Paget’s Disease is a bone ailment that impedes the body’s normal processes of remodeling bone. The condition is rare, affecting less than 1% of the population, and occurs in older individuals, most often in men. There is not a known cause of Paget’s disease, but research indicates that genetics and environmental factors play a substantial role. The bones of the spine are one of the primary areas affected. Currently, there is no cure for Paget’s Disease, but it can be treated with medication, and surgery when needed if it is detected early.
Paget’s Disease alters spinal bone structure by causing a disruption in their formation during remodeling. The result is a bone that is softer and weaker than normal, which creates an increased risk of distortion due to a lack of density. Thus, the brittle bone is more fragile and has a higher likelihood of developing cracks or breaks under normal physical stress.
Although the causes of Paget’s Disease have not been identified, studies have shown a link between certain genes that can trigger a virus, which then signals osteoclasts (bone cells) to reabsorb bone at an altered rate.
Symptoms of Paget’s Disease include bone pain, irregularities, and an increased incidence of fractures. When the condition affects spinal bone, individuals may experience nerve compression leading to numbness, tingling, and pain in the arms and legs. Some people with Paget’s Disease do not experience any symptoms.
An X-ray often diagnoses Paget’s disease when undergoing evaluation for other problems. CT scanning, MRI, and bone scanning can also aid in finding the condition. A bone biopsy is done if there is a suspicion of cancer.
Treatment of Paget’s Disease focuses on managing symptoms and disease activity. If there are no symptoms, then no treatment is needed. Medication is prescribed for pain and inflammation control, with other medications used to help strengthen bone when symptoms are present. Adaptive devices, such as heel lifts and supportive footwear are also beneficial. Surgery is sometimes needed to stabilize severely damaged bones deformed joints. It is important for Paget’s disease to be treated early before significant bone changes occur.
If you have been experiencing bone pain and would like to schedule a consultation to find out about our treatment choices, please contact our Seguin or New Braunfels offices.