How Exercise Helps to Manage Osteoporosis

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Aging, obesity, and chronic health conditions, among other things, can lead to limited mobility and strength. And these issues can in turn contribute to spine, muscle, and joint problems.

Starting at age 30, our bones decline in density. And if bone mass gets dangerously low, it’s called osteoporosis. Physical exercise, particularly if it’s weight-bearing, can help you better manage osteoporosis, including its side effects.

According to the Report on Ageing and Health 2015, a spine, muscle, and joint report prepared for the World Health Organization (WHO), osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and sarcopenia (muscle loss) affect millions. And in Canada, osteoporosis affects two million Canadians, but many people only get diagnosed after they break a bone.

For many, spine, muscle, and joint problems start with mild symptoms, such as joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. As a result, the discomfort may prompt you to limit activity, leading to weaker muscles. You end up losing more range of motion and things start to increasingly hurt.

Using muscles and joints incorrectly makes it worse. And unfortunately, people may stop exercising and begin limiting their everyday activities. An inactive lifestyle can contribute to many chronic conditions, including osteoporosis, among others. Inactivity can also lead to balance issues, which puts you at risk of falling. Plus, people who have multiple conditions must often juggle a wide range of medications and all their potential side effects.

These conditions can lead to very serious outcomes, such as falls that shorten your lifespan. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

What Exercises Help Manage Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis?

Being physically active can turn things around for those with conditions such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. That’s the power of exercise.

Exercise impacts health, but it must be the right exercise. Controlled movements that build strength and range of motion are ideal. A combination of activities, such as swimming, cardio gym machines, and low-impact aerobics, can be effective. However, weight-bearing exercise works best to help you manage osteoporosis.

For those whose range of motion is limited, yoga and Pilates can be helpful, along with further support from chiropractic care, massage therapy, and physiotherapy.

The right activity for the right person can make a big difference. Dr. John Antoniou, an orthopaedic surgeon and former president of the Canadian Orthopaedic Association, says: “You won’t reverse the damage that’s occurred, but it’ll maintain the function that’s still there.”

Exercise can help you manage osteoporosis to slow the rate of bone loss that comes with this age-related bone disease. It can also reverse some age-related muscle mass loss. With less pain, stronger muscles, and better balance, you’ll find you can do much more.

Where does chiropractic care fit in?

A chiropractor can prescribe a therapeutic exercise program to help increase your strength and range of motion in affected areas. This program can include stretching, strengthening, postural awareness, balance training, and neuromuscular exercise. However, exercise as a therapy to help manage osteoporosis can be challenging because your instinct is to stop moving once you have mild pain. An integrated approach between a medical doctor who is supporting patients with chronic health conditions and a chiropractor assisting in managing the muscle, spine, and joint components will help you become more active.

While the mentality is often to stop doing an activity because it hurts, when it comes to arthritis, you need to push through discomfort but stop when you feel true pain. Guidance from health care professionals on “hurt versus harm” can make sure exercise is healing, not hurting.

If you don’t enjoy traditional exercise, such as going to the gym, try focusing on doing everyday life activities such as walking, gardening, and playing golf.

Currently, only one in five Canadian seniors gets the recommended 150 minutes of activity per week. With help from a health care professional, like a chiropractor and your integrated care team, you can break this pattern to better manage age-related conditions like osteoporosis.

To learn more about how chiropractic care and massage therapy can help you manage your osteoporosis, contact the Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage Therapy Clinic at 905-427-3202 and book a consultation with a member of our wellness team.


With content from the Ontario Chiropractic Association

Chiropractic Care for Seniors: A Safe and Effective Way to Stay Active and Avoid Injury

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It’s no secret that as we age, we become more susceptible to developing injuries, aches and pain. If you’re interested in maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle as you grow older, a preventative approach to your health care is key. In fact, remaining active is crucial for healthy aging and independence.

Ajax chiropractors Dr. John Noble and Dr. Mark Fera work with their senior patients to reduce their risk of falls, injury and disability. As part of a regular chiropractic check-up, they test strength, mobility, function and balance, as well as offer advice on exercise, nutrition and preventative strategies.

This is important as we age since we are more likely to suffer from:

  • Osteoarthritis – deteriorating cartilage in the joints
  • Spinal stenosis – narrowing of the canal in the vertebrae impinging on the nerve roots causing pain and numbness
  • Degenerative meniscal tear
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Osteoporosis – a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue

According to a 2014 report by the Public Health Agency of Canada, hundreds of thousands of Canadians suffer from fall-related injuries each year. We know that the risk of morbidity and even mortality can increasesignificantly after a fall, so preventing them is critical. Preserving or improving your fitness level and mobility can help prevent and manage chronic conditions. Even a moderate level of physical activity can improve balance, endurance and bone strength.

As part of your healthcare team, Pickering chiropractors Dr. Mark Fera and Dr. John Noble can help address and treat musculoskeletal injuries early to help you maintain mobility and function.

This care may help:

  • Manage pain
  • Increase range of motion
  • Improve function
  • Help decrease progression of joint degeneration
  • Correct posture
  • Increase balance
  • Reduce the risk of falls

Are you a senior who is hesitant to try chiropractic?
“Although you may not have grown up believing that chiropractic care is an integral part of maintaining your good health, it’s never too late to start,” says Dr. Noble. “The Dental Association has done an excellent job of stressing the importance of regular dental care as a form of prevention. As chiropractors, we need to take the same approach.”

Approximately half of the patients Dr. Noble treats at Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage are seniors, and the majority of those seniors have been patients for many years. While their primary reason for seeking treatment may have been pain management, the care they received at the clinic helped them to recognize the importance regular chiropractic care plays in the prevention of injuries and the maintenance of good health.

“Walk into any established chiropractor’s office and you’ll see that our aging demographic represents a good portion of its practice. My patients who haven’t experienced chiropractic care until later in life are more apt to think of their care as a short-term solution instead of a method of prevention. They’re looking to maintain a certain lifestyle or achieve the lifestyle they see other seniors their age experiencing.” he adds. “But as they become more educated and see the benefits of what regular chiropractic care can offer, they’re slowly embracing it as an alternative to over-the-counter medications they’ve been raised to believe are safe.”

Healthy aging relies on your ability to keep moving and enjoying daily activities with little pain or limitations. Keep moving with the help of Ajax chiropractors Dr. John Noble and Dr. Mark Fera at Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage. Therapeutic massage therapy is also available at our clinic by Ajax massage therapists Rolf Castanheiro and Jessica Raedisch.

Call 905-427-3202 to learn more or book an appointment.