I’ve noticed over on NOF that many people when talking about their DEXAs mistake the femoral neck reading for having something to do with their spines. It doesn’t. Not in the least. The femoral neck is part of your hip joint. It’s called a “neck” because it is rather graceful and tapered like a neck. It connects the femoral head, the large, round protuberance at the top of your thigh bone that inserts into the acetabulum (your hip socket) to the femoral shaft (the thigh bone.)
The density in the femoral neck is important because typically it is the most vulnerable area to fracture.
I wrote something about this before, loooooooong ago, when I first started blogging (although I’ve since learned that it may not be safe to use resistance bands or cable machines around the ankles — it puts too much stress on the hip bone)
Back to the topic at hand — why is the femoral neck so vulnerable? It has to do with the fact that as women, we are childbearers. Which means our hip girdle/pelvis area needs to be wider than a man’s. See the image below. (The lady pelvis is the top one.)
But women still walk around on two legs, just like men, and in order to be able to do that with that wonderful, swinging stride that human beings have perfected, our feet need to be under our torso. Which means the angle at which our femur inserts into our hip socket is a much sharper angle than it is for men. (They call it the Q angle. I don’t really know why they call it the Q angle — maybe because the quadriceps run along this bone?) See the image below.
That increased angle puts more pressure on the neck of the femur, making the femur neck most vulnerable to fracture. That’s why those spontaneous femur fractures are called “atypical” — because that’s not usually the part of a femur that breaks.
Anyway, when you look at your DEXA, the number that says Femoral Neck — it’s talking about that skinny strip of bone between your thigh and knobby end of your thigh bone, not your spine. They usually measure your left femoral neck, right femoral neck, then give you the mean femoral neck (the average of those two numbers together), and then do the same for the femoral shaft (the long part of the thigh bone.)
Hope that helps.