Osteoporosis is a metabolic disease characterized by bone loss and the degradation of bone structure. It affects more than 200 million people globally and there are 10 million sufferers in America. There are an additional 18 million people in the U.S. who have low bone mass. Those 28 million constitute 10% of the population, making osteoporosis something of an epidemic.
While there is a long list of other diseases that may cause bone loss, including certain cancers, hyperthyroidism, and malabsorption syndrome, it is the metabolic factors that define osteoporosis. These include the levels of calcium and vitamin D, and the activity of osteoblasts, which are the bone cells that produce bone matrix. Bone matrix is made up of organic components such as collagen, and inorganic materials such as phosphate and calcium. When we talk about bone loss, it is the bone matrix which is being described.
It is the weight bearing bones that are chiefly affected by osteoporosis – the pelvis, femur (thigh bone), and lumbar vertebras. Naturally, bone loss in these structures can lead to serious fractures with potentially devastating results.
Osteoporosis can be brought on by many conditions, circumstances, and deficiencies. The menopause is strongly linked to the condition, as are being over 50 years old, smoking, inadequate calcium, vitamin D, and dietary protein, and a lack of exercise.
Consistent weight bearing exercise is very important to strengthen the vulnerable bones and prevent loss of bone mass. Walking, running, cycling, and strength-training exercises all stimulate both your muscles and bones to build up stronger. This physiologic bone-building response is known as Wolff’s law, which says that bone remodels when physiologically stressed. In other words, mechanical challenges cause your bone to build more bone, producing stronger, denser bones that are much less likely to fracture.
Chiropractic Care for Osteoporosis
The spinal adjustments that a chiropractor makes directly impact the proper functioning of the nerve system. A misaligned spine will cause tight and inflamed spinal ligaments and muscles, and restricted mobility anywhere along the spine. This results in a poor flow of information between the nerve system and the rest of your body, which means that there is an increased likelihood of disease taking hold.
Regular chiropractic care, along with vigorous exercise and proper nutrition, will create the correct environment for your body to become as strong and resistant to osteoporosis as possible.
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