Osteoporosis refers to a very common, progressive condition, characterized by weak and fragile bones. The bones are so weak that even a small strain may result in fracture. The bones lose its density gradually during the early years and this stage, which is the precursor of osteoporosis, is known as osteopenia. These conditions, osteopenia and osteoporosis, may affect both the genders at any stage. An underlying condition like osteopenia may take away the bone content and gradually result in fragile bones. This may cause immense pain and discomfort. In most cases, a person realizes the existence of this condition through a bone fracture.
This condition may remain asymptomatic for a long time, and is usually revealed through bone fractures or similar problems. During the initial stages during which the bone content is lost, symptoms may not be present. Once the bone loss is significant the symptoms become more apparent.
The most common symptoms of this condition include:
- Back pain caused by broken or collapsed vertebra
- Stooped posture
- Loss of height
- Frequent fractures of hip, wrist and spine
The symptoms of this disease are similar in both genders. If repeated fractures occur in the spine, it may lead to chronic back pain and curving of the spine. The back pain caused by osteoporosis often radiates from the back to either sides of the body. The collapse of the vertebrae causes a stooped or hunched back, which is often referred to as ‘dowager hump’.
Sometimes even routine activities may result in fractures which are called as ‘minimal trauma’ or stress fracture. This may be caused even by walking or stepping on a stone. Falls and simple trips and slips may result in hip fractures with osteoporosis. Since bone healing takes a long time with this condition, hip fractures take a long time to resolve. This is true even with surgical repair of the hip.