This article is separated in 4 chapters:
Part 1: How can yoga help to strengthen your bone capacity?
Part 2: Yoga for osteoporosis
Part 3:What kind of asana practise is suitable for people with osteoporosis?
Part 4: Example of asana practise
Today you can read part 2:
Yoga for osteoporosis
For this chapter I am grateful to use information of Loren Fishman, author of the book Yoga for Osteoporosis .
Does yoga help prevent bone loss? And just as importantly, can yoga slow or reverse the thinning bones of osteopenia and osteoporosis? These are questions Yoga U contributor Loren Fishman. M.D. has set out to answer in the largest ongoing study on yoga for osteoporosis. In an interview with Eva Norlyk Smith, Loren Fishman and Ellen Saltanstall do present the preliminary results of their studies.
In the first place this subject made me interested because as a result of early menopausis I have osteopenia.
What’s osteopenia and osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disorder that thins and weakens bones, making them more porous. The resulting danger is a possible break, which is when many people discover they have this “silent” disease.
In my case, the bone-density scan (DXA scan) revealed that I have osteopenia. Osteopenia means low bone density, a precursor to osteoporosis that puts me at an increased risk of fracture. However, I’m not the only one on this world, having this disease.
In the interview with Eva Norlyk-Smith, Loren Fishman says osteoporosis is one of the most widespread chronic conditions in the Western hemisphere. Osteoporosis affects 44 million Americans. That’s more than half of everyone over the age of 50. It is 50 percent of all women of whatever age and 25 percent of all men. It affects over 200 million people worldwide. So this is big time.
Osteoporosis causes a million fractures each year, most of which are vertebral fractures and about 300,000 are hip fractures. According to Fishman we worry so much about breast cancer in women, however, actuality the risk of a hip fracture is equal to the combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer. And it’s not just women who are at risk. For men over 50, even though we hear a lot about prostate cancer, men over 50 are actually more likely to have a hip fracture than prostate cancer. Fully 25% of the people that have hip fractures die. Another 25 percent enter a nursing home never to leave, so half of people who contract a hip fracture have a very significant life change.
In short, like weight training, yoga works by stressing the bone. Yoga stimulates the bone with isometric contraction at almost every conceivable angle for long periods of time.
Structure and density matter for bone health!
Three years ago I underwent a Dexa scan in which doctors discovered I have osteopenia in the spine. Bad news 🙁 The good news about this is that according to Ellen Saltonstall there is a difference between structure and density.Dexa scans get a measurement of density, but they tell us nothing about the structure of the bone. 🙂
Source: www.algaecal.com / www.menopause-symptoms.com
Dense bone mass on its own doesn’t necessarily provide protection against fractures; unless the bone fibers are laid down in a way to provide greater strength, the bone mass is not going to be very stable. Saltonstall: It’s like the difference between a pile of steel beams and the George Washington Bridge. A bridge has been planned by engineers, so the beams, when put together, create a well-organized, completely integrated structure, which can sustain huge amounts of weight—because of the strength created by the structural interconnections.
In short, density and structure both matter for bone health! But unfortunately, we don’t have convenient ways to measure the structure of bones as of yet. We do have straightforward ways to measure the density. Osteoporosis drugs do work, they reduce the risk of fracture considerably, but the functional limitations of just building bone mass without proper structure and strength are completely ignored.
Luckily I’m a yoga practitioner since 2008. Yoga poses pull and stretch the bones from every conceivable angle. Doing asana practise helps grow bone mass and also may stimulate the formation of a bone structure that is able to resist greater amounts of pressure.
Next to help grow bones mass, yoga has other benefits for me and people with osteopenia or osteoporosis. First of all yoga helps me on emotional level lessening anxiety and actually reducing the risk of falling. The asana poses help me to improve balance, build muscular strength, and widen my range of motion and coordination.