Osteoporosis

We’ll rebalance your bone formation and degradation

A cracked back with stabbing pain – osteoporosis, also called bone loss, is one of the most common disorders in the later stages of life. It’s almost twice as common in women than in men. As you get older, the stability of your skeleton decreases and the risk of bone fractures increases. Spinal column, femoral neck and hand joint fractures are especially troublesome.

At Schoen Clinic, we’re specialised in back disorders caused by degradation. Our spinal column surgery specialists will help you prevent bone fractures through targeted measures.

Causes & symptoms

What is osteoporosis?

With osteoporosis, patients have low amounts of bone mass. The bone substance and structure break down excessively quickly and the stability of the bones decreases. This increases the risk of bone fractures.

Osteoporosis: causes of bone loss

The balance between the bones degrading and forming ensures that bone tissue is constantly renewed. There are many things that disrupt this balance and cause osteoporosis.

Firstly, age: as you get older, your bone mass generally decreases. This can lead to osteoporosis.

Ovaries in women and testicles in men also influence the occurrence of osteoporosis. The gender hormones oestrogen and testosterone are produced here. These play a special role in bone metabolism. A disruption in the function of the ovaries or testicles may lead to a gender hormone deficiency. In women, the lack of oestrogen during menopause presents a particularly high risk.

Additional causes for a drop in bone mass include a hyperactive thyroid and chronic inflammatory disorders such as asthma or rheumatism. An increase in cortisone due to numerous chronic disorders is another risk factor and may significantly reduce bone mass. Different types of inflammatory bowel disease or food intolerances reduce the amount of nutrients circulating the body. This type of nutrient deficiency can also be a cause of osteoporosis.

Symptoms: signs of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis often remains undetected for a long time as the bone loss first occurs silently, without any tangible pain or symptoms. Pain will only occur once a bone becomes fractured or the spine becomes deformed, which may be some of the first signs.
When an acute spinal fracture occurs, patients usually report sudden back pain and tension. The thigh bone is typically fractured after a fall. This is characterised by acute pain in the hip area and a reduction of mobility in the leg. Patients often want to break their fall using their hands as a reflex reaction. This can cause a fracture in the hand joint.

A reduction in body height of more than 4 cm can be another sign of osteoporosis. This is frequently accompanied by the so-called Tannenbaum phenomenon, where the skin has characteristic folds on the left and right of the spine.

Diagnostics

Crucial for effective treatment: early diagnosis

The earlier osteoporosis is reliably established, the better. The symptoms and effects can then be minimised through targeted treatment.

How osteoporosis is determined

To recognise the risk of osteoporosis or osteoporosis itself, we first conduct an in-depth consultation with you. In this consultation, we’ll also thoroughly examine your family history. We then conduct a physical examination as well as additional lab tests. Measuring your bone density is especially important.

Bone density measurement provides precise details

Measuring bone density primarily serves to filter out patients with an increased risk of osteoporosis before any fractures occur.

The best examination is dual-energy X-ray densitometry (DEXA). It lets us precisely measure key points on the spine, femoral neck and underarm. The patient lies on the examination table, and an X-ray receiver measures the proportion of X-rays transmitted through the bone. The radiation exposure is minimal and the examination is safe and pain-free. However, you will need to pay for the risk level identification yourself. Your health insurer will only absorb the costs if fractures have already occurred.