By your early 20s, your bones are at their strongest. Once you hit your 30s, they gradually start to weaken and things go downhill from there. Women generally have it worse than men, more so once menopause sets in.
The best way to slow down this natural deterioration is to start taking care of your bones early on, even when they seem to be doing just fine.
- You do not have pain in the back, neck, or hips either during movement or after a period of rest
- You do not have creaky bones
- You haven’t had a fracture in the last year despite a fall or trauma
That said, it’s difficult to tell how your bones are really doing without getting a bone mineral density test done. Here’s the caveat though – you’ll only know there’s a problem if it has already manifested and your bone density is already lower than normal.
Is there a way then to pick up on earlier signs of unhealthy bones, ones that can be caught at a more reversible stage?
Ayurveda looks to the teeth, nails, and hair as early tell-tale signs of bone health. Western medicine is beginning to support this idea as links between the building blocks of these structures are beginning to emerge.
Before getting into the signs, get to know your bone structure a little bit based on your unique metabolic personality (prakruti) and which functional energy/energies you naturally gravitate toward. This will also give you an idea of the bone issues you are more prone to.
- Light and quick: thin, fragile bones – prone to fractures and osteoporosis
- Slow and steady: thick, dense bones – prone to bone spurs and spinal misalignments
- Intense: strong bones that are not as dense but are more metabolically active – prone to narrowing, inflammation, and infections (osteomyelitis)
Evidently, the predominantly light and quick demographic are at a greater risk of developing bone and joint conditions, which means they need to be even more careful.
Moreover, hormonal imbalances like hyperthyroidism and hyperparathyroidism, digestive disorders like IBS and celiac disease, excess physical exertion, and an inactive lifestyle can also influence the fate of your skeletal system.
Slight to Moderate Imbalance
Here again, look for tendencies associated with your unique energy mix.
Light and Quick
- Your hair becomes scanty
- You start losing hair in patches or all over the scalp
- Your nails become thin and start breaking easily
- Your teeth appear darker than usual (grayish)
Slow and Steady
- You have a sluggish digestion in addition to dense hair, thick nails, and white teeth (which are also your normal traits)
- Your teeth and nails become a pale shade of yellow
- Your hair starts to lose its color and begins to gray
At this point, a few corrections in your diet and lifestyle should bring you back into a balanced state. If, however, you fail to make these changes in time, your bone health will deteriorate even further and symptoms become a lot more evident, frequent, and severe. They also become directly related to your movements.
- Your knees hurt after a prolonged period of sitting
- Your fingers ache after gripping something tightly
- You have pain in your knees or the soles of your feet after walking long distances
- Your back aches when you bend down to touch your feet
- You cannot do a full circle with your head without your neck hurting
- Your range of motion in the hips feels restricted
If you experience any of these, speak to your healthcare provider about how best and to what extent you can undo the damage.