Causes of Osteoporosis

Causes of osteoporosis should be the concern of every young woman; it is all about prevention; after the fact it becomes more difficult.

There is nothing mysterious about brittle-bone disease. Mostly it is well-documented and researched. The controversial part is what to do about it. Why then one may ask, is it so prevalent and such a cause of misery?

Could it be that in the symptoms of osteoporosis we may find the key to this brooding question? The answer is a big yes. Like many serious diseases, there are few or no signs until it is too late. Only this one doesn't kill its victims; it just leaves them supremely miserable.

You needn't be unduly anxious about chiropractic treatment if you think you have weak bones. Your doctor will modify his technique as you get older. A cracked rib from a manipulation can and does happen; I confess to eight in forty-two years. It is a rare occurrence, and should not deter you from the benefits of having a painful subluxated joint adjusted.

I adjust 30 to 50 ribs a week; multiply that by 11 months and then by 42 years. Eight cracked bones in 60,000 adjustments makes it statistically a very safe treatment.

Ankle fracture lateral malleolus

This page was last updated by Dr Barrie Lewis on 30 March, 2021.

Especially as a cracked rib is entirely self-limiting; very painful for a couple weeks and totally gone in two months. Compare that with the bleeding ulcer from anti-inflammatory tablets or kidney failure from painkillers.

The chiropractic adjustment is relatively safe; but it's not perfectly so. Iatrogenic or doctor-caused disease occurs in our corner of the woods too.

"I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages hence. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by; and that has made all the difference."

- Robert Frost

I adjust elderly women every single day always with the causes of osteoporosis in mind; both by modifying my technique, and in encouraging women to make the right changes in lifestyle timeously.

Because, by the time it's diagnosed, it is usually too late to do much about osteoporosis.

Medicine has other ideas about chiropractic and osteoporosis. You have to make your own decision on the subject, if you're elderly and have fragile bones.

The reality is that probably nearly half my practice now consists of elderly folk with osteoporosis. Brute force and ignorance have no place in the treatment of the person over seventy but sensible, gentle chiropractic is for young and old alike.

Half my practice should not be consulting me according to web MD; they should be taking anti-inflammatories or just live with the pain.

"People who have osteoporosis, spinal cord compression, or inflammatory arthritis, or who take blood-thinning medications should not undergo spinal manipulation."


Osteoporosis bone

"Age is opportunity no less than youth itself."

- Longfellow.

What is osteoporosis ?

Osteoporosis occurs when the bone density drops alarmingly with a resulting increase in the risk of fracture.

Since it is a silent, progressive disease, it invariably catches women by surprise. Not for a second did I suspect that I would get it, they cry; why did someone not warn me about the causes of osteoporosis is the indignant sob?

However they should have suspected it because every white woman particularly should presume she will in the future have osteopenia; lowered bone density which is quite normal in the older lady.

But it often may progress to osteoporosis if you are blessed with a long life.

The controversial part is when and why does osteopenia, which is normal,  progress to porosis; that's definitely not normal, and a prelude to fracture. What can you do about it? Drug companies, and some doctors, would have it that every woman should take medication to prevent this serious brittle bone disease.

Not that we should become neurotic about our state of health but, when it comes to high risk disease, it’s worth being abreast of the facts.

So these are five of the more common causes of osteoporosis. Give yourself a rating. In fact, I'll start hunting for a questionnaire which will give a better idea than this thumb suck.

  1. Lifestyle
  2. Postmenopausal
  3. Steroid-induced
  4. Parathyroid deficiency
  5. Chronic diarrhoea

Is this happening in your body? Osteoclasts are ever breaking down bone, and osteoblasts are at work building and creating new strong structural cells. The trick is never to allow the demolition guys to get the upper hand. Walking, good nutrition and plenty of vitamin D is needed; that's what encourages the friendly construction fellas.

"Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing; allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another."

- John Muir, naturalist and explorer

Osteoporosis walker

"While osteoporosis itself is not painful it can lead to painful fractures of the vertebrae."



The walker has been a great step forward in the care of the elderly. Can it be avoided with chiropractic help? Indefinitely no, but can you imagine needing one in your fifties and sixties? Now is the right time to think about the causes of osteoporosis, no matter how old you are. What a girl does at fifteen will effect whether she gets OP or not; but  she is unlikely to know that or even care.


Mrs Hanisch is 84; a dear lady, one of my favourite patients. She has been coming in now for six months, and declares that the severe, and I mean bad, low back pain that she experienced for four years is at least 70% better.

Osteoporosis is often used as a cop-out diagnosis. When the doctor no longer knows what to do, the patient is told that they have fragile bones (or arthritis, or a virus ...) and they have to learn to live with the pain.

So it was with Mrs Hanisch. She has a scoliosis, arthritis and osteoporosis but none of these were the cause of her pain.These were incidental findings; true but of little significance.

She had a severely fixated sacrum, probably that started after a fall on the ice outside her home some four years previously. Since then she has had unrelenting misery. She first consulted me, bent over, and in severe pain.

Our critics complain bitterly that we make our patients come back over and again, make them dependent on us, so we can squeeze out more money. In effect, that we are screwing them. Try telling that to Mrs Hanisch.

We are gradually tapering off the treatment. Her next appointment is in a month. Fraud, or just good, sound health care? You be the judge.

Is the medical management of a severe case of diabetes, emphysema, or heart disease any different? Or schizophrenia and a host of other conditions where there is no cure?

She does her exercises faithfully, and recognises that she cannot move furniture, or use the vacuum cleaner any longer. She hasn't since the fall in any case. Fortunately her husband is in good health. She walks daily, steadfastly refusing to use a stick, to my irritation. The elderly can be feisty.

Common Chiropractic causes of Low Back Pain can be found in the

Causes of osteoporosis

Causes of osteoporosis are mostly to be found in your lifestyle which means you can do plenty to prevent it.

Osteoporosis smoking

1. Lifestyle causes of Osteoporosis

The causes of osteoporosis are mainly about lifestyle. Why is it so important? Because it will certainly affect your quality of life. Brittle bone disease means pain and limited mobility. Ultimately, an early reliance on the walker and wheelchair, and God forbid, loss of independence.

Because every woman should assume she is going to have brittle bones to one degree or another, it's not something we should brush aside and ignore; many do, of course.

Well having said that, many women do ignore it, thinking that it's only when you reach 60 or 70 that you should be changing your way of life. By then, the worst of the damage is already done. We can brush it aside but it may have awesome consequences.

Diabetics, both Type I and II, are prone to more broken bones. Osteoporosis should be considered by every patient with raised blood glucose. It really is a manageable disease, but if you break the rules there is only misery ahead.

"Those who will not hear, must feel."

Dutch proverb.

Read more about Diabetes Osteoporosis ...


Peak bone mass is reached around twenty years of age. If your child does not reach an adequate peak, she is already pre-programmed for OP. In the United Kingdom now, women are breaking their hips before fifty years of age!

Since the arrival of junk food, teen alcohol and smoking, and so-called progressive governments who thought that limiting school exercise programs would save money and reduce taxes, or worse still enable them to divert more money to their armaments programs, the incidence of osteoporosis has increased alarmingly. Guns before butter, lower taxes before a proper education, which should include a manditory sports program for every single child.

Rather, challenge your MP to think about the causes of osteoporosis.

Like all habits, the exercise way of life is programmed early in childhood. Children who walk and play become adults who go hiking, rather than couch-potatoes who love to spend long hours watching others sport. Beware the Olympics, Wimbledon and Tiger Woods.

It is always nice to get a testimonial!

"Thank you so much for helping humanity become healthier, happier and to smile much more."


Calcium supplements and Drugs

What remains controversial is how much calcium we should be taking and in what form; and the part played by drugs such as Fosamax which may have serious side-effects. If the mineral in your tablets is not absorbable, then it will pass straight through the gut.

Moreover if there is no demand from the bones for more calcium then it is also not utilized.

There is disturbing new research emerging that calcium from tablets not deposited in the bones finds its way into the inner lining of the coronary arteries, raising blood pressure and increasing heart disease.

Cells are rebuilt every three months so; with good material to construct from nutritious food and a healthy exercise program, you can build stronger bones without the dangers of supplements.

What role might medical intervention have? What does the research indicate in Fosamax reviews?

So first and foremost the calcium must be in an absorbable form (talk to your pharmacist, often hypoxyapetite and citrates are used) and secondly women should exercise regularly so that their bones will demand more calcium.

Calcium is required to support bone growth, healing and to maintain strength; and is one aspect of the treatment of osteopenia.

It is known that some groups of people with very low intake of the mineral still have very strong femurs and spines, but that others on high calcium and protein diets, especially from dairy products still have brittle bone disease.

So the whole subject of the causes of osteoporosis remains difficult and controversial; but what is known is that a twenty minute walk in the sun at lunch time, apple in hand rather than a high protein sandwich, with a hat on your head to keep the skin cancer at bay, will go a long way in preventing brittle bone disease.

It's also known that people who walk have much better balance, and do not fall nearly as much. Tumbles mean broken bones.

However the attempts by certain unscrupulous drug companies, at the stroke of a pen, to turn nearly half the female population into fearful drug takers, should be fiercely resisted. Such sleight of hand to grossly increase their profits is obscene.

So, in ages hence, what will your child be saying with a sigh? "Thank God, Mom taught me good eating habits, and Dad introduced me to the joy of walking."

A group of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors often prescribed for indigestion and heartburn are also a one of the major causes of osteoporosis; they are particularly dangerous for those taking supplements with synthetic folic acid.

This is purely an anecdote and not something I can guarantee; I had severe indigestion heartburn for fifteen years due to a small hiatus hernia and an helicobacter infection in the stomach. The pain was completely cured in one week by making and drinking a Bulgarian probiotic called kefir. I drank it daily for a month, and now perhaps once or twice a week; it is very simple.

Search for kefir benefits in the site search function above in the main menu.

kefir in funnel

Kefir is also the best source of absorbable natural calcium.

More about Lifestyle

Secondly considering more about lifestyle, it's now been adequately proved that both alcoholism and smoking are serious causes of porosis that will turn normal osteopenia into pathological OP.

Like all diseases these factors are additive. Smoking means less oxygen for the tissues, so they are often unable to walk as far. They tire quickly and consequently don't like hiking. If it's combined with alcohol abuse and an oft associated poor diet, then they are programmed for misery.

Whilst there are undoubted benefits from the Banting diet there are real concerns that the loss of calcium and lignans in 100% whole grain flour; that will contribute to more cancer and will constitute one of the causes of osteoporosis.

Far better is our Banting diet modified.

Walking benefits

It's constantly in the press, but to spell it out exactly the WALKING BENEFITS you can read more here.

Gardeners have stronger bones not just because of the exercise, but from the healthy choice foods that they grow. You might like to peruse what's potting in the autumn garden for an example.

2. Post menopausal causes of osteoporosis.

After menopause there is a drop in circulating estrogen, the major cause of osteopenia. However this should not be considered pathological. It's quite normal, and happens to every woman, and some men. And by no means does every woman fracture a hip.

May I say it again? Post menopausal osteopenia is quite normal. It is definitely not a time to start swallowing hormone tablets; we know that they are a major cause of cancer of the breast and uterus, and some forms of stroke.

But it is time to consider certain other changes that we will summarise at the end of this chiropractic webpage; simple things like a short walk in the sun every day and regularly enjoying fatty fish for a specific vitamin.

Ring in these changes in your forties and fifties because at seventy it's too late if you already have brittle-bone disease.

Men can get it too. Can you see that he has a short leg, on the left, a tilted pelvis and a resultant curvature of the spine? It hurts, I promise you. He has either a

  1. Short leg from birth or a leg fracture, also known as a leg length inequality.
  2. A total hip or knee prosthesis, and possibly the surgeon didn't get the leg length right. 

One of those eight cracked ribs was a man. I'm not proud of myself, but it does happen. If you look at the column on the left you'll see that half my patients are in their seventies and eighties; that's because I'm old and gray too.

I don't believe chiropractors break any other bones; certainly I've never heard of it. And one cracked rib every four years makes the chiropractic adjustment very safe, even for the very elderly.

3. Steroid medication

Steroid medication is known to be one of the causes of osteoporosis as it shuts down your own adrenal glands.

The problem however is that in certain auto-immune diseases, and allergic diseases such as asthma, it simply can't be avoided. Given the choice between dying in an asthmatic attack or taking cortisone, it's quite clear what the correct decision is.

Where we as chiropractors disagree profoundly with modern medicine is the free use of cortisone for joint pain. One or two injections probably will not have a serious affect on your bones (though they do weaken tendons that may rupture, as in a rotator cuff syndrome) but the prescription of glucocorticoids for long periods of time for joint pain we consider scandalous, especially if other conservative treatment for chronic joint pain has not been fully explored.

Lithium (for depression), Immunosuppression (for auto-immune diseases), some seizure medications and some forms of Chemotherapy increase your risk. In all probability, if you are taking these, it cannot be avoided. So look at the Lifestyle causes of OP for alternatives.

For some extremely interesting, controversial, coalface research on the diseases of the Immune System (like Rheumatoid arthritis and Ulcerative Colitis) follow this link. DISEASES OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM ...

Osteoporosis stick

Can you see that this man has a low left hip? It's the cause of the scoliosis I can see in his spine and increases the risk of hip and knee arthritis. Chiropractic seeks to address these causes of disease.

"Write only what you love, and love what you write."

- Ray Bradbury

4. Parathyroid deficiency as a cause of osteoporosis

The Parathyroid gland regulates calcium concentrations in the fluids in the body. These calcium ions are are very tightly controlled by the body for normal muscle, nerve, kidney ... function and, in the absence of PTH, calcium ion concentration drops, and the body starts to rob the bones for calcium; borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.

For more information about this complex condition, click here for an excellent Medscape topic on hypoparathyroidism.

More about hip pain and the vitamin D link.

5. Coeliac Disease and Causes of Osteoporosis

If you suffer from chronic diarrhoea, a malabsorption syndrome caused by an adverse reaction of the body to gluten, the protein in wheat, barley and rye, should be considered. It's called Coeliac Disease and is one of the causes of osteoporosis.

Exhaustive tests are not necessary. All that is required is to go off ALL gluten products for at least a month, and see what effect it has.

Researchers who placed patients with coeliac disease on a gluten-free diet found that it led to an improvement in both their diarrhoea and their bone density levels. This is because the inflammation of Coeliac Disease leads to atrophy of the villae, small finger-like projections responsible for absortion of nutrients like calcium, in the gut.

It is estimated that about 10% of the population suffer from Coeliac Disease, mostly undiagnosed.

If going on a Gluten Free diet doesn't help your chronic diarrhoea then you should should also be tested for Lactose Intolerance and Fructose Malabsorption. Routine medical tests.

6. Antidepressant use in menopause

Researchers have found that taking antidepressants like Prozac, generally known as SSRIs increases the risk of bone fracture by an alarming 76%.

  • Antidepressant use in menopause linked to broken bones[1].

In short taking any medication for a prolonged period almost invariably is associated with some side effects; benefits versus drawbacks have to be carefully weighed. A life without medication should be the goal for each and everyone of us.

7. Refining of wheat

Over the centuries the 100% wholemeal flour used to bake bread has been one of the mainstays of calcium. Today it's highly refined and we are robbed of not only the minerals but also the important fatty acids, protein and vitamins too. Part of the reason given is in response to the question does flour go bad?

Yes, real wholemeal, almost unobtainable, certainly has a limited shelf life. If you can find it, keep it in the freezer.

8. Calorie restriction diets

Researchers at Washington State school of Medicine measured bone density in two group of people wanting to lose weight, one via restriction of calories and the other by exercise. Both lost a similar amount of weight; both methods were effective but the former lost a significant amount of bone strength, whilst the walkers grew stronger with less osteoporosis.

9. Anti-nutrients

The consensus of opinion is that foods high in so-called antinutrients do more good than harm. To avoid them you would have to permanently give up whole grains, nuts and legumes, for example. Are phytates bad is a question frequently asked.

Best calcium for osteoporosis

Best calcium for osteoporosis definitely comes from your food. Vitamin and mineral companies have foisted a host of products onto us that have been very detrimental to our health; bottom line profits is what makes their world go round.

The calcium supplements cause kidney stones, and deposit the mineral in coronary arteries, raising blood pressure and causing heart disease.

The best calcium for osteoporosis definitely comes from your food. Over and above dairy there are some simple changes you can make to ensure you don't get brittle bone disease.

There are some concerns about phytates in certain foods; they bind with certain minerals including calcium, reducing absorption. It's only a worry for those on a tea and toast diet. Perhaps you have read about it, then read that page about phytates.

Beware of taking added smart bran in one form or another; it reduces mineral absorption from the gut, including iron and calcium; neither are good for any woman, but especially the elderly. Let your food be your source of fibre; just an apple a day would go a long way.

Rather look for 100% healthy flour, and tabbouleh bulgar wheat for more calcium.

Lentil protein is not particularly rich in calcium, but they are high in magnesium which helps dilate the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, and thus countering any calcium that is deposited in the coronary vessels.

Our mutton stew has a lot of vegetable protein added.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Early osteoporosis has absolutely no symptoms. It’s one of those silent diseases that creep up on us. Hence it’s best for women to assume that they will get it, without becoming overly neurotic. Chiropractic management of the disease is all about prevention and, except in extreme cases, without the use of drugs.

The first symptom is often when an older person bends over and lifts something like a bucket of water. Bingo, sharp, disabling pain in the lower-mid back. Your chiropractor will always start with an x-ray. Manipulation obviously is contra-indicated.

Another first sign is a minor fall which fractures a wrist or hip or even an ankle fracture. Instantly, the healthy, independent, pain-free person is faced with massive pain, loss of independence and a potentially bleak future. Whilst the fracture usually heals, perhaps with the help of pin or plate, further fractures are in the pipeline. This is especially true in smokers – the bone is less likely, and at the very least, will take longer to heal due to lack of oxygen.

Fractures in the spine result in an increased curve and, if it’s quite high in the back, a dowager’s hump. In the low back it is extremely disabling and painful. Unlike most fractures, your chiropractor will by reluctant to suggest the normal six weeks of rest that a fracture requires – this will further complicate the existing osteoporosis. You sit between the devil and the deep blue sea! A corset helps. Height loss is inevitable.

Whilst not wanting to over-emphasize the drama that occurs at the sudden loss of independence and severe pain in an otherwise healthy and fit person, this really does happen, and the time to do something about it is long before the drama starts. In fact, it starts with teaching your child about the causes of osteoporosis, to eat correctly and to exercise regularly. At the same time you will greatly decrease the likelihood of developing the dread disease yourself. That’s now! Today! Go for a walk!

Walking benefits

Walking benefits go far beyond the prevention of osteoporosis.

Probably the most important and effective thing you can do to ward off the causes of osteoporosis, is to take a daily walk. In the sunshine, with a hat!

The vibration and shocks that rock your bones are what create the demand for calcium. The usual recommendations are twenty EXTRA minutes every day.

Or could you do an hour, three times a week? Walking benefits abound.

There is a simple little test, called the Kasch Pulse recovery Test (don't get put off by the name), that will give you a pretty shrewd idea of where you rate in terms of cardio-vascular fitness. It only takes three minutes, and a 12 inch step.

If you rate poorly, go for shorter walks more often, to begin with. If you rate well, you could go for longer, but less often. This may suit the lifestyle of many working women, and the sun doesn't shine every day. It also means you can visit more interesting places. Thinking about the causes of osteoporosis doesn't have to be all bad. Turn it to your overall benefit.

Take the Kasch pulse recovery test. It's very simple. Every tried Geo-caching? A wonderful way to see new places and stop one of the main causes of osteoporosis! Unlike golf which is often described as a lovely walk spoiled by a little white ball, here you are rewarded by finding an oft unusual treasure.

Geo-caching is a lovely walk rewarded by finding the treasure.

Which road will you take? You can be sure it will make all the difference.

  • White women should assume they may get osteoporosis.
  • Training children about a healthy life style is the time to begin focusing on the causes of osteoporosis.
  • If you can't stop smoking, start to dramatically increase your exercise to compensate.
  • The role of dairy products has been cast in some doubt by recent research.
  • Taking the right form of calcium tablets is advisable. Long before the symptoms of osteoporosis start appearing one should be thinking of the causes of osteoporosis.
  • Plenty of fruit and veg is important.
  • A daily walk in the sunshine (for vitamin D) is enjoyable and necessary. From a young age. If you live more than 40* from the equator you can't get enough vit D from sunshine. Fatty fish is the best solution. SMOKED SALMON DIP RECIPE
  • Chronic diarrhoea should be evaluated.
  • Both men and women should consider the causes of osteoporosis.

Dear Doctor,

Yes, is would seem the cause of the horrid mouth/lip swelling must have been the Osteobon. It is not entirely better-- still on luke-warm tea (urgh) -- but eating much more normally. I wonder if I'll ever recover those lost kilos! Might have another bone-density test? The Fosomax did not seem to bother me, but at this stage not keen to have anything ! Unwise?

Hello B,

Sorry about the side-effects of your supposed osteoporosis medication. Frankly the six months of severe mouth pain and quite marked weight loss have totally outweighed any possible benefit from these medications.

Whilst not against medication for osteoporosis, let us recognise that all drugs have side-effects and because you are so active, are a non-smoker, have not had a hysterectomy, I question the necessity at 85 for taking this Osteobon. Is the treatment worse than the disease?

Always be careful with generics.

Arthritis and Causes of Osteoporosis.

CAUSES OF OSTEOPOROSIS and arthritis go hand in hand, though the causes, and the results are quite different. Many people have been told their pain is a result of osteoporosis whilst in actual fact it comes from wear and tear in their joints.

Interesting research published in Pubmed shows that a polyphenol called phloridzin, found exclusively in apples[3], enjoyed daily reduced the total bone mineral loss associated with total hysterectomy. Much of it is in the peel, so wash thoroughly or better still look for organic, unwaxed fruit.

Electric wheat grinder

One of the reasons we enjoy a life entirely without chronic medication is because we committed the money to buying an electric wheat grinder some 25 years ago, and five minutes a day to bake our own artisan bread. Time and money well spent in the prevention of disease, and this instance one of the major causes of osteoporosis.

Independence and the senior citizen

Whilst old-age homes certainly have a place, to my mind staying in your own home, with a little assistance makes a lot more sense. Someone to help with the shopping, and perhaps take your arm when you're going for a walk. Even a live-in companion or nurse; independence and the senior citizen is a complex and difficult subject; start planning now how to stay in your own home as long as possible. 

But if during the former years you have no focused on the causes of osteoporosis, then alas it remains a pipedream.

Another model used with great success is for half a dozen elderly folk to move into one home, and share the responsibilities. A house mother is a good idea...

Sobering new research: British Medical Journal 2015

In an alarming study published in the BMJ[2], a huge research project concludes that increasing your calcium intake, whether from pills, or from your diet, has little if any impact on fractures in the wrist, spine and hip.

In fact, there are many adverse affects from taking calcium supplements.

Researchers conclude:

  • There is no evidence that increasing calcium intake prevents fractures.
  • Doctors should not advise patients to increase their calcium intake, whether from pills or in their diet, to prevent fractures.

Raised homocysteine levels, a breakdown product of protein metabolism have been implicated in a wide variety of diseases including osteoporosis. Read more about the H factor.


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