Welcome to the next part of our series about biomechanics and the role chiropractors in Pretoria play in ensuring that your body’s biomechanics are always optimal. Last week we concluded that movement occurs at a joint which basically consist of two bones, articular cartilage, a joint capsule and surrounding soft tissue components such as muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves.
Today we will be talking about the biomechanics of bones to help us understand how certain conditions and nutrient deficiencies affect bone. It is important to understand what the function of bone is in our bodies as well as how factors such as loading stresses, muscle activity and aging has on our bones.
When we think of our skeletal system, we immediately think of the hardness of the bones. Bones protect our organs (i.e. heart and lungs by the ribcage), however it plays a big role in locomotion as well. Muscles attach to the bones to allow specific movements.
Bones are also living and growing tissues. It is made up of inorganic mineral salts and organic matrix of collagen and ground substance. The inorganic mineral content, mainly consisting of Calcium and Phosphate, is responsible for the hardness and rigidity of bone. The organic matrix gives the bone flexibility and resilience.
There are many conditions that can affect our skeletal system for example physical activity, fractures, osteoporosis and osteomalacia (especially in kids) just to name a few. We will just briefly discuss these few conditions.
Fractures are probably the most common and well known injury that is associated with bone. They can happen as a result of a fall, overtraining in athletes or due to osteoporosis. Depending on the type and location of the fracture, treatment varies. Common fractures include hip fractures in older persons, stress fractures in athletes, Colles’ and Smith’s fractures which happens when you fall on an outstretched hand. Greenstick fractures are common in kids.
Osteoporosis is another condition that affects the strength of the bone. Osteoporosis can be characterized by a decrease in bone density resulting in weak and fragile bones that are predisposed to fractures. Osteopenia is also associated with a decrease in bone density, however not to the same extent as osteoporosis. The risk factors that are associated with osteoporosis include genetics, lack of exercise, lack of Calcium and Vitamin D, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption.
Osteomalacia is a condition that is causes marked softening of your bones due to a severe vitamin D deficiency. Children and young adults that have the softened bones might be prone to develop bowing during growth, especially in the weight-bearing bones in the legs. Older adults with osteomalacia may develop fractures later on.
This was a brief summary of some of the conditions that can affect your bones and your skeletal system. It is important to look after your overall bone health.
With all of this in mind, here are 7 tips for healthy bones by Chiropractors in Pretoria:
- Eat Calcium-rich foods such as fish with bones (salmon or sardines) or dark leafy green veggies or broccoli.
- Take Calcium supplements. During your 20s, 30s and 40s you need approximately 1000 mg calcium per day. However, as you age, your needs change and you might need to up your dosage, especially women going through menopause. Always check with your doctor before starting supplements to determine the right amount for you.
- Add a little D to your day. Calcium and vitamin work together for optimum absorption. We can get vitamin D from the sun. 15-20 minutes a day is all it takes to ensure you get enough vitamin D for the calcium absorption.
- Start doing weight bearing exercises. The bigger the demand on your bones is, the stronger they will become. Running, jogging, high impact aerobics, repetitive stair climbing, dancing etc. are great exercises for building bones. If you have osteopenia, osteoporosis or arthritis exercises like walking or using the elliptical trainer can help.
- Don’t smoke and drink excessively. This is bad news for bad habits: research have shown that a loss of bone mineral density is associated with tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. If you are a smoker, look into programs to help you quit. If you drink, stick to no more than 1 drink per day.
- Have a bone density scan done. Doctors and chiropractors in Pretoria can refer you for something called a DEXA scan or bone density test. It is a special kind of xray to measure bone mineral density and to help determine risks of osteoporosis and fractures. It is recommended that women within 2 years of menopause are sent for a DEXA scan.
- Consider medication. Estrogen levels are linked to bone loss, therefore perimenopausal women may consider hormone therapy to help with decreasing estrogen levels. There are also some medications available to men and women who have been diagnosed with osteopenia and osteoporosis to help prevent hip and spine fractures.
Let’s work together and build stronger bones and happy healthy skeletal system.
For any questions, please feel free to contact us on 083 288 0679
Useful Links for Chiropractors in Pretoria
- African Advice
- Chiro in Centurion
- Chiropractor in Centurion
- How to Prevent Text Neck – Chiropractor in Pretoria
- Blog – Chiropractor in Centurion
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