Osteoporosis is a common disease that causes a thinning and weakening of the bones. It can affect people of any age. Women have the greatest risk of developing the disease, although it also occurs in men. Osteoporosis affects 55% of Americans aged 50 or older; one-half of women and a quarter of men will fracture a bone as a result of low bone density (osteopenia) or osteoporosis. Thin bones are the cause of 1.5 million fractures per year in the United States. Hip fractures alone result in 300,000 hospitalizations. It is important to diagnose low bone density or osteoporosis early so you can take steps to rebuild bone strength and lessen the risk of fracture.
Healthy bones are built and maintained through a healthy lifestyle. Our physical therapists develop individualized programs customized to individual patients’ lifestyles. These programs are tailored for people with osteoporosis, aimed at helping them improve and maintain bone health and avoid fractures. Our physical therapist teach patients:
- specific exercises to build bone or decrease the amount of bone loss.
- proper posture to protect the spine from fractures.
- proper alignment during activities of daily living.
- how to improve balance in order to reduce the risk of falling.
- how to make environmental adjustments to better protect bone health.
Two types of exercises are optimal for bone health: weight-bearing and resistance. The exercise component of our treatment plans focus on either bone building or slowing bone loss. Bone grows when it is sufficiently and properly stressed, just as muscle grows when it’s challenged by supporting more-than-usual weight.
For these reasons, working with a physical therapist to create an individual bone-building program will help ensure you are neither over exercising or under exercising. Typically, exercises are performed two to three times a week as part of an overall fitness program.