Ever since we were kids, we’ve been told that drinking milk will make our bones unbreakable! But does this childhood mantra still hold water, or was it just a white lie (pun intended)?
Well, the numbers speak for themselves. The International Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that more than 10 million American adults are dealing with osteoporosis, with another 40 million adults aged 50 and older being at risk.
Although not a deadly condition, osteoporosis can affect your health and well-being down the road. Research found that 50% of women and 25% of men in the US will break a bone because of this disease. Osteoporosis has earned the “silent disease” nickname since it does not show any noticeable symptoms until a bone breaks or fractures.
As more and more patients are researching alternative, less invasive avenues of treating this disease, today’s article will cover why chiropractic adjustments are an excellent addition to any osteoporosis treatment!
First of All, What Is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease whose onset occurs due to decreased bone density (i.e., the body loses too much bone mass or creates too little of it). Therefore, the bones become fragile and can easily break or fracture — even from minor falls, bumps, or strains!
The most commonly affected bones are the hip, spine, and wrist. Osteoporosis affects both men and women, although it is more common in postmenopausal women due to decreased estrogen levels. Calcium deficiencies, steroid use, and thyroid issues are additional risk factors for this bone disease. Patients with diseases that affect bone density, such as rheumatoid arthritis or celiac disease, are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, too.
What Are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis has genuinely earned its “silent disease” moniker since it does not show any noticeable symptoms until a bone suffers some form of trauma (e.g., break or fracture). However, it does exhibit a handful of symptoms accurate enough to guide you toward a solid diagnosis:
- Fracture or break in a bone after a minor fall or injury
- Loss of height over time
- Lower back pain
- Stooped posture or hunched back
- Weakness in the bones, making them more susceptible to fractures.
How Is Osteoporosis Diagnosed?
Several tests will help medical professionals diagnose osteoporosis in a patient. The most commonly used test is called a bone density scan or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). This quick, painless procedure measures the bone density of the hip and spine and can determine if someone has osteoporosis or is at risk for developing it.
The results of your DEXA test are evaluated based on a standard deviation (SD) scale or a T score:
- Anything above -1 SD means healthy bones
- Anything between -1 and -2.5 SD means osteopenia (i.e., the stage before osteoporosis)
- Anything below -2.5 SD means osteoporosis
Other helpful tests for diagnosing this bone condition are:
- Blood tests to check for vitamin D and calcium levels
- X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans to ascertain your bone health
How Does Chiropractic Care Help Address Osteoporosis?
Chiropractic care is a valuable path toward treatment for all patients with osteoporosis! That is because a treatment plan that includes chiropractic sessions will help them achieve pain relief faster without resorting to additional invasive treatments! However, each patient will require a different treatment approach, so consult a healthcare provider before undergoing chiropractic treatment.
Chiropractic care can be adjusted based on the individual’s medical history and the severity of osteoporosis. Therefore, the chiropractor may avoid using high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) techniques that involve twisting or quick spine movements. Instead, they will use gentle and low-force techniques such as mobilization or soft tissue therapy to improve joint mobility, relieve pain, and promote healing.
Chiropractic treatments will also help prevent falls and fractures by improving balance, coordination, and flexibility. Our expert chiropractors will recommend exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected bones, making them more resistant and resilient to fractures. Additionally, we will provide recommendations on nutrition and lifestyle changes to improve bone health and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis!
Does a Healthy Lifestyle Help Prevent Osteoporosis?
Ultimately, it’s the patient’s lifestyle that determines whether they’ll be predisposed to osteoporosis in the future. But with a few adjustments, your bones will become unbreakable!
1. Get a Healthy Dose of Calcium
Calcium opens the list of crucial nutrients for bone health, as it is the primary component of bones. Foods such as dairy products, fortified cereals, and leafy green vegetables will ensure the recommended daily calcium intake (i.e., 1000 mg for adults aged 19-50 and 1200 mg for those over 50). Consider adding calcium supplements to your diet if you can’t get enough of this precious nutrient from your daily meals.
2. Get a Healthy Dose of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential if you want calcium to be effectively absorbed and utilized by the body. The skin synthesizes this nutrient when exposed to sunlight, but we all know that the sad winter months make it hard for us to get all the sunshine we would like. Fatty fish, fortified dairy products, and egg yolks will help you reach the daily recommended dietary allowance of 600 IU for adults aged 19-70 and 800 IU for adults aged >70.
3. Spend More Time Exercising
Regular exercise helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis by stimulating bone growth and increasing bone density. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, running, and strength training are particularly beneficial for the health of your bones! The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends 30 to 40 minutes of exercise three to four times per week, with some weight-bearing and resistance exercises as part of the program.
4. Quit Smoking and Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are harmful to bone health, as they both weaken the bones, making them more susceptible to fractures. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women can help prevent osteoporosis and improve overall health.
5. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being underweight increases the risk of osteoporosis, as there is less mass for your bones to lose. However, being overweight is also harmful to bone health, as it increases the risk of falls and fractures. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise will make it harder for osteoporosis to affect the health of your bones.
6. Get Regular Bone Density Tests
Bone density tests can detect early signs of brittle bones and help prevent osteoporosis. Experts recommend at least one bone density test per year for patients on medication for osteoporosis, as well as those with risk factors such as a history of osteoporosis in the family, tobacco addiction, or low body weight.
It’s Time To Relieve Your Osteoporosis Symptoms With Chiropractic Care!
At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Access our contact form or call us at (201) 945-4075 to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices at 532 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, and 62 Summit Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601, are ready to welcome you as we proudly serve New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD, areas. Also, feel free to access our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more information on chiropractic treatments!