At the best of times, the concept of bone density can be a little overwhelming. For the majority of people out there, bone density and its importance is a foreign concept made visible only when issues in the form of broken bones, ailments, or pain arise. The thing is, though, when it comes to osteoporosis, bone density is the main feature, not the trailer. If you’re reading this, chances are that you yourself suffer from osteoporosis or perhaps know someone who does. Maybe you’re here to find out what it is, or maybe you’re here to find some relief for its symptoms – either way, you’re in the right place. In this blog post, then, we’re talking about all things osteoporosis: what it is, what it means to live with it, what one can do to counteract its effects, and how lifestyle changes can alter its intensity. If you’re ready, let’s get to it.
Let’s start with what osteoporosis really is. ‘Osteo’ means bone, whilst ‘porosis’ refers to density, hence ‘osteoporosis’ literally refers to the density of bone, or the porousness of the bone. In actual fact, the ailment osteoporosis is a term used to describe a decline in bone density as a result of leached nutrients, thereby leading too brittle or fragile bones – the ultimate outcome of which may result in breaks and serious structural weaknesses. But, please take heart – living with osteoporosis isn’t a death sentence; it just means that some things need to change.
Before we get to all that, let’s see what it means to live with osteoporosis. As bones get more brittle, individuals tend to be more fearful of falls, fractures, and breaks, which can – in many cases – lead people to become more sedentary and secluded. Individuals may experience back pain, increasing aches, and a general sense of instability. However, this does not have to be the norm – living with osteoporosis can, in fact, usher in a lifestyle that is healthy, active, mobile, and full of confidence. Low bone density does not equate the end of an exciting, active, mobile life.
Here’s the thing – yes, there may be pain. And yes, there may be times of struggle, but at the end of the day the decisions you make are the ones that determine where your life will go. Some people take daily pain killers, whilst others adjust diets and take daily walks – it’s how you approach the situation that will make all the difference.
Let me tell you something I’d like you to remember: you have to stay active. Living with brittle bones doesn’t mean you need to be locked in a room and never do any exercise. In fact, that can make everything so much worse! The best thing you can do for osteoporosis is to move!
How do you get there, though? How do you change your life in the face of so much fear? I understand the precipice you now face: do you take a chance or not? I urge you to take it, if only to know that you never gave in to fear. You really can overcome this. How?
Well, first thing’s fist: get active. Hold your horses, though – I can see you getting the jumping rope out! Living with osteoporosis means you need to exercises that won’t exacerbate pain or place undue pressure on your joints. Jumping, jogging, or any other high-impact activities need be cut out where possible, while walking, swimming, cycling, and yoga are excellent additions to your daily routine. In general, weight bearing exercise are preferred because they can slow bone loss.
In addition to getting active – that is, lubricating your joints and getting those muscles moving – you need to add a few stretches to your routine, too. Stretching your muscles will enable them to remain elastic and strong, thereby giving them the ability to support comparatively weak bone structures.
On that note, make sure you include strengthening exercises, too, as strengthening you muscles will give you a solid support system surrounding your bones. In the case of a fall or injury, having strong muscles will also aid in a far more rapid recovery.
In other words, the more you move… the less pain you’ll have, the more joyful you’ll be, and the less chance there will be of a debilitating injury down the line.
But, of course, bone density has a lot to do with nutrition too, right? If you’re eating a Big Mac every day followed by some sugary drinks later on, your body won’t really thank you for it, will it? Remember, suffering from osteoporosis really calls for a lifestyle change: everything you put into your body will translate into what you put out. So, if you’re fueling your body with nutrient rich foods – such as green vegetables, healthy fats, and good protein, you’ll find that your movement, energy levels, and overall wellbeing will increase exponentially. And here’s a little secret… milk isn’t really all that good for bone density. Gasp! It’s true. Though it contains calcium, you’re better of increasing your intake of cruciferous green vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale, and drinking enough water – lubricate your joints and give them the best possible chance of performing at their highest potential. You may also want to try supplements – make sure, however, that these compliment a well-balanced diet, as their intake can never correct a diet poor in nutrients and vitamins.
The bottom line? Stay away from things that leach nutrients – stop smoking, cool it on the alcohol, and give yourself a break from stressful environments. Try meditating, eat well, and visit health retreats for extra relaxation.
Osteoporosis can feel like a mine field – I understand that. It may feel as though you don’t know what to do, where to turn, or what to try first. Well, I’d like to help. One of the best things you can do, right now, is visit a physiotherapist. Whether you’re currently in pain or not, whether you’ve never been to see a physiotherapist or have been a few times in your life, or whether you know absolutely nothing or absolutely everything about bone density, I encourage you to visit a physiotherapist. Physiotherapy will give you the tools you need to navigate this new territory, make good lifestyle choices, and to stay active in a healthful way. In addition, physiotherapy will help you deal with any pain or obstacles you face. It really is in your best interest to find a helpful, qualified, hands-on physiotherapist to help you on your journey.
As you reach the end of this post, I hope you’ve found some of the answers you need – whether for yourself or a loved one. Osteoporosis may seem scary, but I promise it doesn’t have to be. Please do reach out for more information and advice – together, we can overcome this. To your health!