If you're over the age of 30, you're at an increased risk for osteoporosis. That's because your bone density peaks at around that age. After that, your bones begin to lose density and become weaker, which increases your risk of developing vertebral fractures. Vertebral fractures lead to a curving of the upper back and increased pain. Unfortunately, there is no cure for vertebral fractures, although treatment is available for the condition. Luckily, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of vertebral fractures. While you can begin taking these steps at any time, it's best to start caring for your back while you're young. Here are just three of the methods you can use to reduce your chances of developing vertebral fractures.
Participate in Weight-Bearing Activities
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you're increasing your risk of developing vertebral fractures. That's because your bones aren't getting enough exercise to maintain proper density. The best exercises for bone density are those that encourage weight bearing, which get your muscles and bones working against gravity. Some of the best weight-bearing activities include walking, dancing, and even stair-climbing. If your job keeps you seated behind a desk during the day, get out and take a brisk walk at lunchtime or take the stairs instead of the elevator once a day. Anything that puts weight on your bones and muscles will help you maintain a healthy level of bone density and reduce your risk for vertebral fractures.
Cut Out Tobacco Use
If you smoke, you could be putting your bones at risk for vertebral fractures. Smoking harms your bones in a number of ways. First, it reduces the amount of blood that's able to flow to your bones. Second, it interferes with your body's ability to absorb calcium through the bones. Third, it impedes the production of bone-forming cells. Unfortunately, the more you smoke, the greater the risk for vertebral fractures. To protect your bones and prevent fractures, you should quit smoking as soon as possible. If you have difficulty quitting, talk to your doctor about smoking cessation programs that are available.
Have Your Bone Density Tested
If you're over the age of 30, you should have your bone density tested, which can be used to determine the overall health of your bones. The first test will serve as a baseline for future testing, which you should have done about once every one to two years. If your initial bone density testing shows that you're at risk for osteoporosis and vertebral fractures, your doctor can help you devise a treatment plan that can reduce those risks.
If you do develop a vertebral fracture, contact companies like Radius to learn about treatment options.