Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones weaken and become brittle, resulting in a greater risk of fractures and more frequent pain and discomfort. It’s a common condition, affecting every one in three women over 50 years old and every one in five men over 50. Here’s what you should know about this diagnosis and how physical therapy can help.
A Guide to Osteoporosis
What causes osteoporosis?
There are several reasons people develop osteoporosis. Among the most common are a lack of calcium or vitamin D, hormonal changes that occur during menopause, and long-term use of certain medications, such as corticosteroids. Unchangeable risk factors include gender and age, as well as genetics and small body frames.
What are the symptoms?
Unfortunately, the first symptom of osteoporosis is often a bone fracture. This is because bone loss tends to be gradual, silent, and progressive, and it only becomes apparent when a bone has weakened enough to break. A person can also have a loss of height over time or a gradually stooped posture, and they may experience increased back pain from collapsed vertebra.
What treatments are available?
There’s no cure for osteoporosis, but doctors can prescribe medications to improve bone density and slow the progression of the disease. Calcium and vitamin D supplements are also commonly recommended. Strength training, balance, and stability exercises can reduce stress on the bones and slow mineral loss.
How can physical therapy help?
Physical therapy is extremely beneficial for people with osteoporosis. Your therapist will work with you to build strength in target areas to better support healthy movement.
Recommended exercises will help you improve balance to avoid falls and the risk of fractures. They’ll also design an at-home program so that you can continue exercises between visits and keep building strength and coordination.
If you've been diagnosed with osteoporosis, protect your health and independence with regular physical therapy sessions. Snyder Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation has been serving Lincoln and Lancaster County, NE, since 1990. They offer comprehensive physical therapy, sports injury rehabilitation, and pre- and post-surgical treatments. Call (402) 489-1999 to schedule an appointment, or visit their website to learn more about their services.