We hope you’ve been getting a chance to enjoy the longer days this spring. Getting adequate sunlight is essential for maintaining healthy bones. That may seem a bit strange, but at the Dr. J Chiropractic & Wellness Center in Nitro, we take a holistic approach to musculoskeletal care. That includes helping patients understand which conditions best facilitate the body’s natural healing, such as getting plenty of Vitamin D.
Our bones, including the vertebrae, are largely made up of calcium. There are various sources of calcium in our diets, including dairy and foods that are artificially fortified with it, such as breakfast cereals. But our bodies cannot process calcium on their own. For that, our guts need to be activated by a chemical called Vitamin D. Our skin creates Vitamin D when it is directly exposed to sunlight (as opposed to through a glass). When a person is not getting enough calcium or not getting enough Vitamin D to process it, their bones may resorb tissue faster than they are able to replace it. If that happens, they will gradually become thinner and honeycombed, at which point a person is said to be suffering from osteoporosis.
People with osteoporosis may incur small fractures in their vertebrae from ordinary activity. They may not be able to feel this happening, but if they accumulate enough fractures, the bodies of the vertebrae will begin to collapse, causing the patient to lose height and stoop forward. Getting at least fifteen minutes of sunlight three times per week is recommended as a precaution against this, although people who are older or have darker skin may require more. Even if you’ve already experienced problems with your back, it’s never too late to improve your sunlight and calcium intake.
Dr. Jay McClanahan is the owner and chiropractor of Dr. J Chiropractic & Wellness Center. Our office is located in Nitro, WV. To schedule an appointment with Dr. McClanahan visit our website or call 304-776-1520.