Tag: Osteoporosis

5 Ways your foam roller could be more effective

Using your foam roller the right way could improve not only your flexibility, but athletic recovery and relaxation. Utilise the foam roller in the right way with controlled movements, with a neutral spine and normal breathing. Read on to discover 5 ways your foam roller could be more effective.

1. Keep breathing

Breathing activates the sympathetic nervous system. Not breathing at a normal rate sends a message to your brain that there is a threat to your body. Your body reacts by increasing heart rate and blood pressure as well as causing muscles to tighten and constrict — the exact opposite of what we want to happen.

While rolling, breathe in for five seconds and out for five seconds approximately. By focusing on your exhalation, you activate the parasympathetic nervous that activates the body’s healing mechanism.

2. Rolling the IT band firmly but not too aggressively 

The iliotibial band (ITB) is a fibrous tendon that runs up the outside of your thigh. Often it becomes inflamed after walking, running or hiking downhill. It contains many sensitive nerve structures and does not respond well to heavy, prolonged rolling.

The ITB reacts better to a few quick rolls, with body weight partially supported by your arms and other leg. The fleshy, muscular part of the ITB called the tensor fasciae latae (TFL, which runs up to the front of the hip) can often give you better results, along with rolling the quads, hamstrings and calf muscles.

3. Never roll your lower back

The body contains many joints, each of which has a specific job to do. The lower back is generally designed to be a strong core from which other body movements can take place. There is no need to roll the lower back, as true stiffness is rarely the problem. More commonly the hips and upper back are tight, which then leads to compression through the lumbar spine.

4. Neutral Spine

Foam rolling involves lots of different positions. Body awareness and good core stability are important to ensure you don’t injure yourself. In general, try and maintain a neutral spinal zone.

5. Controlled movements

Slow, focused rolling is better for big muscles like the quads, hamstring and calves. Pay attention to your body and if you come across any particularly tight areas you can hold the pressure there for up to 30 seconds, as the muscle slowly releases. If the muscle doesn’t release or you feel any unusual symptoms like pins and needles, it may mean you are compressing a nerve.

Please consult with your health care professional for further advice. If you are interested in purchasing a foam roller, please visit our shop for recommended products. 

Guest Blog: Calcium and Osteoporosis

Is Calcium supplementation alone always the answer in Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a multi-factoral disorder and nutrition is only one factor contributing to its development and progression.  Calcium supplementation is usually suggested yet we routinely exceed our dietary intake of calcium and therefore we shouldn’t be deficient on the modern diet.

Turning our attention to the nutrients that aid calcium’s absorption and retention, namely vitamin D and magnesium therefore seems more necessary as well as considering other lifestyle factors that could be depleting calcium stores.

Most of us are deficient in Vitamin D so having your levels checked with a GP is a good place to start when you are considering bone health.  The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium from your diet and it also maintains serum calcium and phosphate concentrations which enables bone mineralization.  If you don’t have enough vitamin D, calcium cannot be absorbed from the diet and the body will take it from its stores in the skeleton.  This process weakens existing bones and prevents the formation of strong, new ones.  Vitamin D is found in oily fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel (no more than 2 portions a week) as well as fortified foods.  Sunshine is also needed to synthesise vitamin D through the skin and just 10 minutes a day on your face and hands can be enough to increase your stores over the Summer (although please take precautions if you need to). Once you have had a test to determine your levels your GP can also recommend a vitamin D supplement to raise your levels.

The Role of Magnesium

Magnesium works with vitamin D to control calcium levels.  Magnesium is calcium’s pair in nature and it is the dietary ratio of these two minerals which ensures calcium absorption and retention.  If too much calcium is taken in the diet it suppresses the absorption of magnesium which results in calcium deficiency!  This ratio is exaggerated in the modern diet when tends to be high in calcium and low in magnesium rich foods.  For example in fish, there is 8mg of calcium and 26mg of magnesium whereas in milk there is 116mg of calcium but 12mg of magnesium – whilst milk contains more calcium it will be poorly absorbed due to the lack of magnesium.  Magnesium is another mineral that we are usually low in as the levels in our soil are depleted and most magnesium is found in the outer coating of grains which is removed during refining.  In addition, calcium is usually added to wheat which upsets the ratio again.  Start increasing your intake of magnesium rich foods by eating legumes, nuts and wholegrains so that the calcium you are eating can actually be absorbed!   Magnesium supplements are usually poorly absorbed but there are companies that make magnesium flakes that you can put in the bath (not Epsom salts) which are not only great for aching muscles but your body only absorbs what it needs from a more natural form.

Other factors to consider are sugar, high salt consumption, high protein intake, tea, coffee and alcohol which can wash away dietary magnesium so you must also consider these factors if you want to improve your bone health.  For your information, too little protein in your diet can be associated with poor recovery from osteoporotic fractures so make sure you include good quality protein at every meal.

What else can I do to help?

Resistance exercise (weights), in conjunction with the above dietary measures, can also have a beneficial effect on bone health as it increases bone density and reduces fractures.  These types of exercise works by putting tension on your muscles,  which puts pressure on your bones, which respond by creating fresh, new bone.  If you encounter pain or problems whilst exercising, be sure to let your chiropractor know so we can review your exercises and technique.
I hope this article has shown that whilst calcium has its place in managing osteoporosis and bone health, other factors are also necessary and should therefore also be considered once osteoporosis has been diagnosed but more importantly for its prevention.

This information is supplied by Registered Nutritional Therapist Nicola Russell from the Way to Eat, Midhurst.

To visit Nicola’s website, please follow the link here: The Way To Eat

T: 01243 379693
E: acorn@acornhealth.org.uk
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