Bone Health- Bone Density Treatment Options

Many osteoporosis treatment and prevention protocols address the symptoms of osteoporosis, as opposed to the root problem of declining bone cell regeneration. The following is a list of treatment protocols along with an explanation of how they work, as well as the positive aspects and negative aspects of each.

 

Osteoporosis Treatment: Bisphosphonate Pharmaceuticals
Bisphosphonates are a type of pharmaceuticals (includes Fosamax, Boniva, or Actonel) that act in a way to limit or stop the body’s natural process of shedding older bone mass, which lies in the outer cortex/outer layer of the bone. This gives the bone a more-dense outer layer.  However, the inside core of the bone does not necessarily improve.

Pros: Since pills or injections are the norm, this is one of the easiest protocols to follow.
Cons: By interrupting the natural shedding process, other body organs can be compromised, as less calcium is accessible to them.  This retention of calcium is the primary catalyst of the various side effects. Side effects can include: Upset stomach, esophogeal inflammation, osteonecrosis (disintegration) of the jaw, bone/joint/muscle pain, and thigh bone fracture. People considering these drugs should consult their physician, and understand all FDA side-effect warnings before beginning treatment.

 

Osteoporosis Treatment and Prevention: Calcium Supplements and Vitamins
Calcium is the most essential mineral in bone mass, as well as being an essential requirement for all nervous system function. Adding more calcium to your diet, or taking calcium supplements, does not necessarily solve the problem of low bone mass density by itself.

Pros: This is an easy and inexpensive piece of a larger more comprehensive natural solution program.
Cons: Calcium is only one of the building blocks necessary for creating bone mass. Just because it is ingested, does not mean the body will be able to absorb and use it. Studies have indicated that the use of calcium supplements can be associated with kidney stones, therefore natural sources of calcium should be preferred.


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Osteoporosis Exercise: Conventional Resistance Training
In the normal functioning of bone, the osteoblasts (bone cells) respond to the load/force of conventional weight training by absorbing minerals and becoming stronger/harder.

Pros: Conventional weight training does put more force/load on the bone, but the proper high level of force is required for a change to occur.
Cons: The risk of injury associated with conventional weight training is significant. The vast majority of the conventional weight training public uses lighter/low impact type exercises to reduce this injury risk. Studies have shown that the low impact methods have little to no effect on bone mass density.

Osteoporosis Exercise: Osteogenic Loading Devices
The US Surgeon General mentions impact as the greatest way to increase or maintain bone mass density in the Bone Health Report (US Surgeon General, 2003). In the brief moment of impact, the bone matrix becomes slightly deformed which is an irritation to the bone. The natural response is for the body to pull-in minerals making the bone stronger. Impact exercise is dangerous, but Osteogenic Loading devices allow for this specific stimulation to be used without risk if injury. The actual force/loading events are self generated (no external weights) and regulated by the user’s own comfort. With no weights to move or balance, the chance of injury is greatly reduced.  This allows even the elderly deconditioned person to safely and naturally reverse osteoporosis.

Pros: Use of these devices will facilitate the natural bone growth process without the injury risk of conventional resistance training. The devices also seem easy to use and the bone growth process is properly stimulated with only one 7 minute session per week.
Cons: These types of devices are so new that availability is scarce. In principle, placing forces greater than an individuals body weight on the bone will have an effectiveness equal to or greater than what is possible with conventional resistance training. Although no clinical research has been done with these devices to date, the underlying science (Wolff’s Law) has been taught in medical schools for over 100 years.


Osteoporosis Exercise: Whole Body VibrationUsers of this technology stand on a platform that shakes/vibrates. Some platforms move in an up/down motion, and others move like a teeter-totter. There are a multitude of health claims associated with these devices; with increased bone density increases being one. The claims suggest that the vibration of the platform forces the individual standing on the platform to absorb many times their own body weight, resulting in bone density gain.

Pros: The vibrations cause increased neuromuscular activity when balancing the body on an unstable surface and can be applicable in a fall prevention plan (to lower fracture risk), as balance is increased over time.

Cons: A November 2011 study was published showing 202 postmenopausal females separated into use and control groups. The whole body vibration group showed no change in bone density after one year compared with the control group. However, balance was greatly improved. Osteoporotic patients often see greater bone mass changes when adding whole body vibration to a more encompassing weight bearing protocol. As whole body vibration use increases neurological activity, after this users can voluntarily apply more loading to the bone mass, thereby stimulating growth.