Physical Therapy for Osteoporosis
Physical therapists are experts in improving and restoring mobility and play an important role in ensuring optimal bone health and preventing Osteoporosis. Healthy bones can help you stay strong and active throughout your life. If good bone health is achieved during childhood and maintained, it can help to avoid bone loss and fracture later in life. For healthy bones, it is important to maintain a physically active lifestyle and eat a balanced diet with plenty of calcium, and vitamin D supplements as needed. Physical therapy specialist can design a unique program for you to help keep your bones healthy.
Osteoporosis is a common bone disease that affects both men and women, usually as they age. It is associated with low bone mass and thinning of the bone structure, making bones fragile and more likely to break.
Some people are more at risk for osteoporosis than others. Not all risk factors can be changed, but healthy habits and a proper exercise routine designed by your physical therapist can keep bones healthy and reduce risk.
Risk factors include:
• Age: More common in older individuals
• Sex: More common in women
• Family History: Heredity
• Race and Ethnicity: Affects all races. In the US, increased risk for Caucasian, Asian, or Latino Low body weight/being small and thin
• Diet, especially one low in calcium and vitamin D
• History of broken bones
• Inactive lifestyle
• Alcohol abuse
• Certain medications, diseases, and other medical conditions
Physical therapy can help prevent osteoporosis and treat its effects by designing individualized exercise programs to benefit bone health, improve posture, and enhance core stability and balance. Most of these exercises are simple and can be done at home with no special equipment.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterized by low bone density, decreased bone strength, and a change in the bone structure, which can lead to an increased risk of fracture. The normal bone structure becomes thinned out and porous with poor nutrition, aging, or when osteoporosis develops, lessening the ability of the bone to withstand the typical forces that are applied in everyday living. Fractures from low bone density and osteoporosis can be serious, causing pain and affecting quality of life.
How is it Diagnosed?
If you are seeing a physical therapist for back pain or other rehabilitation issues, the therapist will review your medical, family, medication, exercise, dietary, and hormonal history, conduct a complete physical examination, and determine your risk factors for osteoporosis. The assessment may lead the physical therapist to recommend further testing. Osteoporosis is best diagnosed through a quick and painless specialized X-ray called the DXA, which measures bone density. The results are reported using T-scores and Z-scores.
How Can a Physical Therapist Help?
Your physical therapist can develop a specific program based on your individual needs to help improve your overall bone health, keep your bones healthy, and help you avoid fracture.
Your physical therapist may teach you:
• Specific exercises to build bone or decrease the amount of bone loss
• Proper posture to protect your spine from fracture
• Proper alignment during activities of daily living
• How to improve your balance so as to reduce your risk of falling
• How to adjust your environment to protect your bone health
Can Osteoporosis be prevented?
Osteoporosis can be prevented by building adequate bone density through childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. Building strong bones requires an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D, and regular exercise. There are steps to take to improve bone health at any age. An active lifestyle that includes resistance and weight exercise is important to maintain healthy bone. It is also important to avoid
habits that promote bone loss, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and an inadequate intake of calcium in your diet. Maintaining good body mechanics and posture also contribute to good bone health. We have no control over the genetic tendencies we have inherited, but we can choose to manage osteoporosis through proper medication, diet, and appropriate exercise.
What Kind of Physical Therapist Do I Need?
All physical therapists are prepared through education and experience to treat those with osteoporosis. However, if you have a diagnosis of osteoporosis or low bone density, you may want to consider:
• A physical therapist who is a board-certified clinical specialist or who completed a residency or fellowship in orthopedic physical therapy or geriatric physical therapy. This physical therapist has advanced knowledge, experience, and skills that may apply to your condition.
• A physical therapist who specializes in the treatment of osteoporosis.
Working with Cape Fear Orthopedics physical therapists, osteoporosis physical therapy can help prevent osteoporotic fractures with an appropriate exercise and fall prevention program. Research has shown that exercise can slow down the rate of bone loss and improve bone
strength. Exercise improves mobility, muscle strength and balance, reducing the risk of falling and thereby reducing the risk of breaking a bone.
Our physical therapists have specialized training and certification in orthopedic physical therapy. We will perform an evaluation and develop and train you in a safe, effective individualized exercise program for your bone health needs. Schedule your osteoporosis therapy appointment today at Cape Fear Orthopedics & Sports Medicine firstname.lastname@example.org and call 910-484-2171 .