Ask Chuck: Osteoporosis and thyroid, can we talk about it?

By Charles Colson
Aug. 22, 2013 at 3:22 a.m.

Charles, I am becoming very educated with your columns on good health. I have osteoporosis to the extent it is really bothering me. Does your massage therapy training give you any enlightenment to this subject to help minimize the pain?

Very much so. We massage therapists study the entire symptoms of the human body, and we learn what makes our bodies tick. Since we deal with muscle pain and bone structure problems, we have found that osteoporosis can be controlled through proper exercise. I'm sure you want to hear that again and again, right?

Osteoporosis is known as the "silent thief" because symptoms often remain hidden while bone loss manifests, according to an article in To Your Health magazine. Many people remain unaware of the threat until their bones are sufficiently weakened to the point that a simple fall can cause a debilitating fracture.

This is where isometric exercises come into play. It involves tensing a muscle and holding it stationary while maintaining the tension. For example, try pointing your toes and feel how the calf muscles tighten up.

These exercises are quite beneficial in strengthening muscles. Some have incorporated inflatable balls attached with nonelastic straps that provide for progressive resistance.

If you begin these sessions, try it first for awhile every other day for only 5-10 minutes. Go slow and make it happen without struggling. Group therapies have proven its success in just eight weeks of exercise.

The nice attribute about this is that this therapy can be done at home. Try this and surprise your family doctor. Couple this all with massage therapy treatments and leave the stretching techniques up to the therapist. How simple can life get?

I know you therapists studied the thyroid gland extensively. I worry often that my thyroid becomes inflamed. Is there any great advice for us with these problems?

Most definitely, and I'm glad you asked that question. I am confronted with this frequently. The thyroid gland plays an essential part to our everyday functioning. It is an important part of our endocrine/hormone system, which is linked to every organ throughout our body.

Located at the front of the throat, it helps to regulate our metabolism, heart rate, sleep, skin health, energy levels and yes, our moods. So, I guess it's OK if we get into a bad mood to just tell people you need to have your thyroid checked. Do you think they would buy that one?

A few symptoms of low thyroid - would you believe - are such things as dry skin and hair, constipation, menstrual cycle changes, fatigue and weight gain. Got everyone's attention yet?

It's kind of nice to have something to blame it on, right? Don't think you are home free yet. Some symptoms of high thyroid are diarrhea, anxiety, insomnia, palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pressure, muscle weakness and fatigue, just to mention a few.

Wow, feel any better? This pretty well takes care of all of us, doesn't it? Our thyroid gland surely affects us in many extreme and significant ways. I believe it is wise to now ask our doctor to test our thyroid function and check for potential markers for autoimmune thyroid disease. Let's go to the next question to finish this important information.

So Charles, after all this knowledge, how do we keep our thyroid healthier?

I guess you didn't think I'd ever get to the main course, so here goes: There are certain foods that block thyroid functioning. You should avoid processed foods, excess soy and artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame.

Equally important are eating foods high in selenium, magnesium and iodine. Keep aware that it is best to consult your physician when dealing with iodine, etc. This article published in "To Your Health" suggests if you do have a thyroid disease, focus on eating a vegetable plant-based diet that is anti-inflammatory.

Again, before beginning this type of diet, consult your doctor and professional nutritionist. They will be able to advise you on the proper medications and supplements needed for your condition. Another important gland that works in conjunction with the thyroid gland is the adrenal gland. They work together to complement one another.

To find more information on these vital subjects, check out additional knowledge from Dr. Julie T. Chen, who writes for "To Your Health" magazine for Massage Today."

I bet all this has made us smarter than we were before we started reading this, right? Let's always play it smart with our bodies. And don't forget to purchase a massage for yourself or someone you love.

Charles Colson is a local hair stylist and registered massage therapist. You may email hair or massage questions to or call 361-575-5331.



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