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OSTEOPOROSIS - the silent killer Self-care tips

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

"Osteoporosis—the loss of bone density and weakening of your skeleton—is a silent disease and causes no symptoms until someone has a fracture,” according to Deborah Sellmeyer, M.D., medical director of Johns Hopkins Metabolic Bone Centre

It’s estimated that 6.2 million Australians, aged 50 years or older, had osteoporosis or osteopenia in 2022.

How osteoporosis occurs

Osteoporosis, literally “porous bone,” is a disease that thins the framework inside bones so much that even a minor fall or bump against a car door or piece of furniture may cause a fracture.

A break can happen at any spot on your skeleton, but fractures of the wrist, hip, and spine are among the most common.

Until about age 25, old bone is broken down and replaced daily with new bone. The body is adding more new bone than it takes away, so bone density increases.

From about age 25 to age 50, bone density tends to stay stable with equal amounts of bone formation and bone breakdown.

After age 50, bone breakdown (resorption) outpaces bone formation and bone loss often accelerates, particularly at the time of menopause.

Can osteoporosis be cured?

There is no cure for osteoporosis.

However, there are ways to prevent it, ways to slow down its progression, and — if you catch it early enough — ways to counteract it.

Can osteoporosis be reversed?

Once diagnosed with osteoporosis you have it for life.

There are however lifestyle changes and treatments such as chiropractic which can slow the progression of this disease.

Chiropractic care for osteoporosis sufferers

How chiropractic can aid in treatment of osteoporosis

Any osteoporosis treatment regime stresses the importance of patients to keep moving.

Weight-bearing exercise is a major contributing factor in improving lifestyle.

Unfortunately, many sufferers find stiff joint and muscle pain inhibits what exercise they can do.

Chiropractic plays a major part in osteoporosis treatment by increasing the range of motion and strengthening weakened muscles, allowing osteoporosis sufferers to regain their mobility and increase activity levels.

This is essential in any osteoporosis treatment regime.

Chiropractic adjustments also improve balance and coordination.

The specialised exercises which may be prescribed by a chiropractor can also help restore independence to those who have limited mobility due to their condition.

Can osteoporosis cause pain?

While osteoporosis doesn't directly cause pain, the fractures resulting from weakened bones can be a significant source of pain and discomfort for individuals with the condition.

When is osteoporosis typically diagnosed?

Osteoporosis is typically diagnosed through bone density testing, also known as bone mineral density (BMD) testing, and is recommended for the following groups:

1. Postmenopausal Women

2. Men Over 70

3. Younger Individuals with Risk Factors: such as a family history of osteoporosis, prolonged steroid use, certain medical conditions, or a history of low-impact fractures.

4. Experiencing a Fracture After Age 50: particularly if the result of a minor fall

Early detection and intervention can help manage osteoporosis effectively.

The Garvan Institute and Healthy Bones Australia have developed a self-assessment tool which is available here.

Osteoporosis Where is it most common

Osteoporosis can affect various bones in the body, but it is most commonly associated with the following areas:

Spine (Vertebrae)


Wrist Pelvis, Ribs, and Other Bones

Can osteoporosis kill you?

Osteoporosis itself is not typically a direct cause of death. However, it can lead to complications that, in severe cases, can have a significant impact on a person's health and, indirectly, increase mortality risk.

Can osteoporosis be prevented?

YES, and it’s never too early to start thinking about maintaining bone mineral density.

Osteoporosis self-care

There are many healthy habits you can incorporate into your daily routine to help maintain your bone mass and keep your bones strong:

Add calcium to your diet.

The Mayo Clinic recommends the following dosage.

For adults 19 to 50 and men 51 to 70, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. The recommendation increases to 1,200 milligrams a day for women 51 and older and for men 71 and older.

Look for calcium in dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, and tofu.

Vitamin D

Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium.

For adults 19 to 70, the RDA of vitamin D is 600 international units a day. The recommendation increases to 800 international units a day for adults 71 and older.

Vitamin D can be found in oily fish, mushrooms, eggs, and fortified cereals. Sun exposure for 15 minutes a day can help your body produce vitamin D as well.

Get moving

Weight-bearing exercises

can help you build strong bones and

slow bone loss.

Try walking, jogging, or climbing stairs.

Eat a healthy diet

Include plenty of calcium-containing foods, such as dairy products.

Commit to a regular regime of chiropractic therapy.

Nobody heals the body better than the body.

Focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, chiropractic is an all-inclusive and natural therapy.

With a holistic and non-invasive approach, chiropractors offer a variety of safe treatments tailored to each patient's individual situation and needs.

While some may consider osteoporosis a contraindication to spinal manipulation,

chiropractors are able to treat patients with low bone density safely and effectively. Of course, a patient would only be accepted for chiropractic therapy after a considered review of their situation.

Chiropractic also helps sufferers of osteoporosis with:

Pain Management:

Chiropractors can provide manual manipulation of the spine and other joints to alleviate musculoskeletal pain and discomfort associated with osteoporosis. This may help improve a patient's overall quality of life.

Improved Mobility:

A vital part of any osteoporosis treatment regime, movement is key.

Chiropractic adjustments may enhance joint mobility and flexibility.

Some individuals with osteoporosis

experience stiffness and limited range of motion,

and chiropractic care addresses these issues.

Postural Improvement:

Chiropractors may work on posture correction, which can be beneficial for individuals with osteoporosis. Proper posture can reduce the risk of falls and fractures.

Avoid substance abuse Don't smoke.

Don't drink more than two alcoholic drinks a day.

Talk with your healthcare team. They can help you evaluate your risk and develop a prevention plan right for you.

Are osteoporosis and osteopenia the same?

Osteopenia is when your bone density is between normal and osteoporosis.

Key takeaways

spinal health impacts bone health

Osteoporosis is a chronic disease that makes your bones more likely to break.

Many people don’t know that they have osteoporosis until they break or fracture a bone.

Osteoporosis can be managed through lifestyle changes and prescription medicines that strengthen your bones.

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1 Comment

Nov 24, 2023

This insightful article on osteoporosis not only sheds light on the often overlooked aspects of this silent killer but also serves as a crucial wake-up call, emphasising the importance of proactive measures and chiropractic care in promoting bone health for a resilient and vibrant life.

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