All About Osteoporosis
Did you know that World Osteoporosis Day is marked on the 20th of October? So we’ve decided to make it our focus this month. World Osteoporosis Day, after all, is about education and awareness. So, what is osteoporosis and can you do to prevent it? How do you manage it? And how can the Osteopaths help?
What Is It?
Osteoporosis is often referred to as a “silent disease” because it develops gradually and doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms until a fracture occurs. Essentially, it’s a condition that weakens your bones, making them more fragile and prone to fractures. Our bones are living tissues, constantly being broken down and rebuilt. But with osteoporosis, the balance tips, and the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the removal of old bone, leading to a decrease in bone density.
Prevention is Key
Preventing osteoporosis is more effective than trying to treat it once it’s developed. Here are some key steps you can take to reduce your risk:
- Nutrition: A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is essential for strong bones. Dairy products, leafy greens, fortified foods, and supplements can help you meet your calcium and vitamin D needs (and sunshine for Vitamin D of course!).
- Exercise: Regular weight-bearing exercises like walking, dancing, and resistance training can strengthen your bones. They help stimulate bone growth and reduce the risk of bone loss. How? Exercise stimulates mechanical loading on the bones, which triggers cells to build and strengthen bone tissue. Additionally, physical activity helps maintain calcium balance in the body (by regulating hormones like parathyroid hormone (PTH) and calcitonin) and promotes the release of growth factors, contributing to improved bone density and reduced risk of fractures.
- Avoid Smoking and Excess Alcohol: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can weaken bones. Why? Smoking impairs bone cell function and inhibits collagen production, leading to decreased bone density and strength. Additionally, smoking increases oxidative stress and inflammation, disrupting the balance of bone re-modelling and ultimately increasing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. While alcohol interferes with calcium absorption in the intestines. Chronic alcohol consumption interferes with hormone production, resulting, among other things in less estrogen being produced. So, quitting smoking and moderating alcohol intake can contribute to better bone health.
Managing Osteoporosis with Osteopathy
Now, let’s discuss how the Osteopaths might be able to assist in managing osteoporosis. It’s important to note that there’s no miraculous cure. But it is manageable. We can offer advice to help guide you to strengthen your bones, and work on overall alignment and balance making falls and fractures less likely. We may also be able to help with managing your pain. It’s a complex condition and you want a great team supporting you. We want to part of your team. Read on to find out how…
- Assessment: As always, we start with a thorough assessment. We can assess your posture, mobility, and musculoskeletal issues. We’ll pay particular attention to issues related to osteoporosis, but also to other signs that might exacerbate the pain and dangers associated with the condition.
- Pain Management: Through gentle manipulations and massage we may be able to help you manage pain associated with osteoporosis. These techniques aim to reduce muscle tension, improve circulation, and enhance your overall comfort.
- Exercise Guidance: It’s never too late to start exercising. After a thorough assessment we’ll be able to recommend safe and appropriate exercises to strengthen your muscles (and therefore your bones) and improve balance. This can be crucial in reducing the risk of falls and fractures, which are common concerns for individuals with osteoporosis.
- Lifestyle Recommendations: Our Osteopath may offer advice on lifestyle modifications to reduce the risk of fractures. This may include tips on fall prevention and ergonomic adjustments to your daily activities.
- Collaboration: We will work closely with our other healthcare professionals that you may see, such as our Physiotherapists for clinical Pilates to strengthen your body, our Naturopathic Doctor for nutrition advice, or our Chiropodist for feet support and body alignment, providing a holistic approach to managing osteoporosis. Get a team to support you. Teamwork makes all the difference!
Osteoporosis is a condition that requires proactive prevention and comprehensive management. Our team at BeacHealth can play a valuable role in helping individuals with osteoporosis to enhance their bone health, reduce pain, and improve their overall well-being. If you’re concerned about osteoporosis or already have it, we look forward to working with you to help you manage the condition and get the most out of life despite of it. And remember, a healthy lifestyle and proactive care can go a long way in managing osteoporosis and maintaining a strong, resilient skeleton.