Keep Your Bones Strong

April 16, 2012 By

A healthy skeletal system is important for several reasons. Bones have several functions in the body. These include the protection of organs, structural integrity and calcium storage. Bones also serve as anchors for muscles. As one grows older, the ability to build bone is decreased. Staying healthy and starting early are ways to keep your bones in good shape. Bone health is affected by the following factors:

  • Race, body frame and family history.
  • Hormone levels, including thyroid hormone.
  • Physical activity levels.
  • The amount of calcium in your diet. Low calcium contributes to early bone loss, diminished bone density, and increased risk of fractures.
  • Gender – Women tend to have less bone mass compared to men.
  • Men with low testosterone levels can experience a decrease in bone mass.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco use.
  • Eating disorders and other diseases. People who have bulimia or anorexia are at risk for bone loss.
  • Age: As you age, your bones become thinner and weaker .
  • Use of certain medications are damaging to the bones.

The Healthy Bone Formula

To keep your bones healthy, start as soon as possible. Here are some guidelines to help keep your bones healthy.

  • Eat high-calcium foods. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are good sources of calcium.
  • Consume plenty of vitamin D.
  • Avoid excess protein and sodium.
  • Avoid smoking and limit alcoholic intake.
  • Bone-boosting medications may be an option, after consulting with your physician.
  • Women may consider hormone therapy. Estrogen, especially when started soon after menopause, can help maintain bone density, and this should be discussed with a physician.
  • Exercise daily.
  • When exercising, change your routine often to surprise your body and challenge your bones.
  • Play sports and spend time outdoors. Challenge your body with movements that provide the impact necessary for bone stimulation.

Physical Therapy and Bone Health

Orthopedics is a branch of medicine that mainly focuses on the muscular and skeletal systems. Physical therapy in this field deals with diagnosing, managing and treating injuries in the muscular and skeletal system and the associated rehabilitation. A physical therapist specializes in the treatment of bone-related conditions (fractures) and joint injuries, among other conditions. Strength training, joint mobilizations, hot or cold packs, and electrical stimulation are some techniques used by physical therapists. Other methods include:

  • Stretching and strengthening exercise protocols to encourage muscle balance during recovery.
  • Hot and cold therapy to increase blood circulation and assist with healing.
  • Ultrasound machines: The use of high or low frequency sound waves to facilitate healing.

With a unique training background and the right set of skills to help you strengthen your bones and joints, a physical therapist is best suited to help you recover from injuries and strengthen your bones at the same time. Call us today – taking the time to strengthen your bones is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make to improve your health, and we’ll help you every step of the way.

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This post was written by Andrew Clary MS MPT ATC