As September closes, we want to take one last chance to let you know about the impact of back diseases and potential treatment.  As you know, a lot of back diseases have similar symptoms, but the root cause can widely vary.  Pain is personal; characterizing and describing pain can be a challenge when you’re used to living with discomfort.  One person’s visit to the chiropractor for “severe pain” could be another person’s daily level of discomfort.

That said, today we’re going to talk about Paget’s Disease.  It’s the second most common bone disorder in the United States (behind osteoporosis). Paget’s disease occurs when your bone cells don’t function properly, resulting in deformed, enlarged, and fragile bones. The bones of your spine (vertebrae) are susceptible to this condition.

Let’s break it down: the disease begins with a malfunction in the two types of bone cells: osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Your bones are constantly undergoing a regenerative process where osteoclasts break down old bone, and osteoblasts build new bone in its place. When these cells work together in a balanced way, your bones are kept strong.  But when you have Paget’s disease, the osteoclasts break down old bone at a faster rate than normal, and  the new bone is placed improperly, leading to deformity. The new bone is also more fragile than healthy bone, so it’s at greater risk of fracturing.

The presence of the disease in the spinal cord typically occurs in the lower back and pelvis.  Many people who have Paget’s disease in their spine don’t know it. But, as the disease advances, the most common spinal symptom is bone pain in the neck and/or back. The pain may feel dull, persistent, and worsen at night.

However, there is hope.  Supplemental vitamins such as calcium and vitamin D can help symptoms;  regular exercise and a balanced diet can help maintain mobility.  Skilled chiropractors, like Dr. Rob Fast of the Back Pain Clinic Belleville, can help with soft tissue therapy and manipulation that can help ease compression on the nerves causing pain.  

If you suspect you might suffer from Paget’s disease, make an appointment at office located on West Main Street, across from Althoff Catholic High School.