Monday, February 22, 2010

Beware the Rehab Doc (Osteoporosis Update)

A few months ago I completed a four part 'Beware the Rehab Doc' series of posts that, in short, delved into the discovery that I had been diagnosed with severe osteoporosis in my lower spine and both hips. As I discussed in detail, the reason that I developed osteoporosis was strictly on account of the fact that I have been mostly sitting in a wheelchair for almost fourteen years now because of my spinal cord injury. Without the weight of walking and standing, it's common for people with SCI to lose enough bone mineral density (BMD) that eventually leads to osteoporosis. For those who haven't checked them out and are interested either follow the link above or seek out the 'rehab doc' label part way down on the right hand column.

Anyway, I quickly rehash all that because I wanted to throw out an update on the osteoporosis front. As I mentioned in one of the aforementioned posts, my rehab doctor wanted me to do six month follow up bone mineral density scan exams so that we could track the bone regrowth progress. Last month I did the first follow up scan, which was still pretty involved but went much better that I outlined previously. Then today I had the follow up appointment with the rehab doc to go over the BMD scan results. I'm happy to report that I made a pretty good jump in bone growth in my spine and had a tiny bit of growth in my right hip. The left hip is unchanged. But I still think it's good news overall for two reasons: 1) I didn't lose any more BMD which was the primary objective, and 2) considering one of the osteoporosis pills I was prescribed tends not to exhibit positive bone growth results for up to two years in many cases, the fact that I had a pretty good jump in my spine and even the slightest jump in one of my hips is pretty cool in my book.

The freaky fact that I live with bad hips on account of my paralysis is still something that bounces around my mind multiple times every day, but all I can do is continue to stay careful with my body, try not to dwell on it, and stay positive. To the latter point, today was a good day because it served as proof that the tide is turning with this battle. I've just got to stick with the program and hope for more incremental improvement next time.


  1. So back when you originally went to the Rehab Doc there was concern because this was the first you learned that SCI individuals had a predisposition to osteoporosis. Are there any other similar issues that may have been overlooked by docs up to this point that you should start questioning?


  2. Up until that point I had no idea that osteoporosis affected people with SCI, because of their SCI, to such a quick and severe degree. That's why it was a shock. Yes it made me question what other SCI related health issues fell through cracks over the years, but I couldn't come up with anything. I just hope that doesn't mean that something else unthought of will be revealed in similar shocking fashion someday.