To Build a Stronger Spine

Often, but not always, the cause of a person's back pain can be traced back to an anatomical problem with a person's spine. Usually, anatomical problems involve a wearing out of the vertebral bones that make up the backbone of the spine, or due to degenerative changes to the discs and facet joints involved in movement and protection of the spine. While some age related degenerative changes to the structures and soft tissues are inevitable, there are things we can due to slow or reverse these processes. Here are some things you can do to build a stronger spine.

Have bone density tests. If you are a post-menopausal female or have a history of osteoporosis in your family, your doctor may recommend bone density tests. Males and females with below normal bone density may have vertebral bones that are prone to fractures, which can cause back pain in a variety of ways. bone density tests measure the amount of bone mineral density per cubic square centimeter. The results of the bone density test may indicate whether a person is prone to osteoporosis or fracture risk.

Consume a calcium rich diet. Calcium is one of the essential elements that the body uses for bone formation. Typically, healthy people get all the calcium they need in a healthy diet which includes consumption of items from the major food groups. Some food items that have a high Calcium content include fortified soy milk, potato, figs, broccoli, beans, fortified orange juice, almonds, ice cream, yogurt, cereal, cheese, bread, kale, and milk. People may also supplement with vitamins and supplements that have high calcium concentrations if they think that their diet is deficient in this mineral.

Take any bone-building medications exactly as prescribed. For some men and women with osteoporosis, or those as risk of osteoporosis, your doctor may prescribe medications that increase bone density. Some medications used to treat or prevent osteoporosis include Biphosphates, Estrogen analogs, Raloxifene, and Calcitonin. More does not equal better with these medications, as high levels in the body may be toxic or make certain patients more prone to certain types of cancers. Taking the bone-building medications exactly as prescribed has been proven to increase bone density among the products that have been approved by the FDA and are currently on the market.

Take a calcium supplement and other supplements as recommended by your doctor or dietician. Though most people may get all the calcium they need in a healthy, balanced diet, some may need supplementation if they have restrictive diets or certain medical problems. Some people have more trouble absorbing Calcium as well as other minerals as they get older or as a result of age-related changes in their hormone levels. For those that require supplementation in order to increase bone density, the following types or supplements may be recommended: Calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K.

Increase your activity level. Studies have repeatedly shown that people who maintain an active lifestyle have a lower frequency of osteoporosis. Weight bearing exercises is ideal for patients who want to address bone density issues, but any exercise that you do will be helpful.

Don't smoke or drink, period. Both smoking and alcohol will increase your risk of developing osteoporosis.