Can People With Osteoporosis Go To The Chiropractor?
Chiropractic care can appear complex from the outside and those who have not yet been to a chiropractor may have a number of different questions surrounding it. They may wonder if they are a chiropractic candidate, if their condition can be fixed, is it expensive, is it safe and more. One reoccurring question that chiropractors get asked is this, “Can someone with osteoporosis go to the chiropractor?”
This is a great question and the topic of this week’s blog but before we answer, it is important to understand what osteoporosis is, some risk factors for it, and some ways it may be prevented.
Our bones are dynamic and if a healthy bone is viewed under a microscope it would look like a honeycomb. Bones are constantly absorbing and replacing tissue, but in osteoporosis, the bones are losing tissue faster than it is being replaced. It is a disease that causes an individual’s bones to become weak and fragile. A minor bump or fall can cause someone to develop a serious fracture in the bone and unfortunately, these injuries happen frequently.
Osteoporosis can develop in anyone; however, there are certain people and factors that can lead to someone having an increased risk for developing it. For example, osteoporosis is more common in women than men. When a women experiences menopause or an abnormal absence of their menstrual cycle, the risk of osteoporosis is increased. During this period, sex hormones are out of balance and this imbalance is what may lead to the disease development and even progression.
In addition, eating disorders or malnutrition can be another cause of osteoporosis due to the inadequate intake of nutrients, more specifically vitamin D, magnesium and calcium. These three nutrients are essential in creating and maintaining strong healthy bones. While being female and having a nutrient imbalance may be the two biggest factors that can lead to the development of osteoporosis, other potential risk factors include but are not limited to: certain medications, cigarette smoking, alcohol intake, and more. Recognizing your risks can help lead you to take certain actions in order to help reduce your risk for developing the condition.
Osteoporosis can be a preventable disease for some individuals. In fact there are some ways to help reduce the risk of the disease development and progression. These changes mainly surround diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes. If you want to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, consuming a diet that is sufficient in calcium, magnesium and vitamin D is essential. As we stated, these three nutrients are essential in building strong bones. For someone with osteoporosis, increasing the intake of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D can help to increase some density in the bone. However, it will not cure osteoporosis.
There are also certain foods that should be avoided or limited when you have osteoporosis. These include: salt, soft drinks and soda, caffeine, soy products, and more. It is also important to eliminate smoking and alcohol intake as they too are risk factors.
In addition to diet, exercise is also important. Specially we want people with osteoporosis to engage in weight bearing exercises. By completing these types of exercises, a person with osteoporosis will strengthen and build mass into the bones. This is why we encourage people with osteoporosis to focus on exercise regimes that surround additional weight to help prevent the development of the condition or manage progression.
Now that we have a deeper understanding of osteoporosis, we are left with the question of “is it safe for someone with osteoporosis to go to the chiropractor?” The answer, in short, is yes it is safe. That said it is only safe when the chiropractor does a complete evaluation, rules out any current fractures and uses a lighter force. While the goal of chiropractic is always the same, a healthy spine and nervous system, someone with osteoporosis will have a different care plan due to their delicate bone structure. Like all chiropractic patients, your care should be altered specially to you and your condition.
Chiropractic care is recommended for someone with osteoporosis because it is important to correct and maintain proper posture. Proper postural alignments allows gravity to exert its force over the correct load, rather than an imbalanced one. Poor posture can lead to an increased load on the soft tissue, bones and joints. In fact, researchers found in 2004 that older people who have increased curvature in their mid back (hyperkyphosis) have a high chance of dying. In addition, poor posture can result in balance issues which may increase the risk of falls which could be dangerous for someone with osteoporosis .
If you or someone you know is diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia (a precursor to osteoporosis), talk to your chiropractor or consider making an appointment. Receiving and remaining consistent with light chiropractic adjustments may help to manage symptoms that can occur with the condition as well as promote proper postural alignment.