Osteoporosis means "porous bones" - bones that have become fragile. It is sometime called "the silent thief"; there are no symptoms as, little by little over years or decades, it robs the bones of calcium, making them thin and brittle. The hip, spine and wrist are particularly affected, and susceptible to fracture.
How can physical therapy help?
Proper physical exercise is essential in prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. A physical therapist has the expertise to develop a safe and effective exercise program especially for you. The goal is to strengthen bone, relieve pain, improve posture and balance, and restore mobility, function, strength and confidence. First, discuss your problem with your physician. He or she may make a referral to begin your PT program.
What can I expect from the PT?
Your PT will take your medical history, observe your posture and mechanics and do simple physical tests to assess range of motion, balance, strength and endurance. Your treatment program will be designed to address problems discovered during these test. Exercise is at the heart of the program. Both weight hearing exercise and strength training are essential. Balance and walking are addressed, as well as good body mechanics during regular daily activities.
Take the TEST: Are you at Risk for Osteoporosis?
___ Heredity. Someone in my family has osteoporosis.
___ Ethnic background. I am Caucasian or Asian.
___ Bone structure. I am petite or small framed.
___ Age at menarche. I was 15 or older when my periods started.
___ Menstrual irregularities. I have had irregular periods or times when my periods stopped.
___ Age at menopause. I had menopause (or ovaries removed) before age 45.
___ Poor eating habits. I didn't like dairy products as a child, or don't now.
___ Sedentary lifestyle. I don't exercise much.
___ Drinking. I consume 3 or more drinks/day
___ Diabetes. I have insulin dependent diabetes, poorly controlled.
___ Scoliosis. I have s-shape curvature of the spine.
___ Drugs. I take heparin, corticosteroids, insulin, anticonvulsants, antacids,thyroid medicine, or diuretics.
A check to any of these statements suggests that you may be at risk. Please talk with your physician and ask for a referral for physical therapy to help prevent and treat osteoporosis.