“Take Vitamin D3”
“Do as much weight bearing as possible”
Funny that all these recommendations came from my friends with SCI and not from my doctor. Not trying to say that doctors don’t know anything (well, maybe sometimes) or that you shouldn’t follow their treatments (ßthere’s my disclaimer), but my point with this entry is advise you to inform yourself or perish.
I was injured 17 years ago and was never told about the possibility of getting osteoporosis due to being sedentary and not putting weight on my bones to keep them strong. As a matter of fact, everything below my waist was ignored because it “wasn’t working”. Well, come to find out in the past few years that yes I do have muscle activity, and sensation (always had sensation)… and guess what, borderline on having osteoporosis! But let’s back it up… How did I get to this point?
Four years ago I wanted to start doing some treatments involving standing and weight bearing. I was excited at the idea that I would be standing on my feet after not doing so for many years. This was new to me. Before standing we needed to be safe and make sure my bones could handle it. And this is where internet research began and calls to my doctor and setting up appointments. I asked every question I had and he answered me very indifferently- annoying. I asked to get a bone density test and then we met to discuss the results.
“Well, your numbers are right on the verge of osteoporosis. It’s as I had suspected” he said.
In my brain: “Excuse me,… what?!? Just as you suspected? I’ve been your patient for over 5 years and you never thought of even casually mentioning this to me. Take some calcium?!? Exercise?!? You know, the normal thing doctors are supposed to do- Help you stay healthy?!? Do your job man!
What I really said in a very composed manner: “Okay, so what do we do about it? How do I stop it? Reverse it?”
He proceeded to be very pessimistic about the progression of osteoporosis and give me recommendations I felt weren’t enough. So I went home and did my research on calcium, weight-bearing and SCI. Called my doctoragain and told him to write me a prescription for physical therapy and another to purchase a standing frame, along with a letter stating that I needed one. He did it and for the past years my numbers have stayed pretty much the same, although I am due for a new bone scan.
Anyway, I come to my point again. Information is out there and we are not always given the information we need to keep our bodies healthy and functioning. Having an SCI is not easy! You need to think about how to maintain all your bodies systems- your bladder, bowels, bones, heart, skin, etc. It’s important to find what works for your body and listen to what it’s telling you. There is a world of information at our fingertips. Research, ask questions and get what you need.
For a long time I thought my body was paralyzed and therefore lifeless, but I was very wrong. Blood flows through me, my muscles and joints move and every part of me is alive! Take a moment, take a breath, and listen to what your body says. My guess is, it’s probably right.