Low-trauma bone fracture, rather than low bone density, is what indicates bone weakness — so if you’ve had a fracture, it’s a sign you need to take substantial, comprehensive steps to support your bones. Even a simple fracture of the wrist after stumbling tells a story — and what’s been shown over and over by research is that a person who’s had a previous fracture is at higher risk of future fractures (Johansson et al. 2017; Ferrari 2017; Gehlbach et al 2012).
Many international osteoporosis organizations have also reached this conclusion and have begun to recommend intervention after the first low-trauma fracture. The International Osteoporosis Foundation has developed the Europe-wide “Capture the Fracture” promotion, and Osteoporosis Canada a few years ago identified a significant post-fracture care gap. Both agencies, unfortunately, focus on moving fracture patients into a system of bone drug treatment.
5 steps to prevent a second fracture
At the Center for Better Bones, our approach to bone fracture prevention is fundamentally different. We view fractures that occur without high impact as very serious warning signs that are worthy of further investigation. We go about the goal of preventing a second fracture in a systematic fashion:
Step 1: Assess bone health
We guide individuals into assessing health and lifestyle factors that might be weakening their bones. A good way to begin this assessment is with our Bone Health Profile.
Step 2. Uncover causes of bone fragility
We encourage everyone who has fractured to ask their doctor for selected medical tests that help uncover hidden medical causes of bone fragility via a comprehensive osteoporosis work-up. The work-up offers direct data on possible health and lifestyle issues that may be contributing to your fracture risk.
Step 3. Address hidden medical issues
We review the results from your doctor’s medical testing, and if any hidden medical causes of bone weakening are uncovered, we help you understand them while your doctor treats these medical concerns.
Step 4. Reduce or eliminate fracture risk factors
We work with the client on the lifestyle and nutrition assessments to identify areas of lifestyle, diet, and emotional makeup that could be improved, with the goal of either eliminating these fracture risk factors or reducing their effects on your bones.
Step 5. Create a personalized plan for stronger bones
Based on our full assessment of the individual case and total load of fracture risk factors, we develop a personalized Better Bones, Better Body program to help modify lifestyle and nutritional factors and develop a strong nutrient supplement regimen to support stronger bones and reduce your future fracture risk.
Your bones are as unique as you are
In my experience, carefully evaluating each case and working with the body’s natural processes to regain optimal bone health offers far greater long-term benefits to health and longevity than any quick fix using bone drugs. This natural approach, however, requires a substantial level of commitment and a willingness to change one’s diet, lifestyle, and daily habits. As the old Chinese saying puts it: “If you keep going in the same direction, you will end up right where you are headed.”
There are undoubtedly extreme and severe case where bone drugs are deemed appropriate by both physician and patient, and in these cases, for optimum results we incorporate the complete Better Bones Better Body Program along with the bone drug.
So if you or someone you know has recently had a bone fracture, take heart — and take action! — to make this first fracture your only fracture.
Ferrari SL. Prevention of fractures in patients with osteoporosis. Lancet 2017; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32167-0 (published online November 9, 2017).
Gehlbach S, Saag KG, Adachi JD, et al. Previous fractures at multiple sites increase the risk for subsequent fractures: The Global Longitudinal Study of Osteoporosis in Women. J Bone Miner Res. 2012;27(3):645–653. doi:10.1002/jbmr.1476.
Johansson H, Siggeirsdóttir K, Harvey NC, et al. Imminent risk of fracture after fracture. Osteoporos Int. 2017;28(3):775–780. doi:10.1007/s00198-016-3868-0.
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and speaker. Get my free weekly newsletter here.