Dr. Prashant Sawant's Ayusanjivani Chikitsa
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(Sandhigatvat, asthi kshaya, asthisaushirya)

What is osteoporosis?
What are the causes of osteoporosis?
What are the signs and symptoms of osteoporosis?
Ayurvedic insight - do’s and don’ts

What is osteoporosis?

The word osteoporosis literally means "porous bones." which describes the appearance of
osteoporosis bones.

It occurs when bones lose an excessive amount of their protein and mineral content,
particularly calcium over time; the bone mass, and therefore bone strength, is decreased. As
a result, bones become fragile and break easily. Even a sneeze or a sudden movement may
be enough to break a bone in someone with severe osteoporosis.

Many people think that osteoporosis is a natural and unavoidable part of aging. However, it
is largely preventable. 
During childhood and early adulthood, more bone is produced than removed, reaching its
maximum mass and strength by the mid-30s. After that, bone is lost at a faster pace than it
is formed, so the amount of bone in the skeleton begins to slowly decline.

Types of osteoporosis -

Primary osteoporosis - Most cases of osteoporosis occur as an acceleration of this normal
aging process, which is referred to as primary osteoporosis.
Secondary osteoporosis- The condition also can be caused by other disease processes or
prolonged use of certain medications that result in bone loss. If so, this is called secondary

What are the causes of Osteoporosis?

A number of factors increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. Certain are unavoidable
and few of them are avoidable.

Risk factors you cannot change:

•Age- as you grow older bones lose tissue
•Gender-women are smaller and start out with less bone.
•Race - Caucasian and Asian women are most at risk for the disease, but African American
and Hispanic women can get it too
•Figure type- women with small bones and those who are thin are more liable to have
•Family history - people whose parents have a history of fractures also tend to have
reduced bone mass and an increased risk for fractures.
Risk factors you can change:
•Sex hormones- oestrogen plays a critical role in building and maintaining bone. Reduction in
estrogen production that occurs with menopause whether due to natural menopause,
surgical removal of the ovaries, or chemotherapy or radiation can lead to bone loss and
eventually osteoporosis
•Similarly low testosterone level in men can bring on osteoporosis
•Anorexia nervosa- this eating disorder increases your risk for osteoporosis
•Calcium and vitamin D intake- A lifetime diet low in calcium and vitamin D makes you more
prone to bone loss
•Medication use- Long-term use of certain medications, such as glucocorticoids , some
anticonvulsants, anticoagulants (heparin),cancer chemotherapy drugs, anti-inflammatory
drugs, methotrexate , thyroxine etc can lead to loss of bone density and fractures
•Lifestyle. An inactive lifestyle or extended bed rest tends to weaken bones
•Cigarette smoking , tobacco
•Medical conditions - hyperthyroidism, chronic lung disease, endometriosis, malignancy,
chronic hepatic or renal disease, hyperparathyroidism, vitamin D deficiency, Cushing's
disease etc
•Excess alcohol consumption
•Poor vision despite correction

What are the signs and symptoms of osteoporosis?

•No early symptoms - in many cases there is no indication of gradually thinning bones
•Muscle aches , Joint aches-  dull pain in the bones or muscles
•Bone pain and tenderness
•Tooth loss
•Rib pain
•Pain gets worse by activity that puts weight on the area
•Thin bones
•Brittle bones
•Weak bones
•Fracturing easily - most common are hip, vertebral  and wrist fracture
•Loss of height
•Brittle fingernails
•Spine deformation such as kyphosis
•Cramps in the legs at night

Ayurvedic insight - Do’s and don’ts

A comprehensive osteoporosis treatment program includes a focus on proper nutrition,
exercise, and safety issues to prevent falls that may result in fractures.

People who already have osteoporosis can take steps to prevent or slow further progress of
the disease.


•Avoid smoking, tobacco and alcohol in excess
•Avoid sit ups or any exercise that has you bend at the waist.
•Avoid running, jogging, jumping, tennis and dancing if you have been diagnosed with
osteoporosis. These high impact exercises can put stress on the spine causing a spinal
•Avoid twisting and turning the spine
•Avoid OTC drugs, excess use of pain killers , steroids etc
•Avoid crash diet
•Don’t neglect natural call
•Avoid cold compression
•Avoid chilled water, soft drinks etc
•Avoid curd , black gram , pigeon peas , kidney beans etc
•Avoid cold water bath
•Avoid excess use of AC, direct blow of cold air 

Do’s -

•Nutrition: Calcium and vitamin D are needed for strong bones. However Calcium is not a
cure for osteoporosis. Similarly add Vit C, K, Phosphorus and Manganese rich food in your
•Increase dietary calcium and decrease the amount from supplements as well as increase
fluid intake. Calcium coming from food sources provides better protection from kidney
•Vitamin C rich sources are low-fat dairy products; dark green leafy vegetables including
broccoli, collards and turnip , sardines and salmon with bones, soy beans, tofu and other soy
products, orange juice, cereals
•Vitamin D rich food sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver. Fifteen
minutes in the sun every day without sunscreen and with some of your skin exposed is
enough to meet the body's needs for vitamin D
•Phosphorus adds strength to your bones. Fish, dairy products, vegetables, fruits and
broccoli all these are very good for you
•Spinach, whole wheat, bread, beans, pineapples are rich source of Manganese, which is
needed for increasing bone density
•Sprouts are rich source of vitamin K for better bone density, use it moderately
Make your home safer as about half of all falls happen at home 
•Use a cane or walker for added stability
•Wear rubber-soled shoes avoid walking in socks, stockings, or slippers, use a rubber bath
mat in shower or tub
•Be careful on highly polished floors that become slick and dangerous when wet
•Keep floor surfaces smooth but not slippery. Be sure carpets and area rugs have skid-proof
backing or are tacked to the floor
•Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a stepstool
•Be sure stairwells are well lit and that stairs have handrails on both sides.
•Install grab bars on bathroom walls near tub, shower, and toilet
•Exercise to improve your bone health, muscle strength, coordination and balance. Weight-
bearing exercise is the best for your bones because it forces you to work against gravity. Do
walking, hiking, jogging, climbing stairs, weight training, tennis, and dancing as per your
doctor’s advice
•Review your medicines with doctor
•Have your vision checked
•Add Flaxseed (linseed), berries, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, soybeans and soy    
products as they are natural phytoestrogens
•Add sesame seeds to your diet
•Milk products including cow’s ghee, buttermilk, milk are beneficial
•Adopt healthy lifestyles
•Do regular oil massages with plain sesame oil or medicated oils e.g. dashamool, nirgundi,
dhanwantar , chandan bala lakshadi, kshirbala , mahamash oil etc
•Take Basti regularly as it is very useful treatment modality for prevention as well as to cure
osteoporosis; tikta kshir basti and yapan basti are highly recommended
•Some of ayurvedic preparations which are use to treat osteoporosis are lakshadi gugulu ,
rasnadi gugulu, yogaraj gugulu, panchatikata ghrita gugulu, abha gugulu, dashamoolarishta,
ashwagandhadi churna, kukkutandtwak bhasma, praval panchamrut, guduchi ghrita,
panchatikta ghrita, bruhat vat chintamani rasa, vatgajankush rasa etc. however these are
to be taken with prescription only

Synonyms and Keywords of osteoporosis

porous bone, brittle bones, osteopenia, bone mineral density, DEXA, calcium, osteoporosis,
HRT, preventing falls, men and osteoporosis, osteoporosis medications, prevention of
osteoporosis, treatment of osteoporosis, osteoporosis, vitamin D
osteopenia, weak bones,  bone loss, bone density loss, bone mineral density loss, BMD, bone
mineral density test, calcium and osteoporosis, vitamin D, menopause, hunchback, hump
back, dowager’s hump, broken hip, estrogen therapy, phytoestrogen, weight-bearing