ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Osteoporotic spine. Coloured X-ray of the lumbar (lower) spine of a patient with osteoporosis, showing the compaction of the spine. In a healthy patient, the vertebrae (spine bones, dark blocks) are evenly spaced and separated by intervertebral discs (not seen). Here, the vertebra just above centre is touching the one immediately above it. This can cause back pain and immobility. Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones lose mass and density. It is most common in women after the menopause. Treatment is aimed at reducing further bone loss. Regular exercise helps to keep bones strong, and care should be taken to maintain a healthy intake of calcium.
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