How to Manage Chronic Osteoporosis Pain
Osteoporosis pain usually
comes in the form of painful fractures, which can take a number
of months to heal. Often, the pain goes away as the
fracture heals. New fractures tend to heal in about three
months. Osteoporosis pain that
continues after that time period is generally considered
A cause of chronic osteoporosis pain is vertebral fractures.
While some people have no pain when a vertebra breaks, others
have intense pain and muscle spasms that last long after the
fracture has healed.
Pain is the body’s way telling you that you have an injury.
When your bones break, nerves send pain messages through the
spinal cord to the brain, which interprets them.
Your response to pain can be determined by many factors,
including your emotional outlook. Depression seems to increase
pain perception and it also decreases your ability to cope with
it. When you treat the depression, you treat the pain as
Chronic osteoporosis pain lasts beyond the usual time for
healing. It interferes with normal life. While the injury has
healed, the pain continues. The pain message may be triggered
by muscle tension, weakness, spasms, or stiffness.
Your feelings of frustration, anger, and fear can make the
osteoporosis pain more intense, whatever its cause. Chronic
pain affects all areas of your life and should be taken
seriously. Contact your doctor about managing chronic
Some typical coping strategies for dealing with pain include
using heat and ice, undergoing Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve
Stimulation (TENS), using braces or supports, exercise,
physical therapy, acupuncture, and massage.
Using warm showers or hot packs to relieve chronic pain is
one option. Alternatively, cold packs or ice packs can also
relieve pain. In either case, apply the pack to your skin for
15 to 20 minutes.
TENS send electrical impulses to certain parts of the body to
block pain signals. It is a small device wherein two electrodes
are placed on the points of the body where you are experiencing
pain. The mild electrical current can prevent pain messages
from being transmitted to the brain. While some people find
relief for several hours after a single session, other people
use small portable TENS units that hook to the belt for
continuous osteoporosis pain relief.
Spinal braces can reduce pain and inflammation by
restricting your movements. After a vertebral fracture, a brace
or support can relieve pain and let you resume normal
activities while the fracture heals. But a back brace can
weaken your spinal muscles and should be used only as long as
Exercise is another option because it raises the body’s
level of endorphins which are natural pain killers produced by
Physical therapy can teach you proper posture and exercises
to strengthen your muscles without weakening your spine. Water
therapy, in particular, is recommended for people experiencing
chronic osteoporosis pain.
Acupuncture can stimulate nerve endings which cause the
brains to release endorphins. Don’t expect to be cured in one
session, though. Acupuncture applies direct pressure through
the use of special needles to the areas that trigger pain.
Finally, massage therapy can help you manage chronic
osteoporosis pain. It can be a light, slow circular motion with
the fingertips or a deep kneading motion that moves from the
center of the body. Massages relieve pain, relaxes stiff
muscles, and smoothes out muscle knots. If you have spinal
osteoporosis, deep muscle massage should not be done on the
Those are some suggestions on how to manage chronic