May is Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month.
Whilst Osteopaths cannot do anything directly for osteoporosis, we can often detect problems linked with loss of bone density, identify risk factors and help give advice to possibly decrease the risk of fracture.
Osteoporosis is a loss of bone density, resulting in weaker bones making them more prone to fracture. The most common fractures following a fall are wrist and hip fractures, but we can often see crush fractures (collapse) of the vertebrae, most commonly in the thoracic spine. If a patient has broken bones regularly from a fall or cannot justify a fracture following a more gentle impact, we will suspect osteoporosis.
Our bone density is laid down throughout childhood until our early twenties. The more impact exercise we do, along with a good diet, the higher our bone density will be and the further the drop we have until “the danger zone”.
Following this time, our bone density plateaus generally until our mid thirties when bone density starts to decline slightly. In females, the loss of bone density often progresses more quickly following the menopause. This is why an earlier menopause is not favourable with regards to bone health. Often, the first symptom of osteoporosis is a fracture, apart from this, symptoms are few and far between. However, loss of height especially with curvature of the spine is indicative and warrants further investigation.
In osteopathic patients, we can often identify risk factors.
Currently the most common are known to be:
Age (risk increases with age)
Post menopausal (the earlier your menopause, the more likely osteoporosis will develop in your lifetime)
High alcohol intake
Poor diet, especially low in calcium and/or vitamin D
Low testosterone levels
Amenorrhoea (loss of menstrual period) associated with decreased oestrogen levels, for example following vigorous/extreme exercise
Long term immobility
Long term use of oral steroids, phenytoin and heparin
Whilst osteoporosis is not reversible, many risk factors can be changed to help slow down the loss of bone density.
Here at Maypole Health, we would always refer to your GP if we were concerned about the possibility of osteoporosis or arrange for a private DEXA scan. We offer a supplement called Osteoguard, manufactured by Lamberts. This is an all-in-one bone health formula containing high levels of calcium, magnesium, boron and vitamins D and K.
We always promote weight bearing exercise and often encourage exercise with weights (this should be done under recommendation). If you’re concerned about the risk of osteoporosis, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01621 888080 and we will try to help.
We also thought you might find the following links useful.