After you go through menopause, your bones tend to weaken. Many women are diagnosed with osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become overly brittle and prone to fracture. And even if you have never been officially diagnosed with this condition, you are at an increased risk for a very specific type of fracture: spinal compression fractures. These tiny fractures happen in the vertebrae that form your spinal column as a result of your weight bearing down on increasingly fragile bones. So, how do you know if you have spinal compression fractures? Look out for these four signs.
1. Back Pain
You would think a fracture would hurt pretty badly, but spinal compression fractures do not cause as much pain as a broken leg or arm. The pain tends to be more of a dull, constant ache that you may mistake for a strained back muscle or everyday stiffness. Some people find that it gets worse after you stand or have been standing a while, and that sitting down eases the pain.
2. Trouble Bending
A compression fracture can make it tough for you to bend your spine as you normally would. You may struggle to bend down and pick something up off the floor, whereas you could do this comfortably a few weeks ago. You may also have trouble bending to the side to pick up a bag of groceries or pull on a sock.
3. Frequent Tripping and Unsteadiness
Another possible sign of spinal compression fractures is a feeling of tightness or unsteadiness when you step forward in a certain way. You may feel unsteady when walking across the carpet or when walking onto an area rug. Some patients also find that they trip more easily -- possibly because they are not picking their feet up far enough when they walk.
4. Trouble Breathing
If the fracture is in your upper back, you may feel pain when you breathe, and you may actually have trouble breathing because the expansion of your lungs places pressure on the fractured vertebrae. Some people confuse a compression fracture for asthma or even allergies because of the breathing difficulties they suffer.
If you suspect you may have a spinal compression fracture, contact your doctor for more information on postmenopausal fracture treatments. If ignored, these fractures can lead to a loss of height and permanent curvature of the spine. Plus, they are a sign that your bones are brittle and that additional fractures may be just around the corner.Share
23 June 2018
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