I read an article in the New York Times yesterday about the prevalence of osteoporosis, how to screen for it, and how to treat it. What surprised me about the piece though, was that after going through all the drugs and surgical fixes, not until the last line did the writer finally mention the most important prevention/rehab tool for osteoporosis: exercise.
“Exercises to improve posture, strengthen back muscles and enhance mobility are less costly and likely to be more effective in the long run, the doctors wrote.”
One of the major failings of Western medicine is that we are always looking for the quick fix– take these pills. It’s much easier than having to walk or lift weights, right? Sad.
We all have the ability to grow our bones. Just like our muscles grow when we lift weights or jog, so do our bones. Get off the couch and start exercising, and you immediately cut your risk for osteoporosis.
Diet is also very important. If you are deficient in vitamin D or calcium, your bones could be weak. Make sure to get an annual physical and ask your doctor to check your vitamin levels.
I have a Pilates client who is extremely fit and young, but it turned out she was very low in both vitamin D and calcium. When she had a DEXA scan to check her bone density, she discovered that she did have osteoporosis. She was also taking Nexium each day for acid reflux, and unfortunately that and other proton pump inhibitors can also cause osteoporosis.
Once again our poor diets and slothiness are the root cause of health problems in the U.S. Think about how much money is being wasted on scans, drugs, and surgeries, not to mention emergency room visits for breaking a bone that should have been stronger, when in most cases, all we have to do it eat a more nutritious diet and get moving to keep our bones healthy.