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Osteoporosis and Physical Therapy

Osteoporosis is very common diagnosis, especially as we get older. It is estimated that more than 200 million people have osteoporosis. Approximately 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 years old and 1 in 5 men will experience an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime. Osteoporosis leads to 8.9 million fractures annually worldwide. Read below to learn more about this pathology and how physical therapy can help.  

Characteristics of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is low bone density, or decreased thickness in the bone. It leads to decreased bone strength as well as changes in the bone structure. This makes it so the bone is thinner and more porous. Due to these changes, the bones are weaker and are unable to withstand the usual forces of everyday life, leading to potential fractures. 

Who often is affected by Osteoporosis?

This condition is more common in older women, usually occuring during the first 5 years of menopause. That being said, men and children can get osteoporosis too due to other conditions. In addition, other life styles can lead to an increase risk in developing this pathology.

Risk factors for osteoporosis


Risks that cannot be avoided include: 

Risks that can be addressed or avoided include:

Signs you may have Osteoporosis

You may never notice that you have osteoporosis until a fracture occurs. Some signs can include loss of height or a forward posture in your spine known as kyphosis. If you have a spinal fracture from a small task such as picking up an object, sitting down in a chair too hard, or stepping off a curb, then you may want to have your bone density checked. 

How is it diagnosed?


Talk with your doctor to have a DEXA scan performed to find your T-score and your Z-score:

How can physical therapy help you?

Physical therapy is a great thing to look into if you receive a diagnosis of osteoporosis. Your Physical Therapist can help you with:

The key will be weightbearing exercises and resistance exercises. These are optimal for bone health and to help build bone density. 

Some examples of weight-bearing exercises include:

Resistance exercises

If you have receive a recent diagnosis of osteoporosis, a recent fracture, or you have been experiencing osteoporosis for a long time, reach out to the clinic so we can help you! Give us a call if you are in Falls Church, Arlington, or the surrounding areas. 

 

 

 

References

1. Sözen T, Özışık L, Başaran NÇ. An overview and management of osteoporosis. Eur J Rheumatol. 2017 Mar;4(1):46-56. doi: 10.5152/eurjrheum.2016.048. Epub 2016 Dec 30. PMID: 28293453; PMCID: PMC5335887.

2. Johnell, O. and J.A. Kanis, An estimate of the worldwide prevalence and disability associated with osteoporotic fractures. Osteoporos Int, 2006. 17(12): p. 1726-33

3. https://www.choosept.com/guide/physical-therapy-guide-osteoporosis

Author
Alana Hamilton Alana Hamilton is a physical therapist at Advantage Physical Therapy in Falls Church, Virginia. She is a proud Hokie from Virginia Tech with a major in Biology and a minor in psychology and sociology. Following graduation, she immediately got her doctorate in Physical Therapy from Radford University. She is an avid fan of Pilates, running, and hiking. On the weekends, she can be found hanging out with her family and baby as well as doing Spartan races with her old physical therapy classmates and friends. She is a big believer that during rehabilitation, "Motion is the Lotion" and that staying active is key to remaining healthy.

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