Category: Spinal Cord Injury | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: November 24, 2016
Spinal fractures aren’t all that common, but certain individuals are at a greater risk for a vertebral fracture than others. Today, we take a closer look at five factors that may increase your risk of a spinal fracture, and what you can do to reduce your risk of an injury as you age. If you meet one or more of these points, you may be at an elevated risk for spinal fracture. While some of these factors can’t be controlled for, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to lessen your risk of a spinal fracture.
Our bones naturally lose density as we age. As we get older, our bones become weaker, making us at greater risk for spinal fracture. One way to combat this natural degeneration is through regular exercise and strength training.
Females typically experience more bone density loss than males, which as we mentioned above, leaves them at a greater risk for spinal fractures. A healthy diet full of calcium and other minerals coupled with regular exercise can help minimize this risk.
A Previous Spinal Fracture
If you’ve suffered a spinal fracture earlier in life, you are at a higher risk for a second fracture because the bone is likely slightly weakened in the previously damaged location. Even if the previous fracture is back to full strength, other areas of your spine may have been overstressed when compensating for the previous injury, meaning they may be in a weakened state. Targeted physical therapy after an initial fracture can help you achieve healthy bone growth and fusion at the site of the initial fracture.
Smoking and Drinking
Excessive smoking and alcohol intake are problematic for your health for a number of reasons, but they also take a toll on your spine and leave you susceptible to spinal fractures. These bad habits inhibit your body’s ability to absorb calcium, a key component in maintaining bone density as we age. Give up these unhealthy habits and you’ll reduce your likelihood of a back fracture.
Speaking of unhealthy lifestyle choices, a poor diet and lack of exercise can contribute to obesity, which is another factor that can increase your risk of spinal fracture. It’s easy to see how excessive weight can put added stress on your spine, which can lead to acute spinal fractures during a slip and fall accident, or it can progressively wear down your spine and weaken the bones over the years, increasing your risk of a future fracture. As has been the theme in this blog post, exercise and a balanced diet can help you maintain a healthy weight that won’t overstress your spine.