Osteoporosis is a condition that causes degeneration and weakening of the bones. 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 constantly being removed and replaced by new cells. In normal bone, the removal and replacement of cells happens in a balanced process. In osteoporosis, bone is weakened when the removal of cells outpaces the addition of new cells.
Osteoporosis is often called a “silent disease” because there are often no symptoms until a fracture occurs.
HOW CAN PHYSICAL THERAPY HELP?
Your physical therapist will complete a comprehensive evaluation and develop a treatment plan to address your specific needs. In most cases, your PT will include weight bearing activities, or resistance exercises using weights or bands because these types of exercises have been shown to strengthen bones.
Your PT might teach you 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 proper posture and alignment during daily tasks like reaching for items or bending to pick up an object.
To help reduce the risk of fracture from a fall, your PT might incorporate balance activities, or specific strengthening activities.
If you already have a fracture, your PT can work with you to reduce pain. They can also assess you for things like braces or splints that may help you heal or improve your posture.