This past week, I had a new patient come in to address a recent diagnosis of osteopenia (loss of bone density), and in some areas of the body, particularly her hips, osteoporosis (increased loss of bone density leading to decreased bone strength).
The patient's first question for me was, "Can this be reversed naturally?" My answer was, "Absolutely yes, if we give the body what it needs to do so. If we are not able to fully reverse it, we can still increase the bone density, stop further loss of bone, and reduce the risk of any bone fractures occurring in the future. And we can do it all without prescription drugs."
The patient scheduled an appointment after reading the side effects of the prescription drugs that were prescribed to her as her doctors response to the diagnosis, which included Prolia injections and Fosamax. Some of the side effects of these drugs include osteonecrosis (decay of bone) in the jaw, increased risk of fracture, esophageal cancer, and heart arrhythmias.
These drugs usually work by preventing the breakdown of bone. While this leaves the patient with an increased bone mass, it is now old, poor quality bone. Bone MUST break down to be rebuilt! Both parts of this process are necessary for healthy bones. This is why many osteoporosis drugs actually list increased risk of fractures as a side effect- because the bone is poorer quality. While the bone may end up looking good on a DEXA scan, the bone has actually been made unhealthier.
So how do we address osteopenia and osteoporosis naturally? First is diet. We must eliminate the foods that cause demineralization of our own bones. These include all grains, dairy (Yes, dairy! Because it is so acidic, it contributes to breakdown of bone in the body. The best place to get calcium is green veggies like kale, broccoli, or by drinking bone broth), and sugars. We must work on decreasing inflammation in the body.
Chiropractic adjustments are actually very important for maintaining bone density! In addition to keeping joints mobile and in full range of motion, chiropractic adjustments actually stimulate osteoclasts, or the cells that BUILD new bone. Yes, chiropractic adjustments directly help your bones become stronger! Also, chiropractic ensures that there are no restricted joints and that weight distribution throughout the spinal column is even.
Lastly, a recommendation for nutritional supplements may be made. In the case of this patient, we put her on Calcifood wafers by Standard Process, an incredible bone building supplement that contains all of the necessary bone minerals in their natural, organic whole food form, as well as bovine and veal bone and bone marrow to give the body raw material to remodel bone. Other supplements may be necessary as well, including vitamin D, vitamin K, fish oil, and more, to give the body all it needs to begin reversing the osteoporotic process.
Before resorting to drugs, help your body rebuild bone and become healthier overall with conservative, holistic care like chiropractic kinesiology!