May cause muscle pain osteoporosis

Osteoporosis: Warning Signs & Symptoms

Possible warning signs

Bone loss often goes undetected for a long time. So far, there are no clear identifiable external signs before the first bone fractures are known. The individual risk profile can best be determined with the help of a questionnaire that includes important risk factors. Chronically recurring severe back pain is often the first symptom in people at increased risk and should definitely be examined by a specialist. Frequent bone fractures, bulging of the spine and loss of the greatest body length by four centimeters or more are other signs that should also be investigated.

Signs & Symptoms

The clearest signs of osteoporosis are pain caused by broken bones after harmless causes, so-called spontaneous fractures. These include above all vertebral body and femoral neck fractures. But a broken spoke on the forearm is also a typical symptom.

Vertebral fractures

Especially in women after the menopause, fractures of the vertebral body bones occur very often, which are sometimes misinterpreted as "lumbago". These can lead to misalignments and permanent changes in the skeleton seldom can mean a total decrease in size of 10 to a maximum of 20 centimeters in the seriously ill.

Change in body shape

Because of the pain, many patients adopt a relieving posture that entails permanent changes in body shape. The spine curves backwards in the chest area (kyphosis) and forwards in the lumbar region (lordosis). This creates a rounded back, the typical "widow's hump". At the same time, the stomach is pushed forward and characteristic folds of skin develop on the back, which are known as the "Christmas tree phenomenon". Due to the forward shift of the body's center of gravity, the gait becomes unsteady and takes small steps. The incorrect loading can further promote osteoarthritis of the knee joints - again combined with renewed severe pain.

The changed directions of pull on muscles, tendons and ligaments caused by the incorrect posture can lead to hardening of the back muscles or even to their shortening. The wrong posture is also favored.

Fractures of the femur

A typical symptom of osteoporosis in old age are fractures of the femoral neck. The femur consists of a long shaft and a short, slightly angled neck that supports the ball of the hip joint. In this neck area, the bone is not particularly strong and therefore makes it more susceptible to fractures from the age of 60 onwards.