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New osteoporosis diagnosis - please advise?

Begonia

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Feb 2, 2011
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Hi everyone,.
Today my doctor told me I have osteoporosis of the spine, and the hips are just beginning too.

2 years ago, while working aboard a ship as a cleaner, I got hit from behind by a very heavy fire door. It launched me into the air, but I landed on my feet. My family doctor refused to order an MRI to check for disc bulging. Said I didn’t show symptoms, but my massage therapist, chiro, and physiotherapist disagreed. So after almost 2 years, he finally agreed to a CT, which showed small to moderate bilateral bulging at L5S1 and moderate to large bilateral bulging at L2L3, extending into the thecal sac. That was last month. I fought for, and got a referral to a rehab medicine doctor and the pain clinic. She has ordered an MRI, which I get in November.

Needless to say, there is little trust for my family doctor. He did order a bone density test after the results of the CT came in. I’ve been menopausal since the age of 43 - so for 10 years now. Today we went over the results of the bone density, and my spine is in osteoporosis with my hips not far behind. He is recommending Fosamax after I get checked over by my dentist. I guess osteonecrosis of the jaw is just one of the risk factors.

Sooooo, lots to digest for me. I was hoping for some advice from others in my, or close to my position. I’m in the ‘finding out everything I can stage’, and have not filled the prescription until the dentist checks me out. I’m considering seeing a naturopath in the interim.
 

partgypsy

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yes, we are getting of the age that these things show up! I stupidly strained my right shoulder a couple years ago, and in May just from normal use ended up reinjuring it somehow. It started with neck pain which got worse and worse and also going down my right arm, so painful I couldn't sleep or lift my right arm. I went to a specialist. He said it was myofacial pain, but the xray diagnosis also read anterolisthesis (c7 at t1), as well as (mild) degenerative disk disease. What to do? Surgery is rarely helpful. I am basically going to try not re-injure myself. I'm going to try to build up the strength of the muscles supporting my back, arms. I got a standing desk at work. Walking and any strength-bearing exercise strengthens bone.

Here is a link to herniated disks. I have not been tested for osteoporosis, but I'm sure I will be in the next couple years because of my age. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/herniated-disk/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354101

Here are exercises that may be beneficial
Exercises



Physical therapy and exercise that strengthens the core, such as yoga or pilates, can help manage degenerative disc disease.
Exercises can help to strengthen and stabilize the area around the affected disks, and to increase mobility.

Exercises that build the back and stomach muscles include walking, cycling, and swimming, as well as core strengthening programs, such as yoga and pilates.

The United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) recommends some simple exercises to try at home.

Lie on your back on the floor or on a bed, with the feet flat on the floor.

1. Press the lower back down into the floor. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

2. In the same position, squeeze the buttocks together and gently lift them up to make a low bridge. If it is difficult to make a bridge, just squeezing the buttocks can help. Do this 10 times.

3. Gently move the knees from side to side.

Lifting weights may help, but this must be done under guidance and without bending the body.
 
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Begonia

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Thank you for the tips partgypsy, but after 2 years of chiro and physiotherapy, I’m fairly well versed on exercises for core. Hopefully others new to a diagnosis will find that helpful :halo: Thanks for taking the time to put that together.

The disc issues are stable at the moment, and hopefully the Rehab medicine doctor will help me continue to manage them as I age.

Can anyone speak to osteoporosis, and medications to slow or reverse it? Any experience with Fosamax?
 

OoohShiny

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I am no expert (!!) but it runs in the family, and my nan was teeny tiny by the time she departed us! lol

I believe I'm right in saying that my mother is taking calcium, on the basis it is what the bones require to be strong, although I'm not sure if that is basically what Fosamax is? (perhaps with something extra to increase bodily uptake?)


I also think I'm right in saying that weight bearing exercises help build both muscle and bone strength, so if you are already working on your core strength (which is an excellent idea, osteoporosis or not!) you could also add some additional weights work into your routine?

I'm tempted to say that you could consider dumbbells or perhaps kettlebells (although taking care not to bash the latter into yourself!) as both of those would permit compound movements (I think that is the term) whereby you'd be strengthening a range of muscles at a time through a range of movements, rather than just isolating and working a few selectively, like the machines tend to do. If you can find a gym with a trained specialist, or a osteoporosis support society, hopefully they would be able to guide you as to potential and suitable options.

Swimming is also an excellent low-impact exercise that can build muscle strength throughout the body, alongside cardiovascular benefits. It is the impacts that you will need to try to avoid with osteoporosis, as 'brittle bone disease' means any impacts are much more likely to lead to fractures, and not 'clean break' ones either! :(


I'm pleased that you are having chiropractic manipulation, I have found it very useful for keeping mobile and maintaining correct spinal operation. You should alert your practitioner to your diagnosis if you haven't already, as they may be able to / need to alter their approach - I know some can be really quite 'firm', which might need to be changed to a gentler method!

That's very likely all stuff you already know, lol, but I hope you can reduce any impacts of the condition :))
 

Begonia

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Thanks OoosShiny.

Fosamax is a bisphosphonate (?) And helps you build bone somehow. Comes with some risks and side effects I'm not fond of. Apparently it's not easy to tolerate: nausea, stomach pain, ulcers of stomach and esophagus etc. I already suffer from gastritis and acid reflux so...
Haven't started it yet. You have to be checked out by your dentist, as osteonecrosis of the jawbone is another risk. Oh yay.

I'm to avoid weights and lifting heavy things because of my discs. Now this diagnosis where lifting weights would be beneficial. I used to do shallow aquafit and had to give that up bc the jumping caused relapse issues for the discs. I'll try deep aquafit. Guess I'm back to physio with this new diagnosis, and figure out a safe workout regimen.

My spine is most at risk currently, with the hips not far behind. That's a bit worrisome.
 

Bonfire

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Hi @Begonia :wavey:
I was diagnosed with osteoporosis at 50. It runs in my family unfortunately. I have always been (still am) very active, jogger, walker, tennis. Take calcium and vitamin D. Anyway, I took Boniva for a few years which is a Bisphosphonate as is Fosamax. Bisphosphonates don't build new bone. They interrupt the remodeling process. They inhibit the osteoclasts from reabsorbing bone, the natural turn over of bone. With Bisphosphonates, Fosamax in particular, you may experience stomach and upper GI and esophageal problems. I now have Prolia injections, which is a different class of drug but basically is also an osteoclast inhibitor. Maybe ask your doctor if you can have Prolia injections, or Reclast infusions. Fosamax is a bit old school with plenty of side effects. First gen in osteoporosis treatment. There are better drugs available. Of course Prolia has it’s own side effects, luckily I’ve had no problems. Injections bypass the whole stomach and esophageal problems.
Be active with weight bearing and resistance exercise, take your calcium and Vit D. We can do all of these things and still have osteoporosis because it’s just in our genes unfortunately. All the best to you!
 
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VRBeauty

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You might want to check out save our bones (.com). It’s a program that promotes dietary change and exercise to fight osteoporosis.
 

Begonia

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Hi Bonfire,

Thanks for the feedback. He did mention a once yearly injection (Reclast), but recommended trying the pills first. I don’t trust my doctor after some bad care, and so wonder what you feel about that? I already have gastritis and acid reflux. I think the rationale was to see how I respond to these types of drugs before going the injection route? What are you side effects like with injections?

My spine is (hopefully I’m remembering this correctly) - 2.9 and my hip bones - 2.5.
 

Bonfire

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Hi Bonfire,

Thanks for the feedback. He did mention a once yearly injection (Reclast), but recommended trying the pills first. I don’t trust my doctor after some bad care, and so wonder what you feel about that? I already have gastritis and acid reflux. I think the rationale was to see how I respond to these types of drugs before going the injection route? What are you side effects like with injections?

My spine is (hopefully I’m remembering this correctly) - 2.9 and my hip bones - 2.5.
Gosh I don’t want to contradict your doctor, but the fact that you have gastric issues I would think would preclude you from taking Fosamax. Why ask for more trouble when there are other drugs available? If he/she is holding off on Reclast infusion to see if bisphosphonates help your T scores than how about starting you on Prolia injections? Protocol is an injection every six months. Follow up with Dexa scan in a year or two and see how your T scores look. Seens odd to me that your doctor would recommend something that has a good probability of making your stomach and reflux worse. At the very least Boniva is better than Fosamax from what I’ve learned. Google and gather info before you commit. :wavey:
 

Begonia

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Thank you for the help! I’m on a learning curve here, and reading up. Quite quite nervous to try Fosamax. I’ll chat up some pharmacists and see what they think and check about availability in Canada. I believe (?) Prolia has just become available here, or is now covered by our Medicare under certain conditions in some provinces - where Fosamax isn’t tolerated. Perhaps it is a requirement to try the Fosamax first, not sure, but I’ll find out.
 

lyra

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I don't have osteo, I have a bunch of other things, but my rheumatologist puts all his patients on a prescription Vitamin D supplement. You might also look into that. It's much easier on the stomach than trying to take otc Vitamin D. It's Vitamin D2.
 

missy

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I don't have osteo, I have a bunch of other things, but my rheumatologist puts all his patients on a prescription Vitamin D supplement. You might also look into that. It's much easier on the stomach than trying to take otc Vitamin D. It's Vitamin D2.
@lyra I think Vitamin D3 is better absorbed than D2. And it is easier on the stomach to take it in smaller doses every day vs the usually larger D2 dose that is prescribed by physicians. Just wanted to add my thoughts on that. Also make sure to take K2 with vitamin D. Very important.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3349454/

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/589256_4

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5613455/
 

Daisys and Diamonds

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Hi Bonfire,

Thanks for the feedback. He did mention a once yearly injection (Reclast), but recommended trying the pills first. I don’t trust my doctor after some bad care, and so wonder what you feel about that? I already have gastritis and acid reflux. I think the rationale was to see how I respond to these types of drugs before going the injection route? What are you side effects like with injections?

My spine is (hopefully I’m remembering this correctly) - 2.9 and my hip bones - 2.5.
im so sorry to read about your diagnosis
i don't have anything to add but i would get a new doctor
you can't have a doctor you have no faith in or don't trust
 

lyra

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@missy I can't take vitamin K because of blood clotting issues. I tolerate the plant based D2 better than the fish oil based D3. Can't take any fish oil supplements. :P2
 

Begonia

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Thanks for the links Missy :)
I’ll read them shortly.

DaisysandDiamonds - I’d get a new doctor in a heartbeat, but the Canadian city I live in has a doctor shortage crisis. An absolute crisis. People have to use walk in clinics because they can’t find a physician to take them on. I am looking around for a new physician, and you go on wait lists that take years.
Thank you for your concern!
 

missy

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@missy I can't take vitamin K because of blood clotting issues. I tolerate the plant based D2 better than the fish oil based D3. Can't take any fish oil supplements. :P2
I am glad you know what works best for you @lyra, that is more than half the battle. And glad the D2 exists and you can benefit from it.

Can you eat fish? I take no fish oil supplements and my holistic health care practitioner was so surprised when she ran a series of specialized blood tests to see what I am deficient in and my omega 3s were through the roof because of all the fish I eat. Not one fish oil supplement ever. LOL one thing I am not deficient in is better than nothing right? 8)
 

missy

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Thanks for the links Missy :)
I’ll read them shortly.

DaisysandDiamonds - I’d get a new doctor in a heartbeat, but the Canadian city I live in has a doctor shortage crisis. An absolute crisis. People have to use walk in clinics because they can’t find a physician to take them on. I am looking around for a new physician, and you go on wait lists that take years.
Thank you for your concern!
My pleasure Begonia. I am sorry you don't have the opportunity to find a better physician to care for you. That is stressful. So I guess for now just do all the research you can and bring it to your doctor and try to change his mind to what you want to do. Fingers crossed for you.
 

swingirl

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I had a pre-osteoporosis diagnosis, then a few years later osteoporosis in the spine and hip. I went on Fosamax for about 4-5 years (I kept forgetting and skipping doses so I stretched it out). After that I was back in the pre- category. I also got one of those weight vests that puts some extra weight on your core. It has a bunch of pockets and comes with weights so you can add or subtract weight if you need.

I'll be getting another scan soon and hopefully my bones will not be deteriorating further. I hope you can reverse or stall your degeneration.
 

Begonia

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That’s great swingirl! You give me hope that I may be able to slow or reverse it.

That vest sounds intriguing. Not sure if I can use one with disc bulges. In the process of hiring a personal trainer so I can get a regimen going that will help with bone density and not aggravate the discs. So so expensive though. Worth a go tho.
 

lyra

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@missy Can't eat fish anymore. I have a severe shellfish allergy, and other fish started to give me GI issues so the doc said to stop, it isn't worth it. I adore mushrooms though, so again, D2 works for me.
 

LightBright

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@lyra I think Vitamin D3 is better absorbed than D2. And it is easier on the stomach to take it in smaller doses every day vs the usually larger D2 dose that is prescribed by physicians. Just wanted to add my thoughts on that. Also make sure to take K2 with vitamin D. Very important.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3349454/

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/589256_4

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5613455/
Hi Missy, can you or anyone else recommend a brand name for calcium (cal/mag/zinc?) and vitamin K2? I’m looking for pure brands without too many fillers. Thanks in advance.
 

missy

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Hi Missy, can you or anyone else recommend a brand name for calcium (cal/mag/zinc?) and vitamin K2? I’m looking for pure brands without too many fillers. Thanks in advance.
I don't take calcium so I am not sure of a good brand but I do love Pure Encapsulations and most of my supplements are from PE. Their ingredients are clean or as clean as I can find.

However for my Vitamin K I take it from Douglas Labs. It is soy free. I cannot do soy.

https://www.douglaslabs.com/vitamin-k2-60.html

Here is one from PE but I do not take this one.

https://www.pureencapsulations.com/synergy-k-improved.html

I take Zinc from Douglas Labs too.

https://www.douglaslabs.com/zinc-picolinate-capsules.html

HTH.
 

Begonia

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Well, saw a personal trainer and will start with her next week for a weight bearing and resistance exercise regimen. Then see a naturopath next week too. Still haven’t decided on whether to start with Fosamax or try another class of medication. Maybe the naturopath can help with that.

Can anyone advise me about workout clothes for the gym? I’ve always just swam, walked and hiked without workout clothes. I’ve no problem showing up in a tee shirt and leggings but I get wicked hot flashes. Are there some fabrics that would help with that?
 

OoohShiny

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You can buy that 'wicking' material in sports clothing, the stuff that sucks the sweat off and then evaporates it quickly - I am the world's sweatiest man :lol: so I always buy that stuff!

I usually buy shorter versions of basketball shorts on that basis. as they can be the lightest, least-clingy, most wicking I've found.
 

Wewechew

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Hi Missy, can you or anyone else recommend a brand name for calcium (cal/mag/zinc?) and vitamin K2? I’m looking for pure brands without too many fillers. Thanks in advance.
I use Bone Up with vitamin D by Jarrow.
 

monarch64

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Well, saw a personal trainer and will start with her next week for a weight bearing and resistance exercise regimen. Then see a naturopath next week too. Still haven’t decided on whether to start with Fosamax or try another class of medication. Maybe the naturopath can help with that.

Can anyone advise me about workout clothes for the gym? I’ve always just swam, walked and hiked without workout clothes. I’ve no problem showing up in a tee shirt and leggings but I get wicked hot flashes. Are there some fabrics that would help with that?
Believe it or not, wool is inherently temperature-regulating. Moisture wicking, anti-microbial. I know runners who swear by wool base layers in the winter and wool tanks/bottoms in the summer. Think about a sheep in its indigenous mountain climate: up top it needs to be warm. At base, it’s hot and the sheep needs to be cool. Wool is nature’s answer to hot flashes! Check out Smartwool’s women’s wool-blend tanks and performance apparel.
 
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