Since osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are two major causes of back and body pain, it is helpful to be familiar with different management and prevention techniques.
Osteoporosis is a major health threat for mostly millions of postmenopausal women. It is a bone disease that causes bones to break down and become brittle to the point where they are at high risk for fracture. Those who are very thin or have a small frame are at high risk for osteoporosis.
Other high risk factors include having a family history of the disease; having had early menopause; having a low calcium intake (less than 1000 mg per day); having a low Vitamin D intake (not getting at least 400 I.U.’s per day); consuming too much meat or concentrated protein; not being physically active; being a smoker; and consuming too much alcohol, soda and/or coffee.
Early signs of osteoporosis may start with sharp lower back pain which could mean a stress fracture. Signs of diminished height or a humpback look (kyphosis) is a good indication that the bones of the spine are losing substance and becoming porous.
OSTEOPOROSIS MANAGEMENT AND PREVENTION
For strong and healthy bones you absolutely must…
-Consume at least 1000 mg per day of calcium (preferably in citrate form) but no more than 1200 mg
-Be sure to get at least 400 International Units I.U.’s of Vitamin D EACH DAY.
-Be sure to eat a well-balanced diet of breads, fruits/veggies, and fish for adequate magnesium intake.
Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products; dark green, leafy vegetables; and calcium-fortified foods and beverages. Also, supplements can help ensure that the calcium requirement is met each day. Calcium citrate is the best form of calcium to take in supplement form.
Vitamin D, necessary for calcium absorption in the bones, is synthesized in the skin through exposure to sunlight. While many people are able to obtain enough vitamin D naturally, older individuals are often deficient in this vitamin. This is partly because they spend limited time outdoors. Such individuals may require vitamin D supplements in order to ensure an adequate daily intake.
Because meat or concentrated protein has a tendency to pull calcium out of bones, it is a good idea to eat less meat and get more protein from vegetable sources. If you are concerned about iron deficiency, you can get a good source of iron from whole grains, cooked beans, apricots and prunes. Never take an iron supplement.
Like muscle, bone is living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. The best exercise for your bones and osteoporosis prevention is weight-bearing exercise that forces you to work against gravity. Some examples include walking, climbing stairs, lifting weights, and dancing.
Also, for postmenopausal women or women showing signs of menopause or women who are hormone deficient in estrogen, it might be a good idea to increase your estrogen level to make sure it is well-balanced in your body since low levels could lead to loss of bone density.
Osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of back pain for people. Osteoarthritis, especially seen in older people, is the breaking down of cartilage, disks, joints and synovial fluid that allows our body freedom of motion.
Osteoarthritis mostly affects cartilage, the hard but slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they meet to form a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over one another. It also absorbs energy from the shock of physical movement. In osteoarthritis, the surface layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away. This allows bones under the cartilage to rub together, causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint. Over time, the joint may lose its normal shape.
Also, small deposits of bone called osteophytes or bone spurs may grow on the edges of the joint. Bits of bone or cartilage can break off and float inside the joint space. This causes more pain and damage.
OSTEOARTHRITIS MANAGEMENT AND PREVENTION
To help manage and prevent osteoarthritis you must…
-Eat plenty of a variety of fruits and vegetables preferably organic.
-Eat lots of berries because they have anti-oxidants which help relieve pain and inflammation.
-Eat a lot of fish with Omega-3 Essential Fatty acids.
-Avoid a lot of saturated fats especially trans fat.
-Eat more whole grains, nuts and seeds.
-Try to stay away from any refined flours, pastas or rices.
-Drink plenty of water to help lubricate joints and disks.
-Take a glucosamine, chondroitin or MSM supplement for joint/cartilage support and pain reduction.
Be sure to do some form of light aerobic exercise that won’t be so hard on your body such as swimming, cycling, using an elliptical machine and/or a stairmaster.
Even going for a walk is very important and DOES count as exercise. So just get up and move. Studies show that osteoarthritis sufferers can reduce their level of pain and discomfort with just 3 months of regular aerobic exercise.
As you age especially, you need to be more aware of building and maintaining strong and healthy bones and muscles. Stronger and healthier bones, muscles and joints will give your spine a better foundation of support and reduce your chances of back pain.
If you want a life without back pain and a body that will last a long time try these different managment and prevention techniques. Your entire body will thank you for it.