Osteoporosis is commonly known as the “silent disease”, mostly because it progresses without any outward symptoms or signs for years and sometimes even decades. It is a bone weakening disease that develops gradually and makes bones so fragile that they could fracture under normal use. A minor fall or even a bump can cause a bone to break in someone with osteoporosis and normally this would not occur in someone without the disease. Osteoporosis affects over ten million people, causing 1.5 million fractures from the disease and usually common fractures sites tend to occur in the spine, then hips, followed by forearms and other bones. Due to this fact alone, people with the disease believe that they should not or cannot perform any type of physical exercise; unfortunately this is a huge misconception, chiropractic care for osteoporosis in Jacksonville, FL helps you in understanding the problem and its vital solution.
Osteoporosis quite literally means “a condition in which pores develop on the bones causing them to become weak and brittle”. There are many risk factors involved in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis, especially concerning gender and age. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 68% of the 44 million people at risk for osteoporosis are women and one out of every two of those women over the age of 50 will likely have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. Diet can also be a contributing factor to osteoporosis, particularly deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D, as well as excessive caffeine intake. Calcium levels need to be adequate in order for bones to stay healthy and dense and since calcium is not made in the body naturally it is necessary to obtain it through the foods you eat. Vitamin D comes into play when it comes to protecting your bones and even more importantly, it is required for proper absorption of calcium.
There are a great number of benefits and successes for those with chiropractic care for osteoporosis in Jacksonville who integrate a complete and comprehensive care plan into their lives as part of their routine and not only should the immediate benefits be convincing enough, but fitness, dietary modifications and chiropractic care should really be a part of a multifaceted approach to the treatment and prevention of the disease. Research has shown that exercise training can in fact increase, or at least minimize the amount of decrease in, the bone mineral density by approximately 1% to 2% per year of duration. Although this percentage may sound small, even the smallest improvements in bone mineral density in response to exercise can translate into a very large increase in one’s resistance to fracture. It is when there is a complete lack of activity and periods of immobility that one is at the greatest risk for bone loss, and therefore bone fracture. The bones themselves require a lifelong commitment to physical activity and exercise, and each bone in the body must be stressed to grow strong and maintain strength. When force or stress is applied to the bone, the bone bends and in order for it to become bigger and more dense, the stress must be applied above and bend normal levels; this is where exercise could not be more vital for people living with osteoporosis in order to reduce the risk of fractures. Reducing the risk of fractures is not the only benefit to exercising for those with this disease. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, benefits to exercise also include an increase in muscle strength, improving balance and coordination, maintaining or improving posture, helping you to better carry out daily tasks and activities, relieving or decreasing pain, and improving your sense of well-being.
Although there is no cure for osteoporosis, chiropractic for osteoporosis in Jacksonville, FL can yield extremely positive results when it comes to treating and preventing the disease. Not only is it a non-surgical, hands-on approach to treatment but a chiropractor can help relieve so many of the symptoms that can be associated with osteoporosis. Additionally, chiropractic care can be monumental in helping to identify the root cause of osteoporosis in individuals and a chiropractor can construct a short term and long term care plan that will help sufferers manage their pain and move forward. Part of a treatment plan may include things such as bone scans, x-rays of the spine, and mineral density tests in order to pinpoint what is actually causing the bones to degenerate. Spinal manipulations, relaxation techniques, rehabilitative exercises and physical therapy, ice therapy, electro-muscle stimulation, orthopedic support, and even counseling on nutrition and dietary supplements are all options that are usually offered to patients in order to alleviate symptoms. Not only can the pain from osteoporosis be relieved with these methods but learning how to improve things such as balance, muscle tone, joint mobility, and range of motion can protect patients from possible osteoporosis-related fractures and future falls. Each care plan developed by a chiropractor is tailored and catered to an individual and their needs, making it a personal and unique approach to the treatment of osteoporosis.
Exercise Prescription – So What Is Recommended?
Since exercise is such an essential part of treatment and prevention for patients living with osteoporosis, it is important to make sure the correct exercise prescription is followed in order to prevent injury. According to the ACSM (American Sports College of Medicine) the best exercise program for someone living with osteoporosis would consist of three 60-75 minute supervised sessions per week and would contain the following six components:
- Warmup – Walk 5 to 10 minutes before beginning each component, this could be done a treadmill. If this is too difficult or painful, maybe moving around in place, such as to music would also be sufficient.
- Progressive Weight Bearing – For 25 minutes, perform one of several types of weight bearing exercises such as stair climbing, stepping, or walking with a weighted vest. If it becomes too painful or difficult to perform weight bearing exercises, regular cardiovascular exercise may be performed such as swimming, water aerobics, or cycling on a stationary bike for the same amount of time.
- Resistance Exercise with Large Muscle Groups – For 20 minutes, perform eight resistance exercises using machines and free weights. Be sure to emphasize the large muscle groups of the arms, legs, and upper and lower trunk. Perform at the most two sets of 6-8 repetitions and allow for 45-60 second rest in between sets.
- Resistance Exercise with Small Muscle Groups – For 10 minutes, perform activities that work the small muscle groups such as using elastic bands, free weights (1-3 lb dumbbells), or a physiotherapy ball.
- Abdominal Strengthening – For 5 minutes, train the abdominal muscles by performing a variety of lower extremity movements with the spine stabilized. Use ankle weights if you need to increase resistance.
- Stretching and Balance – For 5 minutes, perform a variety of stretching and balancing exercises.
Contributed by Lauren Frampton, B.S.