Strong Bones Are Healthy Bones

As with the rest of our physical selves, we don't think about our bones until something goes wrong. Bones are just there, under the surface and unseen, normally never taking up space in our conscious thought processes. Trauma, of course, can injure a bone. But in most circumstances a bone bruise or a fracture heals on its own in due course. You might need a brace, sling, or cast to protect the bone while it's rebuilding, but within four to six weeks everything is back to normal.

On the other hand, many actual diseases can affect bones for a very long time, perhaps even for the rest of your lifetime. Some of these serious conditions are preventable. Some are not. Osteoporosis is a disorder which may have serious consequences, including disabling hip fractures and crippling fractures of the lumbar vertebras. For many people, however, osteoporosis is preventable, and it's very important to know how to do that.

Osteoporosis involves loss of bone substance and disorganization of bone structure. "Osteo" means bone and "porosis" means pores or passages. In osteoporosis the biochemical bony matrix is broken down and bony tissue itself is resorbed, creating "passageways" or holes in the affected bone. Metabolic factors involved in the process of osteoporosis include calcium levels and vitamin D levels, as well as the activity of bone cells - osteoblasts - which produce bone matrix.

As with everything else in the human body, if you don't use it, you'll lose it. Bone appears to be hard and durable, a finished product, but in fact bone tissue is highly dynamic. Bone is continually being built up in response to physiologic, weight-bearing stresses such as exercise. But bone is continually being broken down in response to metabolic needs elsewhere in the body. A dynamic tension exists between these two processes, and in osteoporosis the pendulum has swung to the side of breaking down bone tissue. The obvious consequences include weakening of bone's structural strength. Eventually, long bones such as the thigh bone or strategically located bones such as the lumbar vertebra have lost so much structural integrity that they break under pressure of previously normal weight-bearing loads.

Like the rest of the components of our bodies, our bones are a precious natural resource. Unlike gas or coal, our bones are a renewable resource. But we must pay attention to the need for these structures to renew themselves. If a bone isn't being used efficiently, higher-priority metabolic needs in other locations will cause important biochemicals to be taken out of the bone. The bone, such a thigh bone, will begin to lose its structure. The appropriate question is how can we ensure that our bones are being used efficiently. How can we ensure that our bones are in fact dynamic structures, rather than merely cages to protect our vital organs or coat racks on which to hang our muscles.

One of the main answers to these questions, which after all really are questions regarding how to achieve good health, is regular exercise.1,2,3 Bones will retain their metabolic structure if they are required to do so. The body is very smart and locates precious resources where they are needed. If weight-bearing loads are consistently placed on your spine and long bones, these dynamic structures will not only retain their shape and strength but in fact will build more bony layers and become stronger. And of course, if we want to have a lifetime of vibrant, vital health, we want to have strong, healthy bones that will help us make it so.

1Sundell J: Resistance training is an effective tool against metabolic and frailty syndromes. Adv Prev Med Epub Dec 13, 2010 doi:10.4061/2011/984683
2Bababtunde OO, et al: A meta-analysis of brief high-impact exercises for enhancing bone health in premenopausal women. Osteoporos Int Sept 28 2011 (Epub ahead of print) PMID: 21953474
3Ragucci KR, Shrader SP: Osteoporosis treatment: an evidence-based approach. J Gerontol Nurs 37(7):17-22, 2011

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Testimonials

"I struggled with back pain for 4 years prior to seeking help for my Scoliosis. I decided after visiting Dr. Breidenbach that it was worth the financial commitment and time dedication to go through the CLEAR scoliosis treatment. My pain throughout the 4 years was more of an extreme discomfort and occasional immobilization from immense pain spikes. My biggest problems occurred when I was on my feet for long periods of time, sitting for too long, and any type of consecutive lifting. It was emotionally draining because no matter what stretches, exercises or methods I tried, nothing seemed to work.
My pain level now, after completing the 4 month treatment program and continuing my at-home protocol, is extremely low and very manageable. The only time I experience discomfort is after very long days on my feet, which still only results in minor soreness. I am so much happier and less stressed about everyday activities, and can do so much more than before. My Cobb angle also improved from 13.8 degrees down to 4 degrees (71% improvement).
I would suggest the CLEAR scoliosis Center of La Crosse to anyone that experiences pain and dysfunction with scoliosis. The whole staff was extremely kind and supportive, while also maintaining a high level of professionalism. I am so happy to have a normal life without the constant annoyance and discomfort of pain from scoliosis.

Megan