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How do I know if my back pain is due to a fracture?

Back pain can be a result of muscle strain, spinal disc problems, nerve problems, or simply due to the ageing process. It can also be due to spinal fracture as a result of osteoporosis. Yet, most of the spinal fractures often go undiagnosed.

Spinal fracture resulting from osteoporosis is normally marked by sudden onset of back pain following a fairly routine activity such as bending to pick up something from the floor, or even opening a window.

For those with very advanced osteoporosis, fracture can occur even with very minor activity, such as coughing, sneezing, and turning in bed.

Although osteoporosis is a common cause of spinal fractures, there can be other possible causes as well. Trauma from a fall, a car accident or any event that stresses the bones in the spine beyond its breaking point can lead to a fracture. Certain cancers can also weaken the bones in our spine, resulting in fractures.

A spinal fracture should be suspected if the patient:

* Is over the age of 50 with acute onset of back pain,
* Have risk factors for osteoporosis, especially women above 45 years of age with sudden onset of back pain.

However, not all patients with spinal fracture experience back pain or other symptoms. Hence, there is still a need to be concerned about potential fractures if there is height loss, limited ability to twist and bend the back and/ or deformity developing in the spine.

When in doubt, always seek advice from a professional medical practitioner. There are several other types of spinal fractures, this articles from SpineUniverse, “Spinal Fractures – Spondylolisthesis – Scoliosis – Kyphosis – Lordosis” explains the other 2 types.

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