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My mother has gotten shorter and is now experiencing discomfort in her side.

My mom is 71 years old and has lost 2-1/2 inches in height.  For about the past year she experiences discomfort in her right side when sitting down. She's been to her doctor and had x-rays and ultrasounds, both of which have come back negative.  Her doctor seems to think that because she has shrunk by 2-1/2 inches, the problem is that her bones are compressing, and when she is sitting her ribs are bowing out and causing the discomfort due to the compression. He says nothing can be done to alleviate the discomfort.  Does this sound plausible -- especially not being able to provide relief?
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134578 tn?1614729226
COMMUNITY LEADER
Has she had a bone-density scan? It does sound like osteoporosis, but x-rays and ultrasounds are not the way to diagnose it, she should have a scan specifically to look at how much strength is left in her bones. If her regular doctor has not ordered a bone-density scan, her ob/gyn certainly will. (I've had two of them, and I'm younger than your mom, both ordered by my gynecologist.) This will help to rule out (or rule in) the doctor's idea that her bones are "bowing out." And if they are, she should be told if they are at risk of fracture. It sounds logical from the height loss that she has weakened bones, but it doesn't sound like the doc has checked to see her painful rib is suffering from microfractures.

Is she taking a medication to strengthen her bones, such as Fosamax? Is she taking extra calcium? The doc should have prescribed one of those or both, plus exercise, if he was sure she has osteoporosis.

If the bone-density scan reveals that she *doesn't* have particularly weakened bones, she should see a different doc about her back and what might be compressing her discs.
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