1. Johann Friedrich Georg Christian Martin Lobstein
While you may not recognize the name, you surely know the name this French pathologist gave to bone he found with large, porous holes in it: osteoporosis (osteo=bone, poros=Greek word for passage.)
So the next time you spot the word, make sure you give a shout out to:
Jean-Freed-rik-Gay-org-Martin-Lobs. That’s my name toooooooo.
LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!!!!!!
Sorry. I couldn’t help myself.
2. You can actually spot-treat osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is not a systemic or whole-body disease, but an indication of where your bone is not loaded correctly. Osteoporosis doesn’t mean that you have a bad-bone condition -- your bone loss is not happening over your entire skeleton but in a few key places. The areas that most people experience bone loss is:
- Head of the femur (top of the thigh bone, commonly mis-referred* to as the hip bone.)
In order to get bone to generate, you have to know your sites. If you are given a diagnosis of osteoporosis or osteopenia (a little bone loss), ask WHERE the density is low.
And, P.S. the only test really valid to give you a diagnosis is a DEXA. In-office bone screenings are not valid enough to give you a diagnosis. The margin of error is too high. They are simply supposed to be a screening technique for referral to the better DEXA.
*P.P.S. There is no “hip bone.” The hip is a joint made from the pelvis and the thigh bone, called, the femur.
3. Exercise trumps nutrition.
Many people think osteoporosis is a result of poor nutrition. However, poor nutrition doesn’t explain the fact that most bone tissue, even in the bones with osteoporosis, is doing just fine. Just here and there is there a problem. The failure for bone to generate at its correct rate is really a mechanical one -- which is why I am blogging about it, of course.
While proper nutrition is absolutely a requirement for healthy bone, the signal for bone to grow is mechanical in nature. The “GROW BONE” signal starts with a cell being *squished* within the bone. Without that *squish* of these mechanoreceptors (sensors sensitive to physical deformation) the nutrients that support bone growth can't do their job . Your body cannot use them without the signal. Taking supplements is 1/2 of the correct prescription for osteogenesis (bone growing). The other 1/2 is exercise, and let's have some words about exercise and bone development...
4. Weight bearing exercise doesn’t not mean “using weights.”
For optimal bone regeneration, you need as much *squish* in the bone-growth-signaling cells as possible. In order to get the greatest amount of *squish* you need to keep your bones holding the proper amount of weight -- not too much and not too little. The research done on bone and exercise shows that moving around while weight bearing gives the greatest response to bone development in the right places.
Why do I say in the right places?
Because, any resistance exercise will help build bone. The act of a muscle working, pulling on the bone, is enough to stimulate bone growth. This is the rationale for doing weights or other types of non-functional resistance exercises in gyms, classes, etc.
So, what’s the problem?
Bone loss at muscle attachment sites is not the problem in osteoporosis. Bone loss in the hips (and the eventual break) is the biggest problem in osteoporosis, with the second largest issue being bone loss (and then fracture) in the spine. "Weights" don't hit these areas in a way that reduces the risk of breaks or fractures -- even though you may be adding bone tissue in other places.
Best bone-building weight bearing exercise = walking. Walking is better than running because bone building favors lower impact loading as opposed to high impact and frequent loading cycles.
Non weight bearing exercise = swimming, cycling, blogging. That's why I am only doing one more fact -- my bones are not impressed with me right now.
5. The “hump” is not caused by osteoporosis. The “hump” is actually a cause of osteoporosis.
It was believed for a long time that the excessive curve in the upper back (called the dowager’s hump*) was the result of weak, porous bones unable to hold up the weight of the spine. This weakness in the bones allowed the spine to collapse forward. It makes sense, in a way. It makes so much sense that no one actually researched it -- it’s just a belief that has been perpetuated and is now on the title page of almost every bone website under Bone Facts. Which is a bummer, because the actual research shows that this curve of the spine, called “hyperkyphosis” is a risk factor for osteoporosis and not the other way around. Which makes sense because osteoporosis is caused by a lack of loading. The farther something curves forward, the less weight it places on what sits below it.
Your alignment is actually a huge deal when it comes to bone growth. You can make your daily walk more weight-bearing by stacking your body. See those walkers with their torso out in front of them? Their walk is less weight-bearing than it could be. Have too much curve in your upper spine? Wear your head out in front of the rest of the body?
These are all things that decrease bone regeneration and fixing them is as simple as stretching your muscles to their correct length and using your body as it was designed.
Off to walk...