Skip to content

    Osteoporosis Health Center

    Select An Article

    Osteoporosis Pain: What You Can Do

    Font Size

    Most of the time, osteoporosis doesn’t cause any symptoms. But when the condition is severe, it can lead to fractures and other painful problems.

    The pain is usually more severe than the aches many people feel as they get older. But you don’t have to just grin and bear it. You and your doctor have a range of options to choose from to help you find relief.

    Recommended Related to Osteoporosis

    Bone Loss and Posture: 6 Tips to Look Your Best

    Everything changes with time -- and that's certainly true if you have bone loss from osteoporosis. Little compression fractures can affect the way you sit, stand, walk -- and look. You may be a bit shorter now, your posture a little different. "These changes alter how a woman's clothes fit," says Susan Randall, RN, senior director of education for the National Osteoporosis Foundation. "Clothes don't seem to drape as they should. The length of a dress doesn't seem right -- it's down in front, pulling...

    Read the Bone Loss and Posture: 6 Tips to Look Your Best article > >

    Compression Fractures and Osteoporosis Pain

    The most common cause of osteoporosis pain is a spinal compression fracture. It can cause:

    • Sudden, severe back pain that gets worse when you are standing or walking with some relief when you lie down
    • Trouble twisting or bending your body, and pain when you do
    • Loss of height
    • A curved spine called kyphosis, also known as a “dowager’s hump.”

    Bones are fragile in osteoporosis. Fractures can happen even from simple movements that don't seem dangerous, for example lifting a bag of groceries, twisting to get out of a car, or tripping slightly on a rug.

    Fractures can take months to heal. The pain should start to go away as the bone begins to repair itself. However, for some people, osteoporosis pain can last longer.

    If you hurt, talk to your doctor. She can help you find ways to manage it.


    Medication is the most popular way to manage osteoporosis pain. Your doctor can prescribe some for you or recommend some over-the-counter treatments you can buy at the drugstore. Meds that may help include:

    • Pain relievers like acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. They’re safe for most people, but they may cause stomach irritation and bleeding or liver problems if you take them for a long time. So check with your doctor to be sure they’re OK for you.
    • Prescription pain drugs. They can help you feel better in the short-term. But there are some that shouldn’t be taken for a long time. So they may not be a good choice if you have long-lasting pain from osteoporosis.
    • Antidepressant medication. It can help people deal with chronic pain. Your doctor may prescribe one for you if you’ve tried other pain relief that hasn’t helped.

    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Women working out and walking with weights
    Reduce bone loss and build stronger muscles.
    Chinese cabbage
    Calcium-rich foods to add to your diet.
    woman stretching
    Get the facts on osteoporosis.
    Porous bone
    Causes, symptoms, risk factors, and treatment.
    senior woman
    Woman holding plate of brocolli
    wrist xray
    Superfood for Bones
    mature woman
    sunlight in hands
    man and woman in front of xray
    woman with dumbbells