Welcome to your December Osteopenia3 Updates.

This issue covers 3 topics: A new drug, a pre-holiday tip, suggestions for better spinal density.

1. NEW DRUG - there is a new SERM drug. It is available in the EU under the name Conbriza and is in Phase 3 Trials with the FDA in the United States. The name is Bazedoxifene and what is unusual about it is that this prescription drug seems to have 'positive effect on cholesterol levels' as one of its side effects! Want to read more? Use the INDEX PAGE or type Bazedoxifene into the search box at Osteopenia3.com and you will see some of the scientific studies, side effects etc.

And let me 'head off some emails'. No, I am not 'recommending this drug' only keeping my promise to keep you up to date with what is in the research journals.

2. PRE-HOLIDAY TIP. The lead up to holidays can be stressful. Stress, as you know, releases cortisol and cortisol has negative effects on bone building.

Stress, as we have said often is a major cause of Osteopenia and Osteoporosis. (Maybe that is one of the reasons why it is so widespread in the developed world)

Pre-holiday Tip: Create 'relax reminder' triggers. Think of something you do regularly. Get in the car? Check email? Talk on cell phone? Decide that each time you begin [or end] that task that you will do 1 minute of 'square breathing'

What is SQUARE BREATHING? It is a great relaxer. Try it now. First, you exhale for 8 counts, hold for 8 counts, inhale for 8 counts, hold for 8 counts, repeat. If you can not do 8 counts, start lower but aim to reach 8 counts over the next week or so.

Square breathing can be done anytime, anyplace - even while walking down the hall or to the car. It is not only relaxing but it helps charge your brain. And you will find it can keep pre-holiday stress under control.

Some people do a minute or two of SQUARE BREATHING before any anticipated stress eg. talking with the boss, waiting in the dentists office, making a difficult call. Oh, and if you commute, you will find that Square Breathing done just before you start the car can help.

Square breathing is a classic relaxer. But if you have some other technique, then use that this holiday season. Don't let stress set your bone building efforts backwards. Take special care this next month to reduce your stress....especially if you have been doing 'good things' to build new bone.

3. TIPS FOR BUILDING DENSER SPINES. Last month I promised to say something about bone building and your vertebrae. Here are a few tips.

A. First, review your posture. Most people's heads weigh between 8 - 12 pounds. If your head sits directly atop your well aligned spine, you are carrying a significant weight that can exerts pressure on all your vertebrae.

BUT many people's heads are not well aligned. In fact they may exert undue pressure on the front of a few vertebrae but not help the rest of the spine.

Check your spine. Stand sideways to a full length mirror. Naked is best. Now turn your head [not your body] and check out your bum [derriere]. Does it stick out a bit or is there a smooth line from your waist on down. You want a smooth line. If it sticks out, pull your pubic bone forward and a bit upward. You will feel your weight shift on your legs as you do this.

If you check in the mirror, you may find that small this shift to your pelvis has moved the position of your head to the top of your spine. GREAT.

Keep working on this shift in posture. Teach yourself to check your pelvis tilt during the day by ensuring that your pubic bone if correctly aligned so your head begins to rest 'at the top' of your spine.

The second step in realignment has to do with your head itself. When you glance at yourself in the mirror, do you see your ears directly over your shoulders, chin tucked in? If not, take your sternum [breast bone] and pull it up and out. You will see your head shift back over your shoulders. Good.

You may find your chin realigns as you do this. And you may feel some pulling in your chest or shoulder/upper arm muscles. Those tight muscles are what are pulling your head off center. You will want to stretch them out over the next days or weeks.

Getting your spine aligned so your the weight of your head is carried by the whole spine is a first step for building a stronger spine and one where nutrients are delivered through out the spine with no impediments. This is one of the most important things for you to do. (The web site now has a page showing that scoliosis, a condition of curved spine, is associated with Osteopenia and Osteoporosis. Don't let poor posture keep you from improving your spinal bone density.)

B. Doorway exercise. Stand just in front of the threshold of a door way. Put your hands on the sides - about shoulder height. Now keeping your head and spine straight [chin in, please], let your body tip forward through the doorway so your hands and forearms are holding you upright. Hold a few seconds and return to your original position. Oh, yes, for best results be sure that your sternum [breast bone] is up and out as you do this.

C. Another exercise for your back. Stand with your elbows bent at your side so your forearms are parallel to the floor. Keep your head aligned, chin tucked in. Now pull your shoulders and elbows back as though you are trying to get your arms to meet in the back. Do NOT tip forward when you do this...and be sure to move your elbows AND your shoulders.

D. Stand with your back against the wall. Move your heels forward a few inches. Now do not bend your back but press your whole back against the wall. This exercise can also be done from a sitting position. Just do NOT round your back.

E. In the gym, use the Lat pull down machine - but be sure to have someone check your form or you can do more harm than good.

F. Weighted vest. A few years ago, when my own spine was not improving as fast as I wanted, I bought a 10 lb weighted vest. I did not go higher than that because I know that added weights on the back can 'unbalance' people and since I am almost 6 ft tool, I did not want to risk tipping over. I wore my vest when walking and even as I sat at my computer or worked around the house. As with ankle weights, I added new weights very slowly....so as to maximize the potential for 'new stress' on my bones.

G. I know some folks who have 'made their own' weights for the back by buying some sand, putting it in small plastic bags and adding them to a back pack. If you do this, be sure that you have a back pack you can anchor around your waist or chest so the back pack will not sling to the side...and do not bend forward or you might find yourself flat on your face.

I am sure that these 7 ideas will trigger more ideas of your own. Just be sure that if your spine has low bone density, that you NOT bend forward from the waist because it is 'while returning to upright position' that vertebral fractures can occur. Squat or use a chair to load the dishwasher etc.

G. Finally in 2005 the Mayo clinic offered spine specific exercises to clients with Osteoporosis who already had kyphosis (back hump) of the spine. After just a few weeks, they found the participants reported less spinal pain AND their balance improved too. If you have access to physical therapy, you might want to ask your health care provider for a referral....

As we come into this last month of 2009, I want to wish you the best of health. I hoe you experience a deep sense of peace and happiness. And may you find a way to repair some rift in human relationships - for that can be a the source of real peace.

Next newsletter will be in 2010!