Topics in Lifestyle and Pain

There are many things that we know about the physical body and how it may be affected by the way we feel, and how healthy we are. Some of the concepts about our lifestyle and how it affects our pain levels are relatively easy to understand. Some of the concepts become more complex and interesting, as more research continues to come out and the leading doctors continue to educate the public in the areas of health science. For example, there are doctors out there, such as Dr. John Sarno, who believe that most or all pain cases are cause not by degenerative diseases, but from anxiety and repressed emotionally painful memories. Let's take a look at some of the most interesting and pertinent topics in lifestyle and pain.

In general, an overall level of health and fitness will keep the structures of your back stronger and more flexible, and it will put your body in a better position to both prevent and treat musculoskeletal diseases and back problems.

Women's health, Osteoporosis, and Back Pain: Osteoporosis may affect both men and women of all ages, but it is typically post-menopausal women who are the most likely to suffer from this potentially painful and debilitating disease. Osteoporosis involves a diminishing bone mineral density, which makes the bones vulnerable to breaks even in the absence of major traumatic falls or injuries. The weakening of bones make those that are weight bearing the most vulnerable to breaks or collapse, such as the femur of the upper leg and the vertebrae of the spine. The weight-bearing portion of the vertebra - the body - is in the shape of a flattened cube or hockey puck. This vertebral body is built to absorb the gravitational weight and pressures placed on it - when healthy - when we stand, squat, lift objects, and perform other movements as the back absorbs energy. If the bone mineral density loses enough mass, it may become prone to conditions known as compression fractures, in which the body kind of caves in on itself. Compression fractures accounts for one of the causes of a person's loss of height and upright posture as they get older.

Here we will discuss some physical and lifestyle risk factors for osteoporosis. We will also discuss exercise and dietary changes that people may easily take to reduce their risk of bone mineral density loss, as well as some of the most commonly prescribed pharmaceutical medications will be listed and talked about.

Physical and Lifestyle Risk Factors: Some people are simply at a higher risk for osteoporosis as they get older. That being said, there are things that all of us may be able to do to try to prevent the loss of strength in our bones and the loss of strength and flexibility in our backs. Osteoporosis risk factors include:
  • Age: Those 65 and older of both genders are at a higher risk
  • Women: Post menopausal women are at an increased risk for having osteoporosis. That being said, it is important to note only 80% of cases of osteoporosis involve women.
  • Race: Asian and Caucasian women are at a heightened risk
  • Family and personal history: People with a family history of this condition are at an increased risk. People with a history of bone fractures in their own life are also at an increased risk.
  • Body Type: Small bones women who weight less than 127 pounds are at an increased risk.
  • Menopause and menopause history: The risk goes up for all women following the onset of menopause. The risk goes up further for women with early menopause. The risk becomes additionally elevated when the cessation of menstruation occurs before menopause.
  • Hypogonadism in males: The risk elevates in men with small gonads or in patients with low testosterone levels (testosterone deficiency)
  • Lifestyle: Poor lifestyle habits and diets that include low Vitamin D intake increase risk. Poor lifestyle behaviors include smoking, alcohol abuse, and little weight bearing exercise. For people who want to decrease risk through diet, foods that are high in Vitamin D include mushrooms, eggs, fortified dairy products, salami/ham/sausages, fortified soy products, black and red caviar, oysters, fortified cereals, and fish. Commonly, raw fish contains more Vitamin D than cooked fish.
  • Disease Co-morbidity: Chronic disease and other medical conditions increase the risk of osteoporosis as well as the severity of symptoms related to back conditions. Chronic diseases that adversely affect bone density include hyperthyroidism, seizure disorders, gastrointestinal problems, collagen disorders, bone marrow disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.
  • Medications: Medications that may lead to the loss of bone mineral density include Thyroid hormones in excess, Thiazolidinediones, Tamoxifen, Steroids, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), Methotrexate, Medroxyprogesterone acetate, Lithium, Heparin, Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), Cyclosporine A and FK506 (Tacrolimus), Aromatase inhibitors, Antiseizure medicines, and Aluminum-containing antacid.