As we age, the thickness of our bones decreases- we ALL lose bone density.
It may one reason why you notice you are getting shorter.
Population and research studies often use a ‘normal distribution or Bell curve’ to tell us where we are when compared with other people of our age group etc.
Whether we are measuring IQ, height or weight. 77 % of people are within a certain range of the Bell curve. Then of course, there are people – at either end- either very short- or overweight (in comparison to the norm)
A bone density test called a bone densitometry measures the thickness of our bones.
Measurements are usually taken in the hip, in the lumbar spine and sometimes in the wrist,
If you are one standard deviation (% away from the norm), you have what is referred to as OSTEOPENIA.
If you are 2 standard deviations away from the norm, then you have OSTEOPOROSIS (OP)
OP puts us more at risk of fractures and – ‘pain’ can become a problem. Fractures are more common in weight bearing joints in the spine- usually in the mid thoracic to low back region. Fractures can occur ‘spontaneously’ (no real reason) or can be caused by even minor trauma like a fall.
Postural, balance and strengthening exercises (especially for the spinal region) implementing safety measures (to avoid slip and fall) as well as good nutrition are essential.
A spinal brace can assist with pain management and medication is often suggested- to assist in replenish the thickness of the bone.
Unrelated to ageing, loss of bone density- osteoporosis – can be caused by other medical conditions. People with auto immune diseases including arthritis should be monitored by their family physician.
To learn more about osteoporosis, Check out these links.
Exercise guidelines are also included though ‘pain management’ must be priority #1.
MAYO CLINIC- OSTEOPOROSIS