Chiropractic as a Treatment for Osteoporosis

Dr. Dimitrios Lambrou May 15, 2020

Don't rule out chiropractic care just yet if you're battling osteoporosis. Patients with this common condition are often hesitant to try spinal manipulation, but it may provide some well-deserved relief. Every individual has different needs, but generally, chiropractic care is a safe, beneficial treatment option for osteoporosis. If you have weak, brittle bones from osteoporosis, our team can help you decide if spinal adjustments and similar treatments are right for you.

What Is Osteoporosis?

You may have heard people say osteoporosis occurs when you have holes in your bones. That's not entirely wrong, but let's break down what really happens with this common condition. A normal bone looks like a honeycomb when viewed under a microscope, so it's not abnormal to have some gaps in your skeletal system. When a patient develops osteoporosis, these holes become larger than the ones in healthy bones.

Holes expand because bone density decreases. This often occurs in women after menopause because your body produces less estrogen, but men can also develop osteoporosis. Other risk factors include calcium deficiencies, thyroid problems, and steroid use. You also have an increased chance of developing osteoporosis if you have cancer, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or inflammatory bowel disease.

When your bones are less dense, they lose strength. You may find that everyday activities, such as walking or cooking, become difficult. You may also become noticeably shorter as your bones lose density.

Osteoporosis typically isn't a deadly condition, but it can cause some serious concerns. When you have osteoporosis, you're more likely to fracture a bone than someone who doesn't. A minor fall may result in serious damage, such as a fractured hip or broken leg. Some patients don't recover fully from these injuries, so it's essential to treat osteoporosis based on your medical team's recommendations.

How Do Chiropractors Determine Whether Osteoporosis Treatment Is Okay?

Chiropractic care isn't appropriate for every patient with osteoporosis, but it can help many people manage pain and discomfort. When a patient with osteoporosis requests chiropractic care, the medical team at Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine performs a thorough evaluation first. This may include imaging tests, such as X-rays and CT scans, as well as a full physical exam. We also coordinate care with other providers, such as your primary care physician or surgeon.

If you or your medical team have doubts about the effectiveness or safety of chiropractic care, the team at Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine will suggest alternative solutions. These suggestions may include physical therapy, musculoskeletal medicine, or laser therapy. Many of our patients find that combining several treatments provides maximum relief from the discomfort of osteoporosis.

How Does Chiropractic Care Benefit Patients With Osteoporosis?

Chiropractic care addresses the symptoms that stem from osteoporosis, but it also promotes healing. Many osteoporosis patients have a limited range of motion, either from the condition itself, lifestyle choices, or the normal aging process. Spinal manipulation and other chiropractic treatments help restore joint mobility, so you can move with confidence and ease. This reduces your risk of falls from tight muscles or limited mobility.

Research indicates that chiropractic care enhances your body's natural healing process by stimulating osteoblast production. Osteoblasts are the cells that boost bone replacement in your body. They work with the similarly named osteoclasts to maintain adequate bone production. Unfortunately, osteoclasts break down bone rather than creating it. This isn't a problem when you have enough osteoblasts in your body, so adjustment-induced cell stimulation is helpful for many patients.

With that being said, it's important to remember chiropractic care doesn't just involve neck and back adjustments. Chiropractors take a holistic approach to wellness, so they treat your entire body. Our chiropractic team strives to help you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. You might achieve that with spinal adjustments, but many patients also receive acupuncture, cryotherapy, heat therapy, laser therapy, and other beneficial services from the medical professionals at Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine. We'll work with you to develop a treatment plan that meets your needs for optimal wellness.

What Are Some Other Ways You Can Improve Bone Health?

Many patients experience relief from osteoporosis symptoms after seeing a chiropractor, but you may also want to explore additional remedies. It's wise to consult with a medical professional before treating your osteoporosis at home, but here are some possible solutions:

  • Strength training or weightlifting
  • Vitamin D or calcium supplements
  • Weight loss
  • Dietary changes
  • Limit or avoid smoking and alcohol consumption

Strength training and weightlifting programs aren't appropriate for every patient, so give us a call before you start a new fitness routine. Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine has numerous experts in sports medicine, so we can help you determine what works well for your body.

It's generally safe for patients to supplement with vitamin D or calcium, but make sure these nutrients don't interfere with other medications. It's also helpful to get blood work done before you start a supplement regimen, as you may not have a deficiency in the nutrients you're considering. Some patients also boost their bone health with protein shakes or collagen capsules, as these may also help make bones stronger.

Weight loss helps some osteoporosis patients live more comfortably, but you may not need to shed any excess pounds. In fact, losing too much weight is also a risk factor for osteoporosis symptoms, so be careful.

When you focus on dietary changes, make sure your meals contain plenty of nutrient-rich leafy greens. These veggies are often loaded with calcium, magnesium, and potassium, all of which work together to protect your bones. Watch out for foods high in sugar, as excess sugar consumption can weaken your bones.

You should also monitor your sodium intake, but don't abandon salt completely. Your body needs some sodium to protect your bones, and low-sodium diets can trigger or worsen the symptoms of osteoporosis. Caffeine is another ingredient you should monitor, as consuming too much of it can damage your bones.

Cigarettes and alcohol are often risky choices in general, but they are especially bad for patients with osteoporosis. These vices leech nutrients from your body, so it has to work harder to produce what you need. This is a problem for patients with osteoporosis, as you may already have nutritional deficiencies responsible for your symptoms. If you're struggling to give up your nicotine or alcohol habit, let us know. At Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine, we have solutions that can help you make healthy lifestyle choices. You can live a relatively pain-free life, even with your osteoporosis diagnosis.

Is Chiropractic Care Right for You?

Many patients benefit from chiropractic care for osteoporosis, but you may have questions before you seek treatment. Our compassionate team is here for you from Monday through Friday, and we have multiple locations throughout Ocean County and Monmouth County. Give us a call or fill out our online form so we can address your concerns. We're happy to help!

It may give you peace of mind to know our chiropractors have extensive experience working with patients who have osteoporosis. We have effective solutions for nearly every osteoporosis patient, whether you have your heart set on chiropractic care or want to explore laser therapy. Contact us today so we can help you get some much-needed relief for your painful osteoporosis symptoms.