Over the years we have seen an increasing number of clients with osteoporosis, which is a disease that weakens the bones to a point where they break easily. The bones that are most commonly involved are the hips, spine and wrists. Osteoporosis is a silent disease and many people don’t know they have it until suffering a fracture. It is very important that your NBT therapist know if you have been diagnosed with osteopenia (low bone mass) or osteoporosis so they can make modifications to your treatment plan and self-care exercises.
Did you know that your bones are constantly changing and responding to the way you use your body? If your muscles get stronger, then your bones will get stronger. If your muscles lose strength, then the bones will weaken. Our bones will naturally stop increasing bone mass around the age of 30, so it is critical to maintain as much bone mass as possible through a healthy diet and exercise.
So, who is at risk of developing osteoporosis?
• White and Asian women
• Family history of fractures
• Early menopause or had your ovaries removed before your period stopped
• Deficient in calcium and/or vitamin D throughout your life
• Physically inactive
• Tobacco and alcohol use
• Low body weight and slender build
Some of the best things that you can do to keep your bones strong and prevent weakening are:
• Eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D like spinach, broccoli, and leafy greens, as well as nonfat and low-fat cheese and yogurt. Sardines and pink salmon can boost your calcium levels.
• Regular weight bearing exercise (weight training, brisk walking, hiking, climbing stairs, and dancing)
• Posture, posture, posture – MFR can help to minimize the forward slouch and take the forward pull off our bones to assist in better posture
As we get older it is important to get your bones tested with a bone density test. It is recommended that women aged 65 or older be tested for osteoporosis, as well as women under the age of 65 who are at increased risk.
Once someone has been diagnosed with osteoporosis their bones have become much more brittle. This is something to take seriously as a simple sneeze or minor fall can cause bone fractures. Compression fractures along the spine are most common. At diagnosis it is important to consult with your physician as they may recommend certain medications to slow down the rate of bone loss. Osteoporosis can’t be reversed, but there are important lifestyle changes that can help you including:
• Same items as above (proper diet, weight bearing exercise, and posture)
• Prevent falls and fall proof your home
• Avoid twisting your spine
• Avoid bending forward from the waist (conventional sit-ups, toe touches, or swinging a golf club)
• Avoid falling into a chair and lifting heavy items, especially with a rounded spine
• Consult with your NBT therapist for MFR self-care modifications
Let’s keep those bones strong while you lead an active life. Start out by being mindful with eating a healthy diet and participating in weight bearing exercises throughout your life. If you need advice on proper strengthening exercises that can be done as prevention or after an osteoporosis diagnosis, schedule a 30 minute Therapeutic Exercise session with Amy so you can get started today.