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Hi, my mother is sixty five years old. She was diagnosed with osteoporosis ten years ago. Since then she regularly takes her estrogen supplements and follows her doctor's orders. But, for the last couple of weeks she has been feeling intense lower back pain. When I took her to have her regular check up, the doctor implied that the reason for her back pain is spinal compression. He said that he will have to do some tests to make sure. He scheduled another appointment in two days. I haven't heard about this condition before. Can you explain how will this affect my mother's condition? Will she be able to take care of herself?

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Hi, spinal compression is actually a fracture of the vertebra that causes the spine to collapse. Vertebrae are the bones that form our spine. The cause of spinal compression fracture, in your mother's case, is her osteoporosis. Her bones are losing their density and even normal everyday activities, like bending over to pick something up, can cause fractures. Spinal compression fractures in older people are often untreated, because the symptoms are assigned to old age. Your mother is lucky that her doctor spotted her problem. If it was left untreated spinal compression fracture could have caused serious consequences, like severe breathing difficulties, that can be life threatening. The treatment includes a carefully selected pain killers and back brace that is used to limit the motion of fractured vertebra until it heals. Surgery can also be an option, but your mother's doctor will determine if this step is necessary. Until your mother recovers, she will need all the help she can get. You should be there for her because this is a very serious condition that needs to be treated properly, if you want her to heal as fast as possible.
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