"Osteoporosis and Physical Therapy: How are they connected?"
WHAT IS OSTEOPOROSIS?
Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens the bones in our bodies. It is most common in women but can affect men as well. It is also more common as we age, with 55% of Americans 50 or older affected.
Bone is living tissue, and like all living tissues, old cells are continually being removed and replaced by new cells. In healthy bone, the removal and replacement of cells happen in a balanced process. When someone has osteoporosis, the bone weakens when the removal of cells outpaces the addition of new cells.
Osteoporosis is often called a "silent disease" because there are usually no symptoms until a fracture or bone break occurs.
7 STAGGERING FACTS ABOUT OSTEOPOROSIS:
Worldwide, an osteoporotic fracture occurs every 3 seconds.
A vertebral fracture occurs every 22 seconds.
In women over 45 years of age, osteoporosis accounts for more days spent in hospital than many other diseases, including diabetes, myocardial infarction, and breast cancer.
1 out of 5 men and 1 out of 3 women over the age of 50 will experience a bone break or fracture due to osteoporosis.
10% loss of bone mass in the spine results in 2 TIMES, the risk of vertebral fracture, and 2.5 TIMES the risk of hip fracture.
75% of the hip, spine, and distal forearm fractures occur among people over 65 years of age.
Of the majority of individuals at high risk for a future fracture or bone break, possibly 80% who have already had at least one osteoporotic fracture were neither treated or identified.
BESIDES MEDICATION, WHAT ELSE CAN HELP?
As a physical therapist, I often work with individuals diagnosed with osteoporosis or "pre-osteoporosis," also known as osteopenia. Research shows an exercise program which includes weight-bearing activities, or resistance exercises using weights or bands because these types of exercises have been shown to strengthen bones.
Instruction in the proper posture to decrease the stress on your spine and help reduce the risk of fracture. Another way to reduce unnecessary bone stress is to learn an appropriate postural awareness and alignment during daily tasks like reaching for items or bending to pick up an object.
Working on standing balance is also essential to reduce the risk of fracture from a fall. Developing a program to address standing stability by incorporating balance activities or specific strengthening activities may help with lowering falls risk.
If you already have a fracture or bone break due to osteoporosis, physical therapy may help reduce pain. Depending on the circumstances, a brace or splint may help the bone fracture heal or improve your posture. Also, working on positions to avoid or minimize when doing routine activities is highly crucial to help prevent worsening a fracture or lower the risk of a new bone break.
Physical therapy is an excellent solution for your current situation to help you stay active. If you live in the Greater Milwaukee area and would like to learn more about how physical therapy by a trained physical therapist can help you, please reach out to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or arrange a FREE phone call with a physical therapist CLICK HERE.
Talk more soon!!
P.S. If you’re suffering from osteoporosis and would like tips on things to do and avoid, please download our FREE report 5 Easy Activity Do's And Dont's For Individuals Living With Osteoporosis. This report includes tips I share with my patients at Prestige Therapy and Wellness, LLC.