Osteoporosis, How Physical Therapy Can Help

Anthony Crespo
Anthony Crespo Executive Assistant at AHS

Osteoporosis is one of the most prevalent skeletal disorders with high public health consequences. Consequences which arise due to the morbidity and mortality of fractures that result from injury. This blog will provide a brief background and tie in how seeing a Physical Therapist may be the right choice in combating this spooky disease.

 What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a common condition that affects the bones, the name derives from Latin meaning “porous bones”. As the name entails, osteoporosis is the lessening of bone density which leads to decreased bone strength. The normal bone structure becomes thin and porous. This physiological change increases the risk of fractures which is followed by very slow regeneration of bone meaning recovery times increase drastically. Osteoporosis affects people of different races, genders and ages, however it is more common in older adults. Older white and Asian women especially who are past menopause are at highest risk(.2) Because bone is living tissue it is in a constant state of renewal just like our skin, hair and muscles. When we are young the body generates new bone faster than it breaks down old bone, because of this our bone mass increases. When osteoporosis begins to develop, an imbalance in the cycle of regeneration and breakdown occurs,  typically it will begin in some women during the first 5 years of menopause(.3)

Does it hurt?

What makes osteoporosis scary is that it is generally a “silent” disease. No outward symptoms will present themselves until a fracture occurs. People with very low bone density may experience a special kind of fracture caused by everyday situations that would normally not occur in a person with adequate bone density. Situations such as wrist or hip breaks from a fall, breaking a rib when opening a window or receiving a tight hug, or breaking an ankle after stepping off a curb. These are known as fragility fractures.

What are the risk factors for osteoporosis? 

There are many risk factors that can cause a person to develop osteoporosis. The risks can be categorized under Non Controllable risks and controllable risks. 

Non Controllable risks

  • Genetics
  • Predisposing medical conditions
  • Advanced age
  • Hormone fluctuations

Controllable Risks 

  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Smoking Cigarettes
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Drugs (eg, Steroids, heparin)
  • Poor health
  • Low vitamin D 

Fortunately there are more controllable risks which means an individual has some leverage in dictating whether or not osteoporosis may develop.

How Physical therapy can help 

Here at Allied Health Solutions we strive to find an appropriate solution for your current health inconveniences. In order to obtain an appropriate solution you must have an effective plan of action and so our physical therapists are ready to develop a specified program based on your individual needs. The program will help improve your overall bone health, maintain this new state of health and help avoid fractures. Some parts of that plan may include exercises to address any muscular imbalances, teaching proper posture to protect the spine and exercises to improve your balance. So if you or a loved one have osteoporosis and feel that they may benefit from physical therapy please do not hesitate to contact us directly and set up an appointment.

References

  1. “How Does Physical Therapy Help Osteoporosis?” EndocrineWeb, www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/osteoporosis/osteoporosis-0. 
  2. “Osteoporosis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 June 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351968. 
  3. “Physical Therapy Guide to Osteoporosis.” American Physical Therapy Association, 11 Mar. 2020, www.choosept.com/symptomsconditionsdetail/physical-therapy-guide-to-osteoporosis.
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