Chiropractors have long been known as “bone doctors” that help with neck and back pain. Many don’t know that chiropractic can also help with bone issues that don’t involve pain… like osteoporosis. Osteoporosis has been called a “silent killer” because there are no symptoms to alert someone to the condition, and because osteoporotic fractures often lead to reduced mobility and early death.
From the chiropractic perspective, osteoporosis isn’t a disease; it is an intelligent adaptation to altered biomechanics or nutrition. Our bones are living matter that are constantly remodeling throughout our entire lives. In addition our bones store calcium which it uses as structural support, and release calcium back into the blood for necessary bodily functions like the relaxation of muscle fibers. We have an innate intelligence that designed our bones to take what calcium it needs to support ourselves structurally and hormones to keep our blood calcium in necessary concentrations. The core factors determining bone density is the availability of building blocks and the body’s blueprint for calcium deposition into the bone.
The building block for bone density is calcium, which we should be getting from our diet. In nature, calcium is present with other co-factors that are necessary for digestion, absorption, and deposition of calcium, such as Vitamin D, Magnesium, Manganese, Selenium, etc. Not all vitamins are created equal. Calcium carbonate, the most common (least expensive) form of calcium in vitamins, is the least digestible form. Calcium citrate is a better option. Digestion and absorption are also dependent on overall nutrition, pH of the body, digestive system health, and age.
The way calcium is deposited into the bone is dependent on what’s called “Wolff’s Law.” Calcium is deposited in the bone where the weight is greatest. Therefore, if bones are aligned properly, the calcium becomes deposited evenly around the bone. The more weight-bearing exercise done, the more calcium is deposited in the bones. If, however, the bones are misaligned, then the calcium supports the areas under excess stress, even forming bone spurs on one side and leaching calcium from the other side. Over time, this adaptation to abnormal stress results in both osteoarthritis (bone spurs) and osteoporosis on the rest of the bone.
Chiropractic, therefore, operates on 4 levels to reverse the process of osteoporosis.
- Chiropractors look at your nutrition and make suggestions, which may include consultation with a holistic nutritionist or naturopath.
- Chiropractic adjustments over time align the bones better to stop further deposition of calcium into spurs and osteoporosis.
- Chiropractic adjustments to the entire spine help the entire nervous system and musculoskeletal system such that the circulation, digestion, hormones, and immunity can be improved and functioning at its best.
- Chiropractors also advise on lifestyle changes, including posture, stretches and exercises to support the body in healing, proper alignment and optimum functioning.
The key is that osteoporosis is NOT an isolated disease process. Chiropractic looks at the body as a whole and so care for a person who has osteoporosis is care for the whole person, body, mind and spirit.