Natural ways to treat osteoporosis

November 4, 2015

Osteoporosis can cause frail, brittle bones that are prone to fracture. Follow these helpful tips to protect and strengthen your bones and spine.

Natural ways to treat osteoporosis

Lifestyle changes

As they can with other medical conditions, lifestyle changes can make a big difference when you have osteoporosis. Keep the following bone-building and safety tips in mind.

  • Have milk, or other low-fat dairy products: Drink them on a regular basis. These foods are richest in the calcium you need for strong bones.
  • Do some strength building: For your bones to make the best use of calcium, you need to do weight-bearing exercise (which may also increase bone density). Try brisk walking, jogging, dancing, lifting weights or stair climbing. Be sure to ask your doctor for guidelines on what, and how much, exercise is safe for you.
  • Limit beverages that leach calcium from your bones: Restrict alcoholic drinks to one a day if you're a woman or two if you're a man. Hold the line at 500 millilitres (two cups) of caffeinated coffee a day.
  • If you smoke, quit: Tobacco interferes with normal bone meta­­bolism, contributing to osteoporosis.
  • Secure rugs firmly to the floor: Tack area rugs down, or use a slip-proof backing, to lessen chances of falls.
  • Install handrails: Install them wherever you feel you might need assistance in changing position; for example, in the bathtub or shower stall.
  • Check the lighting: Be sure your rooms are well lit during waking hours and that you can find light switches easily in the dark.
  • Don't run for a train or bus: Rushing increases your risk of tripping and falling, so always allow enough time to get there safely.

Do daily activities right

Use these tips to prevent osteoporosis-related injuries as you go about your daily life.

  • Always sit up straight: Pick a chair that supports the curve of your lower back (or use a rolled-up towel or lumbar roll). Sit with your spine lengthened, and shoulders wide.
  • Prepare for a sneeze (or cough): A sudden sneeze can jerk your weakened torso forward, injuring your spine. If you feel one coming on, bend your knees with your back straight, and put one hand on your thigh for support. Or brace your lower back with your hand to stay upright.
  • Do chores correctly: Take care as you vacuum, mop floors or rake the yard. Bend from your knees and hips, and not your waist. Don't twist. Push rather than pull.
  • Bend from your hips: When you lean down to load the dishwasher or make the bed, don't sag from your waist. Instead, bend at your knees and hips, keeping your lower back straight.
  • Open with care: Trying to lift a "stuck" or especially heavy window is a common cause of compression fractures. That’s because it puts a great deal of pressure on your spine. Instead of opening the window by yourself, ask someone to help you.

Natural methods

  • If you have pain from fractures, don't assume that you have to just put up with it. You may be able to get real pain relief—without side effects—from acupuncture, chiropractic or massage therapy.
  • Ask your doctor if any of these treatments might be a good option for you.
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