Bones give us structure.
Joints are where two bones come together.
Some joints don’t move much at all (like cranial bones), others move quite a lot (like knees and shoulders).
Unless we break or fracture a bone when we are young, we don’t think much about our bones and joints until we are older. But as we age, we think about our joint and bone health much more.
Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder. It’s been called the “wear and tear” disease.
There are a few factors that influence whether we will suffer from this:
a childhood injury (as mentioned above)
repetitive trauma (like from sports)
misalignments of the bones in a joint
If this misalignment occurs, then boney growths (called bone spurs) can occur which can then cause limited movement in a joint, swelling and inflammation develop, which then results in pain. This is called Osteoarthritis.
It can be seen on an x-ray and this is usually how it is diagnosed. There is no blood test factor that determines this kind of arthritis.
How does this misalignment take place?
I’m glad that you asked…it is easy to make an association when someone falls and pain or discomfort starts immediately. Often, however; this is not the case. We experience a series of repetitive micro injuries, where the bone or bones move only fractionally out of place, so small in fact, that we don’t even perceive that an “injury” has taken place.
This continues to happen until…”Ouch! My ___ (knee/finger/wrist/whatever) hurts.”
Since keeping our bones in proper alignment is a factor, having regular chiropractic adjustments throughout our lives is the best way to make this happen.
Most people think that if something doesn’t hurt, then nothing is wrong.
It’s amazing to me how much our bodies can take before they start letting us know that we have a problem. In a way, this is good for us. We can still keep going and doing what is needed from our body. And the better shape we are in, the more likely we are to push ourselves and “get away with it”.
The downside, of course, is that we tend to think that all pain will go away and we put up with it longer than we should. I marvel at the number of times a patient will come into my office telling me that their pain only started a few months ago, but they thought that it would “go away” on its own and yet, on x-ray, I see evidence of arthritis and other degenerative changes that are 15-20 years old.
When it comes to bone and joint health, most people think Vitamin D and Calcium.
We can get Vitamin D from the sun, and yes, it is D3, the kind our bodies need. Certainly getting too much sun is not good, but avoiding it altogether isn’t smart either. Taking a 10 minute walk first thing in the morning not only helps set our pineal gland for a good night’s sleep, it also is beneficial for our bones (Vitamin D3) and joints (exercise).
As far as foods: dairy foods certainly contain calcium, however, dairy can also cause inflammation in some folks, so think milk alternatives, like almond milk. Also think leafy green vegetables and bone broths. These foods are impacting not only for our bone and joint health, but for our overall health as well. If we are lacking in either, or both of these important elements, we could also suffer from osteopenia and then eventually osteoporosis, as we get older.
Osteopenia is when our scores on a DEXA Scan are at -1. Osteoporosis is when our scores on the DEXA Scan are -2 or greater.
DEXA = Dual Energy X-ray Absorptometry.
This scan measures bone density and then compares our density to 20 year olds (the T-scores) and then to people in our own age bracket (the Z-scores).
Bone density isn’t the same as bone strength, but they haven’t figured out a way to measure that yet.
The other question that I have is how helpful is it, really, to know how a 50 or 60 year old person compares to 20 year old? We grew up differently, with different diets and different exercise routines.
When I was a kid, I was sent outside to “play” and didn’t come home until dinner time.
Young adults today grew up with a lot more television, video games and homework than I ever did.
Also, it’s quite normal for our bone density to lessen some as we age. Comparing my bone density to others of my same age seems more reasonable, but it does seem to me that the most conclusive test results would be comparing a person now to that same person “then”…how have these same bones changed over time?
Perhaps the best is to once again, get rid of the “junk” food, eat sensibly, do some activity that is fun and social (combining exercise and community) and then getting those regular chiropractic adjustments so that one can continue to enjoy life with a minimum of injury and pain.
This month of May, we are celebrating Mother’s Day with a Special Discount on our Initial Nutritional Health Analysis (valued at $120) for only $20. This offer is for the first 20 people who call and make an appointment. See flyer for more details.