Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, also known as Osteopenia, is a condition that causes bone to become fragile. If not prevented or treated, Osteoporosis progresses silently and painlessly into abnormally porous bones (looking like a sponge), making the skeletal system weak and prone to frequent fractures.  Minor injuries, that normally would not cause a bone to break, will affect bones in patients with Osteoporosis. These broken bones occur most frequently in the hips, spine and wrists.


Although any fracture is of importance, hip and spine fractures are of major concern. Hip fractures can impair a person’s ability to walk unassisted and may cause prolonged or permanent disability. Spine fractures can cause loss of height, severe back pain and deformity.


SYMPTOMS


Osteoporosis you usually have no pain or other symptoms. Osteoporosis doesn’t cause symptoms until bone fractures and pain appears. Sometimes these fractures may go undetected for years if there is no pain.


Once Osteoporosis has weakened the bones the following signs and symptoms may appear:


  • Back pain as a result of a fractured or collapsed vertebra (which can be severe)
  • Loss of height over time
  • A stooped posture
  • Fracture of the vertebra, wrist, hip or other bone


Spine (vertebra) fractures can cause a severe “band-like” pain that radiates from the back to the sides of the body. Repeated spinal fractures can lead to chronic lower back pain and loss of height or curving because of the collapsed vertebrae. This gives a hunched back appearance known as a dowager bump. This is commonly seen in elderly women.


Fractures that happen during the course of normal activity are called stress fractures. This  can occur by simply stepping off a curb.


Hip fractures can occur as a result of a simple injury and are typically the result of a fall. Poor healing of the bone causes hip fractures to mend slowly and poorly after surgical repair.


OSTEOPOROSIS TREATMENT – What a Chiropractor Can Do For You


There is no cure for osteoporosis and treatment methods or various medications are used only to bolster bone density, to prevent the condition from occurring, or to slow its progress.


Chiropractic care can help alleviate the pain associated with osteoporosis, help treat an osteoporosis-related injury, and can help you increase or maintain mobility. Maintaining range of motion can help you protect yourself from falls and fractures.


RISK FACTORS


There are risk factors that can increase your likelihood of developing osteoporosis. Some of these you can change and some you cannot.


Some Risk factors you can change:


  • Low calcium intake – may contribute to diminished bone density.
  • Tobacco use – contributes to weak bones.
  • Eating disorders – contribute to a higher risk of lower bone density.
  • Sedentary lifestyle – contributes to a higher risk of osteoporosis. Walking, running, jumping, dancing, and weight bearing exercises are helpful for creating healthy bones.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption – increases your risk of osteoporosis, possibly because alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
  • Corticosteroid medications – are damaging to bones if used over a long period of time.


Some Risk factors you can’t change:


  • Being a woman – Osteoporosis is almost twice as common in women as in men.
  • Getting older – the greater your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Race – If you are of White or Asian descent the risk of osteoporosis is greater.
  • Family history – If a parent or sibling has osteoporosis you are at greater risk
  • Frame size – An exceptionally thin or small body frame has a higher risk of Osteoporosis because of less bone mass to draw from as one ages
  • Thyroid hormone – Too much thyroid hormone also can cause bone loss.


MAINTAIN YOUR INDEPENDENCE


These suggestions may help relieve symptoms and may help you to maintain your independence if you have osteoporosis:


  • Maintain good posture – help avoid stress on your spine.
    • Keep your head held high, chin in, shoulders back, upper back flat and lower spine arched.
    • When you sit or drive, place a rolled towel in the small of your back.
    • Don’t lean over while reading or doing handwork.
    • Bend at your knees when lifting, not at your waist.
    • Lift with your legs, keeping your upper back straight.
  • Prevent falls.
    • Wear low-heeled shoes with nonslip soles.
    • Check area rugs and slippery surfaces that might cause you to trip or fall.
    • Keep rooms lit for good visibility.
    • Install bars inside and outside your shower doors.
    • Make sure you can get in and out of your bed easily.
  • Manage pain.

    • Discuss pain management strategies with your doctor.
    • Don’t ignore chronic pain. Left untreated, it can limit your mobility and cause even more pain.



If you suffer from osteoporosis, call us for an evaluation appointment to see what chiropractic can do for you.