Spine Detail: Osteoporosis

This disease is characterized by loss of bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, which leads to bone fragility and increased susceptibility to fractures of the spine, hip, and wrist.





Treatment FAQs

Q. Will my doctor prescribe medications for my condition?

Q. Which is better to use, heat or ice?

Q. I keep reading about doctors prescribing Glucosamine for arthritis. Will this medication help my back pain?

Q. Should I just lie in bed and avoid exercise if I am having extra back pain?

Q. I've had pain and problems with my low back for many years. What can I expect from my spine surgery?

Q. What should I expect on the first visit to my doctor?

Q. My spine is really hurting. I thought I would just go ahead and have surgery, but my doctor is recommending conservative spine treatment instead. What is conservative treatment, and will it help my problem as much as surgery?

Q. What can I do while I am at home to relieve my back pain?

Q. What hobbies and recreational activities should I avoid?

Q. Can I just use a brace to take my low back pain away?

Q. My friend told me about a TENS unit she uses for her back pain. What is a TENS unit, and will it work for me?

Q. As long as I have therapy I feel better. Can I keep coming once each week?

Q. If I have a spine fusion surgery using metal screws and rods, will they ever need to be removed?

Q. I have metal screws in my back from a spine fusion. Will I be able to go through a metal detector at the airport?

Q. My doctor has suggested that I have a spine fusion in my lower spine. How will this affect my ability to bend over?

Q. Is there anything I can do now to help ease my pain?

Q. My doctor has suggested a cortisone injection for my back. I have heard that cortisone is bad for you. What are the risks of having a cortisone injection?

Q. What can I do if my pain comes back or gets worse?

Q. I have pain at work. Is there anything that can be done to help me work with less pain?

Q. When can I play golf, ride a bike, or go hiking after spine surgery?

Q. Are lasers used in spine surgery?

Q. If I have surgery to take out a disc in my back, what will replace the disc that the doctor removes?

Q. My surgeon has suggested that I need a fusion between the C5 and C6 vertebrae in my neck. How will I be able to turn my neck after it is fused?

Q. Will I need to have therapy until my pain goes completely away?

Q. Why do I need to quit smoking before having spine surgery?

Q. My doctor has suggested that I have a spine fusion surgery using a metal plate in my back. What are the chances that my body will reject the metal plate?

Q. How will I know whether surgery is needed?

Q. What can I do to keep from making my pain worse?

Q. How much longer will I need physical therapy?

Q. I'm scheduled for a spine fusion of my low back. Will I be able to get up and walk without difficulty after I have surgery?

Q. What is spinal decompression and spine fusion surgery?

Q. What is minimally invasive spine surgery and how is it different from traditional spine surgery?

Q. Is minimally invasive surgery a new technique?

Q. What are the risks of minimally invasive spine surgery?


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Related Sites

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U. S. Food and Drug Administration: Boning up on Osteoporosis
This article first appeared in the FDA Consumer in 1996. Written by Carolyn Strange, the information is user-friendly, covering key points about osteoporosis. Learn how your skeleton is like a bank account and how making deposits or withdrawals can make a difference in the health of your bones.

National Osteoporosis Foundation
The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) is a nonprofit, voluntary health organization. Visit their site for up-to-date information provided in the "News and Events" pages. After viewing the section on "Prevention," visit the on-line store for additional brochures and flyers. The "Patient Info" section is full of practical information including how to start a support group or to join an existing group. This is a good starting point when beginning your search on osteoporosis information, research, and advocacy.

National Institutes of Health: Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases
This site provides resources and information on related metabolic bone diseases, including osteoporosis, Paget's disease, osteogenesis imperfecta, and hyperparathryroidism. You can locate various topics of interest on bone health in "Fact Sheets." In the "Osteoporosis" section, start with an overview by reading "Fast Facts on Osteoporosis." Then choose from a number of specific topics relating to osteoporosis. The archived newsletters have articles about preventing falls, exercise, nutrition, and even a guideline used by doctors. If you need more information, you can also use key words to search the site.

International Osteoporosis Foundation
Keep current on osteoporosis events around the globe. Download the newsletter "Osteoporosis Action" for updated information on osteoporosis. Membership information is available, as are links to other osteoporosis-related sites.