Does Osteoporosis Hurt?

does osteoporosis hurt

One of the common symptoms of most diseases is pain. In fact, pain is one of the initial symptoms that warn about the development and progress of a disease. That is why everyone’s curiosity does osteoporosis hurt?

However, some diseases do not always cause pain or any obvious symptoms and osteoporosis are one of them!

However, there are certain subtle signs of osteoporosis that could still warn you that you might be suffering from this disease. Being aware of whether or when osteoporosis hurts and the specific symptoms it causes can help in the early diagnosis of this disease. 

You should know the risk factors and signs of osteoporosis so that you can seek appropriate treatment before the condition progresses. 

Does osteoporosis hurt?  

Osteoporosis is a disorder that causes a loss of bone mineral density.  It can make the bones weak, porous, and spongy. Bones can break easily even after a minor fall. [1]

Several factors including aging, reduced vitamin D and calcium intake, menopause, and estrogen deficiency can reduce your bone density. [2]

In most cases, patients find out they have osteoporosis when a fracture occurs. The delayed diagnosis is usually linked to the absence of pain or other symptoms.

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Very few patients with osteoporosis experience pain, discomfort, or other mild symptoms that might help in the early diagnosis of this condition.

That’s why it’s important to have a clear understanding of the subtle signs and characteristics of osteoporosis. 

The subtle signs and symptoms of osteoporosis 

Osteoporosis itself is not known to cause intense pain. Patients may experience mild discomfort during joint movements. [3]

However, these symptoms are often so subtle that they are ignored by patients. The mild pain and discomfort are usually perceived as part of aging. Sometimes, patients think that the pain could be due to osteoarthritis so they take mild painkillers for relief.

Painkillers can only provide temporary relief without treating the underlying cause, the loss of critical bone mineral density. 

Pain caused due to osteoporosis can be managed effectively by physical therapy, the application of heat and cold, and the use of braces and support devices like a walker. [4]

As the condition progresses, the bones continue to become weaker and more porous. As a result, patients may develop a fracture or other painful symptoms as described below.

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1. Fractures 

Fracture is the most common complication of osteoporosis that causes severe pain. [5]

Osteoporosis-induced fractures usually occur in the larger bones of the body. The bones in the legs and hip joints have to bear the weight of the body and break in the event of a missed step or a fall. 

Sometimes, simple movements that do not seem dangerous such as twisting to get out of a car, lifting the bag of groceries, or tripping on a rug can cause a fracture.

Fractures can take several weeks or months to heal. Patients usually experience severe pain and inability to move the part when the fracture occurs.

Over a period of time, as the fracture begins to heal, the pain begins to fade slowly. However, mild to moderate discomfort may persist for several months. 

2. Compression Fractures 

Pain in the back is one of the common signs of osteoporosis. It usually occurs due to a spinal compression fracture. [6]

A spinal compression fracture occurs when the vertebral bones in the back become so weak and spongy that they compress or collapse on each other. It may also result in cracks in these bones due to which patients experience sharp and sudden pain in the back. [7]

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The pain caused due to spinal compression fracture is usually severe and gets worse while standing and walking. Patients may feel better when they lie down.

People with small fractures may also have difficulty twisting and bending. These symptoms are often accompanied by a gradual loss of height as the vertebral bones collapse on each other. [8]

Some patients may develop an abnormal curvature of the upper part of the vertebral column resulting in kyphosis, a permanent curve in the upper back.

Being alert to changes in your body and any pain or discomfort you experience, can provide clues about when to see a physician. 

3. Transient osteoporosis of the hip

This is a rare condition that occurs due to a temporary loss of bone mass in the upper part of the thigh bone called the femur. [9]. This condition is more common in pregnant women in the late stages of pregnancy or who have recently given birth.

Patients with transient osteoporosis of the hip usually develop sudden pain that intensifies while walking and performing weight-bearing activities. In most cases, the pain becomes worse over time and causes considerable disability. 

These symptoms subside gradually over a period of 6 to 12 months. Bone mineral density in the femur generally returns to normal in most patients.

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Transient osteoporosis of the hip, in spite of its name, is different from age-related osteoporosis. While age-related osteoporosis is a progressive condition that usually causes no pain, transient osteoporosis of the hip is marked by several characteristic symptoms as mentioned beneath [10]

  • Abrupt onset of pain usually in the front of the thigh, the sides of the hip, groin, and buttocks
  • No history of injury or accident that could trigger pain
  • Pain intensifies due to extreme movements of the hip
  • A noticeable limp 


Not all people with osteoporosis experience pain. In some cases, osteoporosis does hurt, giving clues that you need to seek treatment, but don’t wait until you experience pain.

You should undergo regular tests including bone densitometry to assess your risk of developing this condition.

Regular testing will help in the early diagnosis of osteoporosis even when it does not hurt and allow you to receive proper treatment before any complications arise. 



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