If you seem to get shorter and shorter as the years pass by, have a doctor check you for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a life-altering bone disease that can cause hidden bone fractures in the spine. The condition can also cause the bones of your spine (vertebrae) to collapse, which gradually affects your height. Here's how osteoporosis collapses your spinal bones and how you can check to see if it's the reason behind your shrinking height.
What Should You Know About Your Condition?
Throughout your adult life, your bones break down and rebuild themselves in a unique process called remodeling. During the process, your bones get rid of old or damaged bone tissue and replace it with new or healthy bone tissue. The remodeling process can slow down tremendously once you approach or enter menopause.
Osteoporosis can affect any bone in your body, including the small and large bones in your spine. If the bones in your spine become too brittle, they collapse. The collapsing bones can make you appear shorter than your normal height.
Some people experience excruciating back and neck pain when their vertebrae collapse. The sharp bones can compress, or press down on, the nerves and discs sitting between them. Bending or twisting your back can make the pain feel even worse.
You can't treat osteoporosis or collapsing spinal bones at home. In most cases, fractures can occur elsewhere in the spine, hips, and other bones of the body. You'll need to see a doctor for care to diagnose and treat your condition.
What Can You Do About Your Collapsed Vertebrae?
The first step in getting the treatment you need is to have your bones evaluated for osteoporosis. Doctors generally use x-rays and bone density tests to detect the presence of osteoporosis. The tests examine the thickness of your bones as well as the texture and strength. Once a doctor confirms that you have osteoporosis, they'll x-ray your spine to see if it has collapsed vertebrae.
The treatment for collapsed vertebrae may include compression fracture surgery. The surgery allows a specialist to reposition and stabilize the bones with cement or another material. The material creates space between the collapsing bones, which may increase your height.
Some doctors use therapeutic treatments, such as medication and ice compresses, to ease vertebrae pain. If the treatments aren't enough, a doctor will consider surgery.
You can learn more about your shrinking height and osteoporosis by contacting a doctor today.Share