Osteoporosis affects millions of people and is the second biggest health problem worldwide. Osteoporosis is the condition wherein the bones lose mass and the bone tissues deteriorate. Osteoporosis makes bones thin, fragile, and highly susceptible to fractures.
How does osteoporosis occur? The body continuously eliminates and creates bone cells. As a person grows old, usually starting in the 30’s, the body’s process of creating bone cells becomes slower than the process of removing them resulting in a great deficit in bone mass. In addition to aging, other factors that make a person at risk of osteoporosis are smoking, sedentary lifestyle, early menopause, and family history.
Known as a silent disease, osteoporosis manifests itself only when the condition is already serious. Most people who suffer from osteoporosis had no idea they had the disease until they experience a fracture or severe pain in the back. What most people are not aware of is you can prevent this disease early in life through exercise and daily calcium intake.
For those at risk of developing osteoporosis or already diagnosed with it, physical therapy for osteoporosis is one of the best ways to fight this disease. Many qualified physical therapists specialize in the treatment of osteoporosis. Physical therapy for osteoporosis begins with a thorough physical evaluation where the therapist identifies restrictions, imbalances and, specifically, what activities and movements the patient is capable of or is limited to doing. The evaluation serves as the basis for the creation of a customized physical therapy program
Physical therapy may help improve stability, range of motion, and mobility. It may also focus on strengthening and include a review of body mechanics. This can all help manage symptoms of osteoporosis and decrease the risk of fractures due to falls
Physical therapy for osteoporosis patients without a fracture includes strengthening exercises and resistance exercises intended to increase bone mass and make bone-supporting muscles stronger to help prevent fractures. To ease the stress on your bones, your physical therapist will also teach you about body balance, body mechanics and posture. Your therapist will also work with you to find out if there are any risks to you at home and at work such as specific activities that can lead to bone fracture.
Physical therapy for osteoporosis patients suffering a fracture involves specific exercises and other treatment methods designed for pain relief and bone strengthening as well as prevention of fractures in the future.
In addition to exercises, physical therapy for osteoporosis may also include massage, manual therapy, exercises such as Pilates, tai chi and yoga and heat and cold therapies for pain management.
Physical therapy for osteoporosis seeks to strengthen bones, increase flexibility and manage pain. It also increases the patient’s awareness of the body and develops responsibility for their own health.