Osteoporosis and Asthi-Soushirya – An Integrative Perspective

Osteoporosis is a common degenerative condition where bones become brittle and weak. The bone density is so low that mild stress like bending over, accidentally tripping, etc can cause a fracture.

Bone is living tissue and just like blood, it gets constantly formed and replaced. In Osteoporosis, the new bone tissue is unable to keep up with the old bone removal.

Common Signs and Symptoms:

Priviously, the patient is mostly asymptomatic. But as the disease progresses with age, the patient may experience symptoms such as:

  • Back Pain (vertebral injury)
  • Stooped Posture
  • Loss of height (over time)
  • Prone to fractures

Osteoporosis being a degenerative disease affects all populations but is exclusively seen in menopausal women.

Risk factors:

  • Age – degeneration of bones
  • Gender– Affects older women more.
  • Family History
  • Hormone levels low levels of oestrogen in women and testosterone in men, high levels of thyroid hormone
  • Dietary factors – Low calcium intake and Vit D3 levels
  • Long term use of steroids and other medications

As per Ayurveda, Osteoporosis is Asthi-dhatu kshay (Degeneration of Bones) which leads to Asthi-soushirya which is weak and brittle bones.

A diet devoid of mother’s and cow’s milk, a lack of protein. Additionally, its essential fatty acids in the early years of life will affect the formation of Asthi-dhatu. The quality of Asthi-dhatu suffers and so the person is more susceptible to getting Osteoporosis in their later stages of life.

Tips to manage Osteoporosis/ Asthi-soushirya:

Aushadhi/ Medicinal herbs – Herbs such as Shallaki, Nirgundi, Bala, Laksha, etc are useful for boosting bone formation and healing fractures. External therapies which can be useful such as Snehana (Oil massage), Swedana (fomentation), Basti (medicated enema) and Sthanik Basti (medicated oil placement on the affected part for a specific period), and Bandha (using plaster or crepe bandage)

Aahara/ Diet –

Diet should be nutritious, must have warm-cooked meals which are easier to digest and it should be rich in calcium, proteins, and essential fats. The daily diet should include items like cow’s milk, ghee, flax seeds, ginger, garlic, horse gram, green gram, ash gourd, chicken, and eggs (whites). Avoiding excessive use of coffee and alcohol would be beneficial.

Vihara/ Lifestyle –

Regular exercise under guidance is essential. For people suffering from Osteoporosis, special exercises under well-trained physiotherapists are highly recommended. Yoga is beneficial to ease the pain and improve flexibility. Those who have hormonal imbalances leading to obesity should concentrate on reaching a healthy body weight. And also on maintaining it. Its equally important to Sleep. Which should be a priority – 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep is a must.

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