervical region more than the normal, because of which the neck bones (mainly cervical vertebrae) get more stressed and fatigued.
This triggers the underlying osteoporosis problem and leads to severe intolerable pain in the neck.
Along with the osteoporosis neck pain, the individuals may also experience the following troubles heavily:
- Stiffness in the neck which restricts the movements literally
- Swelling which subsides immediately by giving proper rest and relaxation in the neck area
- Headache mainly the occipital headache which sometimes radiates down to the shoulder blades
- Feeling of cracking sound on moving the neck joint suddenly. This makes the individual get panic that his or her cervical joint bones are broken, etc.
An increasing workload of the neck region in aged individuals increases the risk of osteoporosis neck pain.
However, in most of the cases, the osteoporosis in neck symptoms can be relieved easily by taking enough rest and giving comfort to the cervical joints.
What are The Symptoms of Osteoporosis in Neck?
In early stages often people could not understand that they have weak bones as it does not show any signs or symptoms.
However at later stages when you notice weaker and brittle fingernails or weaker grip strength, there are chances that you are suffering from osteoporosis.
As far as neck or cervical osteoporosis is concerned, signs and symptoms of osteoporosis in the neck include:
- Fracture or crack from a mild fall or movement
- Fractures triggered by strong sneeze or cough
- Pain in neck or back due to a compression fracture of the spine
- Curved upper back or stooped posture due to compression of the vertebrae
Symptoms of neck osteoporosis can cause a great deal of discomfort and pain.
As you may be having a fractured bone that requires immediate attention, care that you see your doctor immediately if you experience severe pain in the cervical region or in the back, hip or wrist.
Best Ways for Treating Osteoporosis Neck Pain
Depending upon the severity of osteoporosis in the neck, the severity of pain varies from person to person.
To confirm the grade of osteoporosis, a bone density test is to be done. If the bone density test score shows declining results, it means that osteoporosis is severe and the patient should take maximum rest for relieving osteoporosis neck pain.
In addition to taking rest, osteoporosis in the neck can be treated with certain exercises.
Light exercises along with physical activities help to strengthen your bones and for this reason, your doctor may recommend some of the best exercises for your porous bones which helps in relieving the problem to a great extent.
Based on your condition and severity of pain your doctor may also recommend using osteoporosis neck brace for relieving the painful conditions.
The treatment procedure for osteoporosis neck pain also includes a combination of lifestyle changes and medications that can be prescribed by your doctor. Medications for osteoporosis usually helps in building bone mass by influencing hormones in the body.
As the main reason for this problem is due to alteration in hormones, hormone therapy is also found useful for many in treating the osteoporosis neck pain problems.
In severe cases, surgical treatments such as Kyphoplasty are done which involves the insertion of a small balloon into the affected vertebrae by a small incision.
Few Additional Tips for Preventing Osteoporosis Pain
Although relieving osteoporosis symptoms is possible through the above methods, prevention is always recommended as a better option.
Taking enough calcium and vitamin supplements for osteoporosis on regular basis not only helps in treating the pain and symptoms of osteoporosis but also helps in avoiding it.
Individuals after the age of 60 should consider adding these supplements along with staying active through mild exercises.
Also care that you do not get indulged in unhealthy practices like smoking, consuming alcohol, etc. which provokes the risk of increasing osteoporosis symptoms and pain.
As falling can bring great damage to your weaker bones, it is essential that you take proper action for preventing any falls whether indoor or outdoor.
Consider wearing the non-slip shoes with good friction, keep a flashlight handy, keep electrical cords in your room against the wall edges, use cane or walker while walking, etc are few tips for you that can help.
Osteoporosis Exercises for Spine Strength and Posture