Bone Health Blog

by Patricia Harbot, owner/therapist at thehealingtouchway clinic

From the ‘look after your body and it will look after you’, series.

I see many patients in clinic for a free back health consultation. I look at posture, muscle tone, skin health and hydration, flexibility and symmetry, scar tissue performance, injury to muscles, as well as bone traumas, inflammation, and oedema. I also check that the skin and moles are healthy. Once I have carried out the tests, I then suggest specific treatments through a wide range soft tissue massage technique. I recommend exercises and stretches, that can easily be incorporated into daily life to strengthen and protect the spine and maintain flexibility.

Bone health is very much part of the consultation and I check for any misaligned vertebrae, hip positioning, sacral joint health, and signs of spine compression due to shrinkage (compressed osteoporotic) and forward curvature (Kyphosis) of the thoracic spine. Scoliosis of the spine (snaking) is often previously undiagnosed, and a root-cause of discomfort. I see the early signs of hypokyphosis, a swollen inflexible hump at the base of the neck, causing stiffness in the neck, a flattening of the thoracic spine and shoulder discomfort.

These issues may be the result of previous accident/injury, occupational/lifestyle poor posture, a genetic disposition, an inactive lifestyle, as well as diseases of the bones, such as osteoarthritis – that result from historic bone trauma. Women are particularly vulnerable to bone density loss, caused during pregnancies, as well as the menopause. Both stages involve hormone change, resulting in bones becoming less dense and more brittle and therefore prone to fractures. Rheumatic bone conditions are particularly uncomfortable in the damp, cold weather in the hips, fingers and wrists. 

Babies’ bones are pliable and referred to as Green Sticks, as they are still developing. Our bones are at their peak condition at around thirty years of age. In women after the menopause, oestrogen levels fall-off, and osteoporosis may develop – a decaying of the structure of the bones. Wedge-shaped compression occurs, through micro-fractures, as the spine slowly crumbles leading to a distinct curvature and shrinkage of the spine. This then puts more pressure on the rest of the spine and the patient reduces in height, often with a forward carriage of the head. In some patients the hypokyphosis becomes so pronounced that the head is fixed, and the face is angled towards the ground, making it dangerous to move about unassisted. 

The health of our bones is key for an active and fulfilling life. But, ‘What can we do to ensure that our bones are protected?’ and, ‘Can we boost the health of our own bones, no matter our age?’. The answer is YES, to both questions – we certainly can, and here are some simple was to stay healthy:

  1. From a young age carry out regular weight-bearing exercises, ranging from as simple as taking the stairs daily, to working out with weights and running. The more physical activities we do the stronger our bones will become and remain.
  2. Choose calcium and magnesium rich foods and avoid alcohol, carbonated drinks, fast foods and nicotine.
  3. Guard against being under weight. A poor diet or an eating disorder can impact on your bone health and our energy levels. Being overweight also puts a train on our joints and weight bearing leg bones.
  4. Certain medications may increase the risk of bone density loss. These include Steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs and some breast or prostate cancer medications. Ask your GP for help to combat the effects these drugs have on our bones. 
  5. If there is a family history of osteoporosis, ask your GP for a DEXA scan to measure bone density. The results may show that you have osteopenia. This is a lower bone density than normal precursor for osteoporosis. Early-stage detection is important in order to get the support you need through your Health Care provider.

Healthy Eating Habits are crucial for bone health:

It is important to eat a wide range of Rainbow coloured whole foods for optimum health, and boost bone health, too. Here are a few suggestions:

Walnuts, Avocado, cold pressed Linseed, Omega 3, Oily Fish, Shellfish, Blueberries, Pomegranate, Bananas, Tomatoes, Red Cabbage and Red Onion, Salmon, Carrots, Lentils, pulses, Seeds, Kale, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Spinach, Mint, Peppers, Apples, Bio-culture Yogurts, Kefir. Liver Pates, Turmeric, Ginger, Cinnamon, and Fruits.

I hope this is material is helpful and you keep happily healthy!


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Opening Hours

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RG26 5AN

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