The Link Between Fibromyalgia & Spinal Osteoporosis
Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: January 26, 2017
Fibromyalgia is classified as a condition where a patient experiences widespread muscle pain, fatigue and tenderness in different areas of the body. Oftentimes the condition pops up in frequently used joints like in our knees and wrists, but it can also cause problems in other highly-stressed areas, most notably in our lumbar spine.
When the condition sets in, patients oftentimes avoid movement in the area because it’s painful, but lack of strengthening in these areas can lead to other problems. As a recent study uncovered, there’s a correlation between the development of fibromyalgia and the onset of osteoporosis in the lumbar spine.
In an effort to better understand the link between fibromyalgia and bone density issues in the lumbar spine, researchers reviewed four different studies involving nearly 700 patients with fibromyalgia. In these studies, patients with the condition were given bone mineral density scans in the lumbar spine and at the top of their femur.
Interestingly, while patients with fibromyalgia did not show any loss in bone density in the femur when compared to healthy adults, they did exhibit a significant decrease in bone density in the lumbar spine compared to a healthy sample.
“[Fibromyalgia] is associated with decreased bone mineral density at the lumbar spine compared with normal individuals from the current data,” researchers wrote. “Patients with [fibromyalgia] should be assessed for risk of osteoporosis.
Combating Osteoporosis of the Spine
Combating osteoporosis of the lumbar spine can be difficult, because as we alluded to above, fibromyalgia can leave a person without the will to exercise. Not surprisingly, exercise and strength training are two of the best ways to prevent the loss of bone density.
“Strength and aerobic capacity are associated with bone mass in women with fibromyalgia, and physical activity should be encouraged in this specific population to optimize bone health and also to prevent the risk of osteoporosis.”
So if you’re dealing with fibromyalgia, talk with your doctor or schedule a visit with a spine specialist to discuss ways to mitigate your risk of losing bone density in your lumbar spine. If you ignore the warning signs, you could be opening yourself up to an increased risk of a spinal fracture. Talk to a spine specialist today for more information.