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Osteoporosis is due to loss of bone density caused by a deficiency in such bone building nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and other vitamins and minerals. This results in fragile bones.

One of the most common results of fragile bones is vertebral compression fractures. While these types of fractures can be the result of trauma or tumors, they are seen most often in people with osteoporosis. In fact, they are the most common complication of osteoporosis. In people with advanced osteoporosis, compression fractures can occur as the result of simple daily activities such as bending, carrying heavy loads, or a minor fall. This compression fractures causes chronic back pain, loss of height deformity (“humpback”), and, in severe cases, neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or weakness in legs.

These fractures are diagnosed on X-rays. MRI Scan may be advised for further evaluation Bone Mineral Density Scan is advised to assess the severity of osteoporosis.

Treatment for compression fractures include pain medications, bed rest, bracing. If there is no relief modern procedures such as vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty help in pain relief. These procedures utilise orthopedic cement, which is injected into the vertebrae. The cement hardens and returns the vertebral space to its original height.

Preventing osteoporosis is key to preventing compression fractures. Prevention efforts should begin early with eating a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, exercising daily, and making healthy lifestyle choices like not smoking. In people for whom osteoporosis is already a problem, there are medications that can help increase bone density and strength. For these people, a healthy diet and exercise is also very important.