Strong bones are critical to living a vibrant and healthy life as we age. To help those most at risk continue to live well, Comprehensive Pain & Neurology Center now offers an Osteoporosis Clinic. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both.
“Nearly 54 million Americans have low bone density or osteoporosis, which makes them more likely to suffer a broken bone,” says Linda Bonifield, MSN, APRN, AGNP-C, a nurse practitioner at Comprehensive Pain & Neurology Center who helped create the clinic. “Broken bones are not a normal part of aging, and through our clinic, we’re working to help patients avoid the worst effects of this terrible disease.”
The inside of healthy bone has small spaces, like a honeycomb. For someone with osteoporosis, these spaces increase in size, which causes the inside of the bone to lose strength and density, and the outside of the bone to grow weak and fragile. People with osteoporosis are at a higher risk of fragility fractures such as a fall from standing height or less, but also while doing everyday activities such as standing or walking. The bones most affected by osteoporosis are the thoracic and lumbar vertebra, hips, wrists and ribs.
Who is at risk for osteoporosis?
While osteoporosis can affect people of any age, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, it is most common in individuals over the age of 50. In fact, one in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
Individuals who should consider being evaluated by CPNC’s Osteoporosis Office include:
- postmenopausal women and men age 50 and older;
- individuals with a diet low in calcium;
- individuals who are thin;
- individuals of Caucasian or Asian descent;
- individuals with history of a broken bone after age 50; or
- individuals with a family history of osteoporosis.
What to expect at the clinic
When a new patient visits the Osteoporosis Clinic, clinic providers Bonifield and Comprehensive Pain and Neurology Center founder Dr. John Schneider work closely with patients to understand their history and their concerns.
At the first visit, patients can expect a spine exam and health history. The providers will also check for secondary causes for osteoporosis through lab work and imaging.
In addition to evaluating for osteoporosis, we offer treatment for vertebral compression fracture, including kyphoplasty, as well as medication treatment regimens to build bone.
Another important element is education, says Bonifield, who is a member of the National Osteoporosis Foundation’s Professional Partners Network.
“We educate patients on healthy diet and exercise treatments to build and maintain healthy bones,” she says.
Comprehensive Pain & Neurology Center is a leader in providing osteoporosis care; there are no other local clinics dedicated to preventing, diagnosing and treating this potentially debilitating disease.
Why is it important to be treated for osteoporosis?
A broken bone, such as a hip fracture, is a serious concern, especially for older patients.
For older patients, a fracture will likely require surgery to restore function and manage pain. This also increases the risk for infection, blood clots in the legs or lungs, bedsores, urinary tract infections and pneumonia.
Additionally, healing time is longer in older adults, which leads to further muscle atrophy and may lead to an increased risk of falls due to a loss of mobility. Many patients won’t return to the same level of activity and independence following a hip fracture.
“Osteoporosis is commonly called the silent disease, but at Comprehensive Pain & Neurology Center, our goal is to educate, treat and prevent osteoporosis and ultimately prevent broken bones to help our patients live their best, most active and healthy lives,” says Bonifield.
To learn more about our Osteoporosis Clinic, call 615-410-4990 or visit the Osteoporosis Clinic page on our website.