Category Archives: Nutrition

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Osteoporosis and Back Pain

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If you’re over 60 and experience sharp back pain when moving, there’s a good chance a compression fracture caused by osteoporosis could be to blame. If you haven’t, are under 60, and don’t want to experience this pain, read on anyway–because this is one of those many situations where prevention is the best medicine.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis means your body produces too little bone mass or loses too much, resulting in brittle bones that are extremely vulnerable to injury. Research suggests that as many as one in two women and one in four men over the age of fifty will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Compression Fractures

Vertebral compression fractures are broken vertebrae. They are most commonly caused by osteoporosis, though other causes include certain cancers and trauma. In some cases, prednisone, a steroid-based medication that can soften bone, may also be to blame.

Compression fracture pain is often described as feeling like a painful muscle spasm. The pain is experienced when moving, and subsides when the patient is still.

Prevention

No matter what your age, there are ways you can minimize your risk for osteoporosis.

Nutrition: Incorporate vitamin D and calcium rich foods into your diet.

Exercise: Exercise regularly and safely–certain activities, like weight lifting, can be detrimental or put you at risk for injury if done incorrectly.

Testing: If you’re over 50, consider getting a bone density test. Consult this guide for details.

Supplements & Medications: Consult a physician and/or professional nutritionist to see if calcium or vitamin D supplements could be right for you. For some patients, bone-bulking bisphosphonate medication may also be helpful.

Treatment

Typically, the first step is to treat the pain caused by compression fractures, usually with medication, followed by bed rest. Once the patient has some relief, they may be prescribed physical therapy or fitted with a brace.

If these more conservative options don’t work, surgery may be suggested. Some of the surgeries used to treat compression fractures include  kyphoplasty, vertebroplasty, and spinal fusion.

Worried you may be suffering from compression fractures? Request an appointment with our spine care professionals.


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Eat Your Way to a Healthier Back: Summer Edition

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Good nutrition is a great way to give your back as much support as possible. Take a minute to learn about some especially important nutrients and summery ways to get them!

Calcium
Calcium is essential for young children to develop strong bones, and just as crucial for adults wishing to maintain bone density. Calcium is also important for muscle function. It’s found in high concentrations in dairy products, broccoli, kale, and other leafy greens.

The Summer Solution: A fruit and yogurt parfait — the perfect light, filling breakfast for any morning. Bonus tip? Mix a small about of blackstrap molasses in with your yogurt prior to adding other ingredients. Just one tablespoon provides almost 20% of the average daily calcium recommendation.

Vitamin K

To use calcium, your body needs vitamin K. It can be found in dairy products, liver, and leafy greens such as kale and spinach.

The Summer Solution: Roasted Pepper and Parsley Tabouleh. The parsley base is very high in vitamin K. This makes an easy to pack lunch–add some whole wheat pita bread for an especially satisfying combination.

Vitamin D
Your body needs vitamin K to use calcium, but first it needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. While too much vitamin D may put you at increased risk for bone fractures, so it’s best to get this one in more modest portions.

The Summer Solution:
Head outside! Time in the sun is a great way to get vitamin D. While you’re out there, start up the grill for these next two recipes.

Vitamin B12
Your body needs vitamin B12 for a functioning brain and nervous system, and to form blood. It’s vital to a range of cellular level metabolic processes, and a deficiency can lead to a variety of unpleasant symptoms affecting the muscles and more. It can be found in animal products, such as poultry, fish, and milk.

The Summer Solution: Grilled salmon with lemon, capers, and rosemary cooked in foil. It’s a healthier–and totally delicious–alternative to typical grilled fare.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A helps repair tissue and aids in the formation of bone, both very important for anyone recovering from an injury. Find it in dairy products, orange fruits, vegetables, and tubers like sweet potatoes and carrots.

The Summer Solution: Barbeque baked sweet potatoes. It’s a lighter, summer-fied take on the classic baked potato, and a cinch to grill. Bonus points when you swap out sour cream and butter for Greek yogurt and olive oil.

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Vitamin C
Like vitamin A, vitamin C is vital to the healing process. Vitamin C is necessary to produce collagen, which aids cells to form new tissue. It’s found in many fruits, including citrus, spinach, red and green peppers, and more.

The Summer Solution: Strawberry kiwi vitamin C pops. These are pretty and packed with vitamin C–beautiful inside and out!


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