You may be experiencing recurrent falls and fractures or severe pain and discomfort over the bones and joints. Or maybe you are a female who crossed her 50s or had your menstruation stopped. The decrease in bone density could be the cause of this issue. It’s called osteoporosis.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into the causes, symptoms, and Ayurvedic approaches to managing osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes your bones to be weak and thinner. It occurs when your bones become brittle or less dense as they age and cause a break even by small pressure or fall. People who have insufficient calcium and protein in their childhood, are bedridden or have a hereditary factor are more prone to develop osteoporosis.
The condition affects both males and females. After reaching the age of 60, 50% of women and around one-third of men experience this condition. Osteoporosis often goes unnoticed for a period with individuals becoming aware, after experiencing fractures.
What Causes Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis happens when you get older and your bones lose the ability to regrow and reform themselves. Your bones are living cells like any other part of the body. The bone cells are constantly being broken down and replaced throughout their lifetime. Usually, the body binds more cells than they lose. After middle age, bone mass gradually decreases as bone is broken down quicker than the body can rebuild it.
Your risk of developing osteoporosis can be influenced by a number of variables, such as your age, sex, race, and history of illnesses. You are more likely to get the illness if you currently suffer from medical diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, kidney or liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, hyperparathyroidism, etc. Consumption of pharmaceuticals like antiepileptic meds and oral or injectable corticosteroid treatments increases the risk of developing osteoporosis.
A decrease in estrogen, the female sex hormone, can be brought on by menopause and surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries. Oestrogen activates the bone cell-producing cells called osteoblasts. If estrogen production in the body reduces, it causes increased reabsorption of phosphates and calcium from bone cells, leading to osteoporosis.
Signs and Symptoms
In the early stages of osteoporosis, no symptoms or signs are experienced. But once the bones start losing their density, you may experience symptoms that include:
- The condition is suspected when fractures happen with a fall or trauma.
- Back pain or neck pain caused by a fracture in the vertebrae.
- Pain and tenderness in the affected bones.
- Loss of more than 6 cm height over time.
- A stooped posture.
- Healing of fractures requires a longer healing time than others.
Complications of Osteoporosis
You may be susceptible to breaks and fractures. Osteoporosis can lead to other complications such as:
- Limited mobility: Osteoporosis can limit your physical activity. A loss in physical activity can increase your body weight. It increases the stress on your bones, in particular your knees and hip joints.
- Depression: A lack of physical activity can lead to a loss of your freedom. Many people, especially the aged ones, found it too difficult to adapt to this condition. The constant fear of falls and fractures may also add up to the condition leading to anxiety and depression.
- Pain: Repeated fractures can be painful and may lead to loss of height and change in posture
- Respiratory and cardiovascular complications: These complications occur when multiple fractures compress the chest and abdominal region.
Osteoporosis in Ayurveda
Osteoporosis is a condition with low bone density and Ayurveda correlates with the depletion of Asthi dhatu (body tissues that form the physical body). The Dhatus include:
- Rasa – Purified subtle part of properly digested food.
- Rakta – Blood
- Mamsa – Flesh
- Medas – Fat
- Asthi- Bones
- Majja- Bone marrow
- Sukla/ Arthava – Reproductive tissue
Each of these dhatus is formed and nourished by the previous dhatus. For example, asthi dhatu is nourished by the medas, and medas is nourished by the mamsa dhatu. If there is a pathological increase or decrease in the precursors of Asthi dhatu, bone formation and maintenance halt. The metabolism of bone tissue becomes disturbed resulting in osteoporosis.
There are several treatments in Ayurveda for managing osteoporosis naturally. Ayurveda uses internal herbal supplements and external Panchakarma therapies along with dietary and lifestyle modifications for the treatment of osteoporosis.
Let’s explore the treatments in Ayurveda.
Ayurvedic Management of Osteoporosis
The management of osteoporosis varies from person to person. It depends on the Dosha predominance, age, and health condition. Various Ayurveda therapies include:
- Internal or External Application of Ghee or oils – This includes oral intake of medicated ghee or oils with bitter and astringent herbs. External application of medicated oils helps in the reduction of pain and discomfort.
- Fomentation therapy – Various fomentation therapies such as Pinda Sweda, sitz bath, and steam bath (Swedana) help relieve symptoms of osteoporosis.
- Vasti – Vasti is an important therapy for managing vata-predominant conditions. The herbal medicine is administered through the anus.
- Pizhichil– Pizhichil is an Ayurvedic massage mainly focused on pain relief.
Care to be taken for Osteoporosis
Eat a diet high in protein, calcium, magnesium, selenium, vitamin K, and vitamin D. Calcium and magnesium-rich foods are crucial for constructing bone cells. Dairy products, yogurt substitutes, nut milk, orange juice, cereals, salmon, sardines, and green vegetables are examples of foods high in calcium. Vitamin D can be obtained from sun exposure. If there is enough deficiency you must take Vitamin D supplements.
You must avoid consuming alcohol and smoking. Limit the use of soft drinks and sodium-containing processed food items.
Weight-bearing exercise helps improve bone strength and muscle mass, coordination and balance, and daily function. It includes activities including squats, step-ups, jumping rope, jogging, hiking, and star-climbing.
Here at Ayurclinic, our expert panel of physicians assesses your condition and plans a customized treatment protocol including external Ayurveda therapies, herbal internal supplements, lifestyle, and dietary changes to overcome your condition.
The symptoms of osteoporosis may vary for each individual. Never try home remedies or self-care without your Ayurvedic Physician’s opinion.
Ayurclinic Melbourne offers customized treatment plans for osteoporosis. Our seasoned Ayurvedic Practitioners work to find the underlying cause of the condition and offer personalized consultations, herbal therapies, and Panchakarma treatments to restore your Dosha to normalcy.
Book an appointment and begin your wellness journey with us!