Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and loss of bone tissue that may lead to weak and fragile bones. If you have osteoporosis, you have an increased risk for fractured bones particularly in the hip, spine, and wrist.
The leading cause of osteoporosis is a lack of certain hormones, particularly estrogen in women and androgen in men. Women, especially those older than 60 years of age, are frequently diagnosed with the disease.
Early in the course of the disease, osteoporosis may cause no symptoms. Later, it may cause dull pain in the bones or muscles, particularly low back pain or generalized neck pain. Later in the course of the disease, sharp pains may come on suddenly. The pain may not radiate (spread to other areas); it may be made worse by activity that puts weight on the area, People with osteoporosis may be unaware of a fall and may not recall trauma. may not even recall a fall or other trauma that might cause a broken bone. Fractures at other sites, commonly the hip, spine or bones of the wrist, usually result from a fall.
When to Seek Medical Care?
If you are past menopause and have constant pain in areas such as the neck or lower back, consult your doctor for further evaluation, which include a medical assessment and bone density screening.
Get hospitalized you feel severe pain in your muscles or bones that limits your ability to function.
Treatment for osteoporosis focuses on slowing down or stopping the mineral loss, increasing bone density, preventing bone fractures, and controlling the pain associated with the disease.
- Diet: Young adults should be encouraged to achieve normal peak bone mass by getting enough calcium (1,000 mg daily) in their diet (drinking milk or calcium-fortified orange juice and eating foods high in calcium such as salmon), performing weight-bearing exercise such as walking or aerobics (swimming is aerobic but not weight-bearing), and maintaining normal body weight.
- Physiotherapy must be instituted to learn ways to exercise safely. For example, someone with spinal fractures would avoid touching their toes, doing sit-ups, or lifting heavy weights.
- Exercise: Lifestyle modification should also be incorporated into your treatment. Regular exercise can reduce the likelihood of bone fractures associated with osteoporosis.
- Estrogen: For newly menopausal women, estrogen replacement is one way to prevent bone loss.
- SERMs:: estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) such as (Evista) offer an alternative.
- Calcium: Calcium and vitamin D are needed to increase bone mass in addition to estrogen replacement therapy.
- Bisphosphonates: . These drugs slow down bone loss, and in some cases, they actually increase bone mineral density.
The take home message is:
Building strong bones during childhood and adolescence can be the best defense against developing osteoporosis later. There are four steps to prevent osteoporosis. No one step alone is enough to prevent osteoporosis.
- Eat a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
- Engage in weight-bearing exercise.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle with no smoking or excessive alcohol intake.
- Take medication to improve bone density when appropriate.
Homeopathy in Osteoporosis.
Ideally patients with osteoporosis should visit an experienced homeopath and the proper constitutional remedy should be chosen. However, I will randomly list some remedies for this crippling condition.
Calcarea carbonica: This remedy is often helpful to individuals who are easily tired by exertion and tend to feel anxious and overwhelmed from work or stress. The person may be chilly, flabby or overweight, People who need this remedy often have strong cravings for both eggs and sweets.
Calcarea phosphorica: Stiffness, soreness, and weakness of the bones and joints often are experienced by those who need this remedy. Deep tiredness frequently is felt, especially after exercise. Calcium deposits and bone-spurs may develop, even while general bone-loss is taking place, and fractures may be slow to heal.
Phosphorus: This remedy is often helpful to people who are sensitive, suggestible, imaginative, but easily tired or weakened physically. Bones may be less strong than normal, or be slow to heal after fractures. People who need this remedy are often tall and thin with an easily-flushing face. A desire for refreshing foods (especially ice cream) and strong thirst for cold or carbonated drinks are other indications for Phosphorus.
Silicea): People who need this remedy are often nervous, easily tired, very chilly, and tend to sweat at night. They have a refined or delicate appearance, and often have weakness in the spine.
Symphytum: When osteoporosis is a problem, fractures often occur from mild trauma. This remedy can be useful for strengthening and healing bones when new fractures occur..
Ayurvedic approach for Osteoporosis:
Sirodhara (with oil) and Sirovasthi:
This is a treatment in which a continuous stream of plain or medicated sesam oil is poured on the forehead from half an hour to one hour duration keeping the patient in lying position. Head is the centre of consciousness (Prajna) and is believed to be the root cause of all diseases .
. Sirodhara applies a gentle fall and flow of oil right there. It is calming down mind. Stress, anxiety, depression, aggression, greed, etc support the heating up side of metabolism and create space for diseases. Another kind of intense oil application on head is Sirovasthi, where warm oil is kept on head making a cap around. In a milder way, keeping oil on the apex of head dipped in cotton is also done (Pichu).
Abhyanga and Pizhichil:
Oil massage for the whole body with gentle strokes is called abhyanga. Pizhichil is an intense kind of oil application where oil is streamed all over the body followed by very gentle massage.
Streaming oil locally where there is pain signifying intensified Vaatha action is called Thailadhaara. Intense pain from fracture or advanced stages of osteoarthritis, especially during night and in winter is dramatically getting relieved when warm medicated oil is gently streamed.
Enema with medicated oil is named Thailavasthi.
Ayurvedic physicians also stress on a Holistic diet for the treatment of Osteoporosis. Ayurveda understands Osteoporosis in a holistic dimension and offers treatments accordingly.
Herbal Medicine can be used in the treatment of osteoporosis. Some herbs and minerals that can be used in the prevention and/or treatment of osteoporosis include:
- Black Cohosh – contains plant-based estrogens and has been shown to relieve menopausal symptoms
- Red Clover – the isoflavones extracted from this herb may slow bone loss in women
- Kelp – rich in minerals so it may be a complementary treatment for osteoporosis
- Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids – increases calcium absorption in the gut, reduces the amount of calcium excreted through urine, increases calcium deposits in the bone and improves bone strength
Acupuncture uses special needles that are inserted into the body at specific points or meridians. The needles stimulate nerve endings and cause the brain to release endorphins, which are pain relieving substances produced by the body. Not only can acupuncture relieve pain, it can also relieve other symptoms associated with osteoporosis.
Traditional Chinese Medicine:
Along with acupuncture, the practitioner also uses a combination of herbs that boost estrogen levels and provide needed minerals.
Massage therapy can be slow and gentle or deep and vigorous. It is used to relieve pain, relax stiff muscles and increase blood supply to the affected areas. Massage can be used in people with osteoporosis but this should be light.
Chiropractics and Osteopathy:
Chiropractics can be used in the treatment of osteoporosis; however, it is very important that people already suffering from the disease do not undertake any spinal manipulation due to increased fracture risk.
Osteoporosis is a crippling disease. It affects women more than men and a multidisciplinary approach is the best way to approach the problem and if therapies are instated early then the results are heartening.