Preventing Spinal Compression Fractures

To prevent future spinal compression fractures, it's also important to treat the osteoporosis that likely caused your fracture and begin building stronger bones.

Natural ways to prevent spinal compression fractures include taking calcium supplements, getting more vitamin D, quitting smoking, preventing falls, and doing weight-bearing and strength-building exercises. You can also take medications to halt or slow osteoporosis, including:

  • Bisphosphonate drugs (Actonel, Binosto, Boniva, Fosamax), which can slow bone loss, improve bone density and help prevent fractures. Bisphosphonates can cause bone loss in the jaw, known as osteonecrosis of the jaw. This complication has been linked to the use of these medications for the treatment of osteoporosis. The risk of this occurring is very low; however, people with cancer or people who receive these medications intravenously are at higher risk. Some people complain of numbness, heaviness, and pain in the jaw, usually where a tooth has been extracted. If you have concerns, speak with your dentist.
  • Forteo, an injectable synthetic hormone that stimulates bone growth and reduces spinal fractures for women with severe osteoporosis.
  • Evista, an estrogen-like drug that slows bone loss and helps increase bone thickness.
  • Reclast, which is given as a once-yearly 15-minute infusion in a vein. Reclast is said to increase bone strength and reduce fractures in the hip, spine and wrist, arm, leg, or rib
  • Duavee (estrogen and bazedoxifene) is a type of hormone replacement therapy approved to treat menopause-related hot flashes. Duavee may also prevent osteoporosis in high-risk women who have already tried non-estrogen treatment.

The drugs are very effective in strengthening bones. If you're at high risk for compression fractures, it's critical to take action. See a doctor and get the right medication to prevent future fractures.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on February 27, 2016

Sources

SOURCES: 

Michael Schaufele, MD, physiatrist and professor of orthopaedics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta. 

Rex Marco, MD, chief of spine surgery and musculoskeletal oncology, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston. 

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. 

WebMD Medical News: "Outsmarting Osteoporosis."

News release, FDA.

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