Osteoporosis is a gradual disintegration of bone and it can have a devastating impact on the joints and vertebrae of your spine. Osteoporosis causes the loss of mass and density in bones, making them highly susceptible to fractures. If the bones in your spine become weak and spongy, your spine gradually compresses, sometimes impinging nerves and causing pain and other problems. Additionally, the spinal compression affects internal organs, leading to other problems. People with advanced osteoporosis sometimes take on a hunchback shape. Osteoporosis is caused by a deficiency of calcium in the body. Smoking and alcohol consumption both interfere with calcium absorption. Other factors, such as stress, diabetes, menopause, lack of exercise, and even overuse of laxatives, have been associated with osteoporosis. Women who smoke are at a significantly higher risk of having osteoporosis than any other demographic because long-term smoking causes a decrease in the body's estrogen levels. Spinal osteoporosis is hard to spot in its early stages. In advanced stages, people complain of chronic pain, loss of mobility, and shorter or humped-over stature.