Bone Density & DEXA Scans

Bone Calcium

A concern for people as they age is how much calcium they have in their bones. This is an issue as much of the strength of bones comes calcium.

Low bone calcium results in loss of bone strength. This leads to greater chances of fracturing bones. In cases with severe bone density loss, bones can break from normal daily activities, such as reaching or coughing. Hip fractures are particularly debilitating. One in three people over 50 who sustain a hip fracture die within 12 months of the fracture.

Measuring Bone Density

X-rays are useful for visualizing the bones of the body and provide a variety of helpful information. However, standard x-rays are not as helpful at determining bone density. Some inference as to bone density between structures visualized on the x-ray image can be made, but it is difficult to quantify if bone density changes visualized on a standard x-ray are clinically relevant. DEXA scans use x-rays at two different energy levels to provide more quantifiable information as to bone density.

While x-rays can show us the positions of the bones and joints and provide some inference as to the bone density of structures relative to other surrounding them, standard x-rays don’t accurately quantify what the overall bone density is.

Supplements & Bone Density

Supplements and medications are available that can help prevent bone density loss. Calcium supplements can be taken to make calcium more available for bones. Calcium can be difficult for the body to absorb from food. Calcium from bones is more easily available for absorption. Slow cooked bone broth is a good source of this kind of calcium. Small fish such as sardines or herring contain a lot of very small edible bones and are another good source. Care must be taken with fish as larger fish bones are a choking hazard and should not be eaten.

Vitamin D in the diet enhances calcium absorption and use. Vitamin D triggers increased absorption of calcium from food, as well as increased deposition of calcium into the bones. It is difficult for your body to make use of calcium without Vitamin D. In this way, Vitamin D helps build bone density and strength.

Bone density can be a factor in auto accidents as well. Low bone density increases chances of fractures during a collision. Treatment for injuries sustained in a collision often require stretching, exercise, and joint manipulation. Low bone density can lead to risks with these therapies, and modifications that unfortunately decrease treatment effectiveness may be necessary.

Chiropractors can provide advise as to supplements that can help improve bone density. Chiropractors are well positioned to treat injuries such as those sustained in an auto accident and can work around problems such as osteoporosis. Contact your Chiropractor if you have been injured or involved in an auto accident.