Helpful Information

National Osteoporosis Month & Your Spine Health

This month is National Osteoporosis Month. Osteoporosis is one of the leading causes of back pain in the US, causing more than 500,000 spinal fractures a year. It is a condition of low bone density as well as deterioration in bone tissue structure. It primarily affects postmenopausal women but both men and women over the age of 50 are at risk. Below are some of the ways osteoporosis can affect your spine as well as ways to protect your spine after you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.

Compression Fractures

As one can imagine, osteoporosis can cause many issues related to the back and spine. One of the most common spinal issues that affect those with osteoporosis is vertebral fractures aka compression fractures. Because osteoporosis causes the strength of your bones to decline, the vertebrae in your spine can collapse when doing something as simple as walking. As your condition worsens, you may experience multiple fractures in the spine. While many compression fractures cause sharp pain that doesn’t go away, some cause no pain at all.


Eventually, after one or more fractures your spine will begin to curve causing you to lose height. This curvature is called kyphosis which often leads to constant back pain. The pain happens due to strain on the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your back. It can also cause nerve pinching, digestion issues and respiratory complications. Many who experience no pain from a compression fracture often don’t seek help from a specialist until they notice a significant change in their height due to kyphosis.

How to Protect Your Spine

After being diagnosed with osteoporosis, the number one way to protect your spine is to see your doctor as regularly as possible. They will perform routine exams to determine how your condition is progressing and if your treatment plan needs to be altered. Other ways to protect your spine including the following:

  • Eat healthy
  • Drink less
  • Quit smoking 
  • Perform physician-approved exercises and activities
  • Do not ignore compression fractures

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, we recommend consulting a spinal specialist like our team at The Center for Spine Health. Our team is well-equipped to help you with all issues that relate to your back and spine including spinal fractures, pinched nerves and back pain.

For more information, visit these helpful links:
National Osteoporosis Foundation
Spine Universe


Dr. Bendt P. Petersen is an orthopaedic and neurospine surgical specialist with over twenty years in operative clinical practice. He is a fellowship-trained surgeon whose practice is the only one in the Mobile-area devoted exclusively to the treatment of your spine.

The Center for Spine Health employs the most advanced operative and non-operative therapies in concert with the most highly-trained physical therapists and other advanced ancillary practitioners to help you live the life you want to live.

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