As the baby boomer generation ages, older patients are becoming a larger portion of the patient mix at chiropractic offices. But chiropractors who treat older patients with back pain need to be vigilant about the additional risks posed by osteoporosis. Patients over 50 with osteoporosis are at a higher risk of incurring spinal fractures, and as a report released this month by the International Osteoporosis Foundation indicates, these serious fractures go undiagnosed in as many as 65% of cases worldwide. Often, the pain symptoms associated with the fracture are mistaken for arthritis, or other types of back pain, but if undetected they can lead to serious complications down the road, and increase the risk of additional fractures.
Chiropractors should be aware of the symptoms of spinal fractures, which include a stooped back, height reduction, and sudden, severe back pain. The report “The Breaking Spine” was written by researchers from the University of California and Harvard Medical School.